Summary: In our modern culture, the way of salvation is under challenge within and without the church. This sermon addresses this important issue.
Why Jesus is the only Way to salvation.
In our post modern culture, the question frequently arises, “Why do you say Jesus is the only way?” or “Who are you to say Jesus is the only way?” We can expect the culture to ask questions like this, but in the last few years the Christian church itself has begun to ask these same questions. I watched an interview on MSNBC with a very prominent ex-politician who has always claimed to be a Christian. In an answer to a question he stated that all religions served the same God in different ways.
We have all heard similar statements – all roads lead to the same God and all religions worship the same God in different ways. One illustration was made popular a few years ago by a Buddhist parable. Men who were blind from birth were gathered together in a room with an elephant. Each man was led to a different part of the elephant – one felt the head, one the legs, tail, ears, and trunk. Afterward they were asked, “What is an elephant”? They began arguing when one claimed it was a plowshare, or a tree trunk, a brush, etc. The conclusion is that they all saw one part of the greater whole. In other words, we who argue about truth are arguing about the same god that has been revealed to us in different ways.
It is a very clever parable but holds one truth that I’m sure the author did not intend. Each one of these men was blind and each one was wrong. Until God reveals Himself to us, we all grope around in the darkness vainly searching for some semblance of truth. However, as long as we are blind, we remain in the darkness and what seems true is complete error. In Christianity, God reveals Himself to us and we receive His truth and experience a relationship with our Creator. In world religions, man seeks his own truth and creates his own god. He may call the thing he worships a god, but that does not make it God. As we will see shortly, the Bible gives concrete pointes of reference that place it squarely in contradiction with all world religions. Two contradicting points cannot be one in truth. Let’s take a moment to look at three points which show scripturally that Jesus Christ alone can offer salvation.
All sin is against God alone.
There is not a religious leader on earth that can forgive sins. Only God can forgive because we only sin against Him. Look at Psalm 51:
2 Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, And cleanse me from my sin.
3 For I acknowledge my transgressions, And my sin is always before me.
4 Against You, You only, have I sinned, And done this evil in Your sight -- That You may be found just when You speak, And blameless when You judge.
This is the prayer of King David who was mourning over his own sin when he committed adultery with Bathsheba and had Uriah killed to cover his transgressions. God sent Nathan the prophet to confront David and he repented. Even though David committed the transgression against Uriah, the Bible makes it clear that the sin was against God alone. The reason is that all sin is based on God’s law. When we break God’s law, we are challenging God’s authority.
This brings up the interesting question – why are certain actions considered to be sin at all? When we say certain behaviors are sinful, those practicing these behaviors inevitably ask, “Who are you to say this is wrong?” Of course, we are upholding what God has said but I believe it is also good for us to have a reasonable understanding as to why God said certain things are wrong.
If we look back at the ancient Israelites, we see many laws that don’t seem to make sense today. However, if we look closely we can see a clear purpose behind every law. In Leviticus God delivered many laws to govern the lives of Israel. Many of these laws were related to worship and the penalty was very harsh for violating these laws. Keep in mind that Israel was the light that God chose to reveal salvation to the world. Many of the worship laws were direct prophecies to Christ and the laws that did not seem to have a purpose at the time were clear teaching tools for what was revealed in Christ and in His crucifixion. The laws were necessary so that the revelation of Jesus Christ would be received and understood. It should be a serious offense to nullify the work that God was doing to reconcile the world to Himself.
Other laws were related to sanitation. If someone touched a dead body, they were unclean and had to cleanse themselves and could not eat until they washed their whole body. Today we understand why washing was important, but the ancient world that had no concept of microbes could not understand anything but the law. The same is true for declaring certain animals clean and others unclean. It is because that man was not able to understand the reasons that God issued the commands. God commanded that man could not drink the blood of any living thing because blood-borne diseases are a very real threat.