“I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” In our culture, that sounds crazy, and is at minimum something very hard to swallow. It leaves us asking, “Can there really be just one way to God? How about all these other religions, can they all be wrong? Do Christians really believe that they are the only ones who are right? Isn’t that incredibly arrogant and narrow, even bigoted?”
And then you run into people who claim the name Christian who have this exclusive attitude, who are arrogant and narrow and condescending, and it makes you recoil even more. It pushes you to some other options that are much more popular in our culture. One option is: NOTHINGISM: which is just to believe in nothing and hope for the best. Another option that is even more popular is ANYTHINGISM: the idea that you can believe anything you want to believe, as long as you are sincere, and get to God. After all, basically all religions teach the same thing any way. Related to that view is MYWAYISM: which is the idea that Christianity is my chosen way, but not necessarily everybody else’s way. They have their way and I have my way, and my way is Jesus. A recent survey of evangelical Christians found that most of them subscribe to MYWAYISM. 57% said that they don’t believe that Jesus is the only way to God, just one really good way.
However, what do you do with what Jesus actually said, the claim that the Bible actually makes about Christianity? If you want to take Jesus seriously, you really do have to consider what he said and why. When Jesus says, “I am the way, the truth, and the life, and no one comes to God except through me,” that’s pretty radical.
· A Unique Way
Jesus didn’t just come here to make one more way to God. He came here because we were in a pickle. We had dug a hole of sin so deep that we couldn’t crawl out. We couldn’t make up for our own sin. God is just and must punish sin, and his standard to earn heaven ourselves is perfection, which none of us can make. So, God did the unthinkable. He became a man and came here to take our punishment, to make a way for us to come to him.
This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might love through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 1 John 4:9-10
And in this we get to another key uniqueness to Christianity and why Jesus might say something as crazy sounding as belief in him is the only way to God. That uniqueness of Christianity is in one word GRACE. Every other world religion is based in works, how we are to work our way to enlightenment or to God, but Christianity is not about that. As John said, it isn’t about how much we love God, but about how much he loves us. It isn’t about what we do but what God has done. It is not about us being good, but about us being bad. It is about him making a way for us.
Since Christianity is about God’s grace, it is the most inclusive religion in the world.
Christianity is the most inclusive religion in the world because God has opened the door to everyone. The door is closed to nobody. The Bible says, And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. Other religions are truly exclusive, only open to those who are either of a particular race or who are able to work their way to God, who clean up their lives first. Jesus simply says, “Come as you are. Anybody who wants to come, don’t clean up your life first. Just come.” There are no entry requirements.
How crazy is it to charge God with being narrow or arrogant or bigoted for making only one way to himself? He wasn’t arrogant, he was supremely compassionate. You might be offended that there is only one way, but there is only one way because only one way was possible—that’s why Jesus did what he did.
You and I do have choices about what we believe, but we really can’t remake Jesus to say something he didn’t. He said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father but through me.” And he paid the ultimate price to make that way possible.