Is Jesus Christ really the only way to heaven? That’s what Christians believe. But that sounds so…arrogant, close-minded, and exclusive, especially to people in our modern, relativistic culture. In our day, it is offensive to even suggest that you have the truth about anything, let alone something with everlasting and eternal consequences, such as how a person gets to heaven!
So when we, as Christians, claim to know the truth regarding the only way to get to heaven, you can imagine how this goes over in our culture today, where everybody has a right to their own truth, and claim that “you have your truth and I have my truth”, and “that might be true for you, but nor for me”, or “there are multiple truths”.
But is that how truth really works? I mean, would it be true that the earth was still round, even if I thought it true that the earth was flat? Here is a little experiment you can try. Walk into your bank, and tell them you would like to withdraw $500,000. When they tell you that you don’t have $500,000 in your account, simply inform them that that might be true for them, but it is not true for you”, and that you would like your cash in big bills. You’re going to quickly find out that truth is exclusive.
Let’s face it, there is no such thing as “my truth’ and “your truth”. Just “the truth”. And truth is that which corresponds to reality. And, so, by definition, truth is exclusive. Truth excludes anything that does not line up and agree with reality. You see, we don’t make up truth, we discover it.
So what does this have to do with Jesus being the only way? We Christians believe we know the truth about how a person gets to heaven, and it is only through Jesus Christ. And even though others may charge us of being narrow minded or arrogant, the reality is that every other religion also claims to know the truth, which means they are just as exclusive as Christianity.
But remember, truth, by definition, is exclusive. It excludes everything that does not correspond to reality. Which means, when two religions say the exact opposite things, then they can’t both be correct. They both can’t correspond to reality. This is also known as the Law of Noncontradiction, which is a basic law of logic.
So when, for example, Muslims claim that Jesus was not crucified, and Christians claim he was, they can’t both be right. One of them is wrong. Either Jesus was crucified, or he wasn’t. One of those two statements corresponds to reality, the other doesn’t. But make no mistake, the Muslim is also claiming that he has the truth, that Islam is the way to God, and so, by definition, he is also being exclusive! In fact, the same can be said of other religions. They all lay claim to truth, and so they are all, by definition, exclusive. Being exclusive is not just a Christian characteristic, it is characteristic of all religions, and even of truth itself.
Likewise, when different religions claim to know the true path to heaven, and those paths and beliefs are contradictory, they can’t all be true. They could all be false, but they certainly can’t all be true!
In one of the most fascinating conversations in history, Pilate asked Jesus, “What is truth?” That is a very profound question. Pilate may not have recognized the truth, but at least he recognized that there was such a thing as truth, even if, ironically, he walked away from the one person who could have given him the answer! In our day, for some reason, we have a difficult time understanding that objective truth even exists. The late Ravi Zacharias wrote that “truth is the foundational reality we often resist but that, ultimately, we can never escape. Is it possible Jesus is that foundational truth we often resist but, ultimately, we will never escape?
Jesus said that he came to testify to the truth. What truth was he talking about? Either Jesus was right, and every other religious leader was wrong, or either Jesus was wrong and some other religious leader got it right. Or, they could have all been wrong! But let us not patronize ourselves, let us not fool ourselves with the culturally prevalent idea that they were all correct!
Other religions and religious leaders say to “follow me, follow our plan, and we will show you the way”. Jesus said “I am the way”.
Other religions say to follow their plan in doing good works and deeds, follow their way, and you can have eternal life. Jesus said “I am the life”
Again, all religions are exclusive, and lay claim to knowing the truth. But Jesus said, “I am the truth”.
For those who claim Christianity is too exclusive, it is important to remember just how inclusive it really is. It is exclusive regarding the truth, yes, but very inclusive regarding individuals. The Bible tells us, in what is probably the second most familiar verse in the Bible, John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life”. This means that it is open to everybody. Whosoever! To anybody. That is a very inclusive statement!
The Bible tells us in Revelation that there will be people from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, who will be saved. Far from being exclusive, how much more inclusive can you be?
Thomas asked Jesus, “How can we know the way?” Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me”.
Never mind whether some people think that is narrow-minded or exclusive or not. We have already explained that all religions are exclusive. The important thing for each of us is that the claim of Jesus is either true, or it isn’t.
And due to a wide range of evidences, as well as the impact and experiences in my personal life, I absolutely believe it is the truth. And so, yes, I believe that Jesus is the only way! If you are interested in learning more about Jesus and the Bible, I invite you to consider listening to my Verse by Verse Bible study podcast.