“I am the Road, also the Truth, also the Life. No one gets to the Father apart from me. If you really knew me, you would know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him. You’ve even seen him…To see me is to see the Father.”
Jesus as recorded in John 14:6-7 (The Message)
People I come across often tell me that they can’t believe that there is only ONE way to heaven. With all of the other religions in the world, how could I possibly be so arrogant to think that there is only ONE that is right.
I often don’t know how to answer them because I feel like that question comes from a place of pain and suffering where they have been treated in an un-Christlike manner by some Christian who really didn’t know how to love first and then find more sensitive ways to teach the story of God’s love and kingdom.
In a world where people simply want to throw stones or find some dirt on you, it is difficult to swim through the mess of human emotion and insecurity.
The Belief Question You Are Really Asking
A few years ago, I was listening to a podcast/talk by a guy named Erwin McManus. He was trying to explain the answer to that very question.
I have always found myself intrigued at the way that Jesus would answer the questions that were posed to him. Every time Jesus was asked a deep, soul-searching question, he would always respond with a direct soul-searching reply. Sometimes he would phrase his answer in another question. Other times he would deny them the answer they sought because he knew the motive behind the question.
This is very important in finding the best way to answer this question.
McManus explained that God set before humanity a choice. He said that we can choose life or death. He made a clear distinction about this choice to the Hebrew people in Deuteronomy 30:15-20. The Message puts it this way:
“I call Heaven and Earth to witness against you today: I place before you Life and Death, Blessing and Curse. Choose life so that you and your children will live. And love God, your God, listening obediently to him, firmly embracing him. Oh yes, he is life itself, a long life settled on the soil that God, your God, promised to give your ancestors Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.”
The amazing thing about this answer is that God isn’t letting people believe that there are many options out there. He is telling them that He, himself is life, itself. To choose anything other than him is to choose death.
And so the question about there only being ONE way to heaven totally puts us in a place where we are on the defense about something that is a matter of a simple choice. The question we really should be asking is “How can I be sure that the path I’m choosing leads to life?”.
You don’t want to walk all the way to the end of your life thinking everything is ok and then realizing that you missed out on something much bigger than the story you chose to live in. And you certainly don’t want to find yourself disconnected from true life when you breathe your last here on earth.
Belief is important. There are many good and sincere ways to live. But sincerity won’t get you far if what you are building your life on is a lie.
Life or Death, You Choose.
Imagine if there were no Sun. Everything would die on planet earth. Not only that, but every planet would fall into space. It is the Sun’s gravity that holds us all into place. How arrogant of us to think that we could depend on anything else other than the Sun to hold our planet in place and to give us light and life.
And yet we, as humans do this very same thing in our belief about God. We think that God will simply let us choose something else besides him to trust in for light and life. But the foolishness in this human arrogance is astounding!
Jesus came and said that He and the Father are One. He claimed to be the same God who made these statements in Deuteronomy. In fact, much of the message he spoke to people came from the book of Deuteronomy in the Old Testament.
Before he was crucified, Jesus made several statements regarding his divinity for which he was almost killed several times.
- “I AM the bread of life.”
- “I AM the light of the world.”
- “Before Abraham was, I AM”
- “I AM the door.”
- “I AM the good shepherd.”
- “I AM the resurrection and the life.”
- “I AM the way, the truth, and the life.”
- “I AM the true vine.”
Interestingly, the name that the Hebrews would have recognized as the name for God was Yahweh which means “I AM THAT I AM.” God was known as “The Great I AM”, so when Jesus made these statements to the Jewish people (and their religious leaders in particular) it infuriated them because he was making himself equal with God… and that was unacceptable (a.k.a. blasphemy).
I want to be very clear on this: Jesus is not the only way to heaven because you or I say so.
He is the path, the reality, and the source of all life.
To be connected to him is to be connected to life.
To be disconnected from him is to be disconnected from life itself.
Life flows eternally from Him.
Because Jesus is God, there is no other place we can turn to in order to find this life.
Religion or Just Family?
This is the difference between adhering to a religious philosophy, belief, or institution vs. being completely connected as a family member in the great family of God.
Throughout Scripture, Jesus vehemently fights against this “religion-following” tendency in humans. Little doubt can be cast on the claims of Jesus in the Scriptures. He claimed to be God and He was God. This is the defining characteristic of the message of Jesus. He made himself equal with the Creator God.
Either he was a very skillful liar or a raving lunatic. Or He was who He claimed to be… the Lord of all Creation. If He is the latter, then we need to pay close attention to his life and his words.
They are life itself.
The challenge that he placed and still places continually before humanity is to stop seeing things from a religious standpoint and to start looking at things from a familial-relational standpoint. The invitation Jesus gives is as a Father inviting his children to the party.
The only entrance fee is faith in Jesus as the door to get in.
That’s why religion is such a sore sticking point for soulstuck humanity.
In what way does this kind of thinking connect with you? Where do you find it hard to accept that Jesus is the source of life itself? Leave your comments below. I’d love to hear your side of the story!