I will never forget a discussion I was part of while still in seminary. Our professor posed the question for our small group – is Jesus the only way to salvation? If I remember correctly, there were about 10 people in our group and only two answered, “yes” to that question. The sad thing was that the professor himself denied the exclusivity of Christ. Over the past few years I have come to realize that this view is not uncommon among professing Christians. More and more people deny that faith in Jesus is the only way to be saved. This is tragic.
When professing Christians deny the exclusivity of Christ, we must ask them, do you believe the bible is the Word of God? I say that because the bible is crystal clear that Jesus is the only way to God and the only way to be saved from sin, death, and eternal torment in hell. I have a lot of Christian brothers and sisters who have different views on baptism and eschatology and other theological issues, but we can agree to disagree on those “secondary” matters. The exclusivity of Christ, however, is not in that category. It is not up for theological debate simply because the Scriptures are clear. What I am saying is that to deny the exclusivity of Christ is to deny the veracity or accuracy of the Bible.
There are plenty of Scriptures that point to “Christ alone.” Verses like John 14:6 and Acts 4:12 immediately come to mind, but I would like to focus on Romans 10:13-17 for the remainder of this post.
Paul writes, “For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news! But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, Lord, who has believed what he has heard from us? So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.”
Those of you familiar with Paul’s letter to the Romans will know that he powerfully makes his case for justification through faith in Christ alone. That is the assumption he brings to this passage. And so if Jesus is not the only way, then why support missions? If Jesus is not the only way, then why do evangelism? If Jesus is not the only way, then why not let the heathen find some “other way” to be saved? However, as Paul makes clear, “faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.” Paul knew that there is no only way. Paul knew that “there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus” (1 Timothy 2:5). The only hope the lost have is if someone is sent to them to “preach the good news” of Jesus Christ.
Today I visited a website where I learned that out of 16788 people groups in the world today, there are still 6955 unreached people groups. Many of these people groups are small, but praise God that there are thousands of missionaries all over the world working to bring the gospel to the unreached. In many cases, these missionaries labor in countries and environments very hostile to Christianity.
Let me ask you a question – if Jesus is not the only way, why risk dying for those who have never heard? Would it not make sense to let these people find some “other way” to be saved? But these missionaries know that Jesus is the “only way” and therefore, they press on and “endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they also may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory” (2 Timothy 2:10).
May it be said of us that we did the same in order that the name of Jesus might be praised and worshipped among the nations.