Question of the Week (03/15/20)
with Dr. Wilfred Graves Jr.
QUESTION: Is Jesus Christ the only way to God? What about people of other faiths? Will they go to heaven?
ANSWER: One of the basic tenets of the Christian Religion is that Jesus Christ is Savior. He is the one who offers salvation to us. The very name “Jesus,” or Yeshua in Hebrew, basically means, “Yahweh (or God) is Salvation.” Some people wonder whether there are other ways to be saved. Can a sincere Moslem, Hindu, or genuinely nice person get to heaven?
Jesus Christ is the only way to God because Christianity is the only system that deals with the problem of sin. Human beings are sinful; we all know that and can therefore accept the statement as a basic premise. The reality of human sinfulness means that we not only do bad things, but we also are in a state of legal separation from the Creator. God is holy; he cannot be in fellowship with that which is unclean and imperfect. His justice requires that he condemn sin and eradicate evil.
Because human beings are unclean, imperfect, and sinful, we cannot fellowship with God in that state. Our state of separation from God really leaves human beings in an unwinnable position. The bad news for us is that we are in effect born under a death sentence. We live for a short time on earth. We are subject to futility, decay, decomposition, and ultimately, physical death. There is no hope for us unless somehow God can deal with the sin issue and grant eternal life.
The good news for us is that God brilliantly solves the sin problem by uniting himself with humanity. God can therefore judge sin by inflicting a death sentence upon himself and conquering it by coming back from the dead. This judgment of sin is precisely what happened in the Christ event.
- Jesus Christ is both man and God.
- As a man, Jesus could die and pay the penalty for sin.
- As a perfect man, he could die and pay the penalty for someone else’s sin.
- As God, Jesus Christ had the power to defeat death and offer eternal life to us.
So if other religions cannot deal with the fundamental enemies of humankind (i.e., sin and death) then those religions are ineffective. It’s not a matter of being fair or whether someone of another religion is a good person or not. The real issue is identifying which religion deals with the problem of separation from God.
Some people believe that it is arrogant, insensitive, narrow-minded, and intolerant to claim that Jesus Christ is the only way to God and the sole means through which salvation is obtained. Yet, truth by its very nature is exclusive. Two things that contradict each other cannot both be true. Consider the following claims about God.
Claims about God
Deism: God is not involved in human affairs. He is an absentee landlord.
Christianity: God is so involved in human affairs that he became one of us.
These cannot both be true.
Christianity: Jesus Christ died on the cross and rose from the dead.
Islam: Jesus did not die.
These statements cannot both be true. Furthermore, according to Christianity human salvation depends on whether or not Jesus died and rose from the dead.
Christianity: Jesus Christ is the only way to God (John 14:6).
Other Religions: Good deeds alone determine our eternal destiny.
CONCLUSION: Different religions are not all saying the same thing! Somebody must be wrong! They can’t all be right if they contradict one another.
THE RESURRECTION ANSWERS DEFINITIVELY WHICH ONE OF THE RELIGIONS IS TRUE. BECAUSE JESUS CHRIST ROSE FROM THE DEAD, WE CAN CONCLUDE THAT HE WAS WHO HE CLAIMED TO BE AND WE CAN ACCEPT HIM AS LORD AND SAVIOR.