Summary: This sermon tells that Christ is the way, the truth and the life and that only Christians who accept and believe accordingly will have salvation available to them.
Do all religions lead to salvation?
Jesus, Himself, said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father, except through Me.” [John 14:6]
In my Study Bible, there is a footnote that says:
The way, the truth, and the life is a Person, our Lord Jesus Christ: He is so because of His perfect union with His Father (vv, 9, 11): The way we reach the Father is forever established through the Son. Jesus is the truth because He is the unique revelation of the Father, who is the goal of our journey through life. Christ is the life, the uncreated eternal life, manifest in the flesh, so that we
might have life. Because of this, No one comes to the Father except through the Son. While aspects of goodness and truth are found among all people by virtue of their being created in the image and likeness of God, salvation comes through Christ alone.
[The Orthodox Study Bible, New King James Version, Thomas Nelson Publishers, Page 251]
The scholars that wrote the cited footnote were clear and unequivocal: Salvation comes through Christ alone. This is the same theme that occurs countless other times in the New Testament and which shapes our true understanding of the Old Testament. Amen!
One can surmise that the answer to the question, “Do all religions lead to salvation?” being preached in a Christian church on the Lord Christ’s Day is NO! These words within the Holy Bible when fundamentally applied exactly as spoken by Jesus exclude the Buddhists and the Hindus and other systems of religious philosophy that are not built upon the teaching and implications of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ as solely the way, the truth and the life. But I think that most people know that. Are adherents to Bahaism or Unitarian-Universalism saved through their egalitarian hope that the entire world’s major religions fall within one underlying, inclusive belief system. No, except, perhaps, by the uncertain mercy of God in His sole and absolute discretion. Mercy is the sole province of the mercy-giver, to give or to withhold as is fit and just or, in this case, as is divinely just and proper.
What about Muslims? Is their path to salvation through Mohammed or through Christ alone? Therein lays the answer! You decide. In a world of obfuscation, do we dare be silent on this issue? View CNN or Fox, to learn, first-hand, that there are many brilliant former Muslims who have converted to Christianity. This happened just a few months ago to the lovely, godly daughter-in-law of one of our parishioners. It is possible for others whom God may have placed in your path. But conversion will become very, very difficult of we conceal the message from Muslims that salvation comes through Christ alone. Is it not our obligation to make Muslims aware of this fact? Many fundamentalist Muslims would kill all Christians to make a point to other Christians to convert or perish by the Muslim sword. Should our gentle and loving words of instruction to them not be our Christian sword?
Should one ignore the straight-forward teachings of the Bible and, instead, rely upon the vague hope of God’s divine mercy? Would it not be foolish to violate a clear and unequivocal teaching of the Bible? Why would Jesus, Himself, speak those words quoted in John 14:6? The message is clear: Salvation comes through Christ alone. There is no room for an expanded or contrary position here. Like it or not, this is the rule that must govern our life. It is because Jesus Christ-true God and true man-precisely set forth this precept.
Another question arises, “Do all expressions of Christianity lead to salvation?” The answer must be denomination and believer specific. The question that each denomination, local church, priest, minister, elder or member must answer is this: Does one believe that salvation comes through Christ alone? Bishop Spong of the Episcopal Church argues to the contrary. Does Spong’s peculiar form of belief lead to salvation? I opine, “No!” His theology is all inclusive, regarding Christ as a mythical religious symbol, not the way, the truth, and the life, but one among many ways, many truths and many lives. He appears to not want any non-Christian peoples to be deprived of salvation. Hence, he is prepared to “throw out the baby with the bathwater”.
Eastern Orthodox theologians teach that salvation is not limited to Christians who subscribe to any one particularly identifiable belief system, but to those who hold basic orthodox (spelled with a small “o”) beliefs, chief among which is that salvation comes through Christ alone. This is one of the several reasons that Orthodox Christians are forbidden to proselytize other Christians. We are not to “mess around” in the lives of true Christian believers who believe the same as we do but who may worship differently or use different terminology to express the same tenets.