Is Jesus Really the Only Way to Heaven?

“There are many ways to heaven.” So says a common platitude spouted by non-Christians who take issue with the exclusivity of Jesus Christ for salvation. Three words in these two statements help us give an answer for the hope within us (1 Peter 3:15): heaven, exclusivity, and salvation.

What and Where Is Heaven?

Pastor Don Stewart clarifies the three heavens as found in the Bible: 

1. Our Immediate Atmosphere – the first heaven (Genesis 6:7)
2. Outer Space (The Sun, Moon, And Stars) – the second heaven (Matthew 24:29)
3. The Home of God – the third heaven – (Hebrews 8:1)

The heaven we long to inhabit is the abode where our triune God resides, and where all believers will be after their earthly death. Pastor and theologian R.C. Sproul said, “The instant we die, we go into heaven in our soul-state, and then we await the final consummation of the resurrection of our bodies.” The Apostle Paul said, “I am hard pressed between the two. My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better” (Philippians 1:23).

The Bible tells us what heaven is, but it does not tell us where it is, except up (Deuteronomy 32:40; 1 Samuel 5:12; 2 Kings 2:1; Lamentations 3:41; Amos 9:2; Matthew 14:19; Mark 16:19; 2 Corinthians 12:2; Revelation 11:12).

Did Jesus Christ Claim He Is the Only Way People Will Enter Heaven?

The other two key words for Christians regarding the unbeliever’s question about Jesus being the only way are exclusivity and salvation. Both directly address who Jesus is and why He came to earth.

Exclusivity

Jesus made the definitive statement of His exclusive means to get to heaven when He said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me” (John 14:6). 

Earlier in John’s Gospel, Jesus said, “No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day” (John 6:44). The Holy Spirit is involved as our Helper, “And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, to be with you forever” (John 14:16). God is working in His triune nature to draw men to Himself; all salvation comes through Jesus Christ. Period.

Authors Joel Beeke and William Boekeste, in their book, Why Christ Came: 31 Meditations on the Incarnation, share a number of reasons Scripture shows us why Jesus came in the flesh:

- To do the will of the Father (John 6:38)

- To save sinners (Timothy 1:15)

- To bring light to the darkness (John 12:46)

- To testify to the truth (John 18:37)

- To destroy the devil (Hebrews 2:14)

- To be worshipped (Matthew 2:1-2)

- To bring joy (Luke 2:10)

- To preach the kingdom of God (Luke 4:18-19)

- To enact judgment (John 9:38-41)

- To fulfill the Law and the prophets (Matthew 5:17)

- To serve and be our ransom (Mark 10:45)

- To seek and save the lost (Luke 19:5)

- To bring peace (Ephesians 2:14-18)

- To bring a sword (Matthew 10:34)

- To be the second and greater Adam (Romans 5:14-15)

(and the list goes on…)

Jesus fulfilled over 300 Old Testament prophesies. He is who He says He is, and the Scriptures are proof enough to help grow anyone’s faith.

Salvation

Christians are saved. But saved from what? A wise pastor says we are saved by God, from God, and for God. What does this mean?

What Does It Mean to Be Saved?

The Gospel: Saved by God

God created Adam as a perfect man, designed by God to live for eternity. When he sinned (The Fall), he became our federal head (i.e., our representative), death ensued (both spiritual and physical), and his sin was imputed on all mankind proceeding from him (Romans 5:12; 3:23). We deserve death — spiritual separation from God in hell (Romans 6:23; Ephesians 2:3). God cannot look upon sin (Habakkuk 1:13), and therefore man was lost and without hope. We needed a perfect sacrifice to atone for our sins, and God sent His Son — Jesus Christ — fully God and fully man, to die the death we deserved. God raised Him from the grave, the penalty for our sins having been paid for by Christ when He atoned for them on the cross (Hebrews 9:22). Knowing this, a person is saved when he repents of his sins and believes in Jesus Christ for salvation (1 Corinthians 15:22, 45-49; 2 Corinthians 5:21; Mark 1:14-15). A saved person is called a Christian — saved by Christ (God).

Jesus is the only way a person will enter heaven. In these days of conformity and inclusivity, however, people rail against anything exclusiveYes, Jesus is exclusively the only way to heaven, but all humans are invited to accept Him as Lord and Savior (Matthew 11:28; Mark 1:17; John 15:4).

The choice indeed is black and white with no grey area. A person is either for Jesus or against Him (Matthew 12:30; Mark 9:50; Luke 9:40; Revelation 3:15-16).

Heaven — the place of the eternal, omnipotent, omnipresent, omniscient, holy sovereign Creator’s throne — is not of man’s own making. God is God and heaven is His heaven (1 Kings 8:27).

Saved from God

God is just (Deuteronomy 32:4; Psalm 89:14; Romans 2:6). He is also loving and kind and patient. God cannot do anything without all His character acting in tandem. A human can be angry and not loving. Not God. Even in His wrath, He still and forever loves. He gives men chance after chance to say “yes” to His kind invitation to come into His kingdom (Matthew 22:1-14; Romans 2:4). Man has no excuse because God has made Himself knowable, and men decide to suppress the truth (Romans 1:18-32).

His patience with unbelievers will one day end, and in His wrath He will indeed cast unbelievers into hell (Revelation 20:15). Believers in Jesus Christ are saved from God’s righteous wrath.

Saved for God

Christians are saved for God — to be a light in the dark world and to walk with Jesus in His triumphal procession, “spreading the fragrance of the knowledge of Him everywhere” (2 Corinthians 2:14-16).

Christians have the indescribable privilege and responsibility to be ambassadors for Christ — God making His appeal through us as we share the Gospel with others (2 Corinthians 5:20). 1 Peter 2:9 says, “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for His own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.” We are blessed to get in on what God is doing by sharing the Gospel — by telling people about Jesus and what He has done for us.

God created us for good works, too (Ephesians 2:10). Jesus said, “In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 5:16). Good works always go hand-in-hand with a Gospel proclamation, for good works alone will save no one. People need to know the exact why of our good works.

What about Other Religions?

All other religions’ founders are dead in the tomb. Only Jesus’ tomb is empty; He is alive forever (Revelation 4:9)! Jesus accomplished what no mere mortal ever could; He died and rose from the grave. The founders of other religions took their false beliefs to the grave with them, yet the devil continues to pander and propagate their lies.

Other religions sometimes give Jesus a passing nod, saying, “He was a moral man.” They also add, “He was a good teacher.” These false religious leaders stick labels on Him to “sort of” admit Him into their box, but Jesus is beyond a natural man’s understanding (1 Corinthians 2:14). He is King of kings and Lord of lords, the sovereign Ruler (Acts 4:24; 1 Timothy 6:15; Revelation 6:10).

Anything other than true, orthodox Christianity is false teaching, and if anyone adds to or detracts from God’s Word, God says He will add to him the plagues described in Revelation 22:18-19. We can rightly say Jesus is the Word (Logos-John 1:1), and He is the Alpha and the Omega (Revelation 1:8) — the beginning and the end (Revelation 22:13). Since the Bible is all about Jesus, from the phrase, “In the beginning” (Genesis 1:1), to the final word, “Amen,” God’s Word is complete (Deuteronomy 4:2; Proverbs 30:6; Matthew 5:18; John 14:23-24; Galatians 1:6-9; 2 Timothy 3:16-17; 2 Peter 1:20-21).

Do you yet believe Jesus is the only way to be saved and enter heaven? If you don’t, I pray you will surrender to Him as your Lord and Savior, for today is the day of salvation (2 Corinthians 6:2), and salvation is found in no one else but Jesus Christ (Acts 4:12).

Photo credit: ©Getty Images/beerphotographer

Lisa Baker 1200x1200

Lisa Loraine Baker is the multiple award-winning author of Someplace to be Somebody. She writes fiction and nonfiction. In addition to writing for the Salem Web Network, Lisa serves as a Word Weavers’ mentor and is part of a critique group. She also is a member of BRRC. Lisa and her husband, Stephen, a pastor, live in a small Ohio village with their crazy cat, Lewis. 

 

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