Question: Is Jesus the only way to heaven? After all, there are many cultures around the world with so many different religions, shouldn’t God provide other ways for people to get into heaven? Is it fair, or just, that God would condemn people who have never had a chance to choose Jesus. Isn’t that what is happening if Jesus is the only way to heaven?
This line of questioning is problematic for many individuals because there are millions of people on the earth who have never heard the name of Jesus. And, if someone has never been told about Jesus, it seems cruel to think that person would be cut off from salvation.
Is that how God is? No.
This line of “reasoning” is actually judging God by our minuscule understanding. To get beyond these doubts, you need to realize man has a very finite perspective. The argument that God is being unfair to people purports either: (1) You, as a man, are more loving and compassionate than God himself. Or, (2) God has lost control of His creation.
“Can a mortal be more righteous than God? Can a man be more pure than this Maker?” (Job 4:17).
God is God, and you are not! Refocus on who God is, and examine His character, His righteousness, His power, and His Sovereignty.
“As for God, his way is perfect; the word of the LORD is flawless” (2 Sam. 22:31). “And the heavens proclaim his righteousness, for God himself is judge” (Ps. 50:6).
The Lord God is loving, righteous, and sovereign. God is on His throne overseeing all of His creation. His ways, will, and word are perfect. And, God’s ways and understanding are far above ours. “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD. As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts” (Isa. 55:8-9).
God, in His omnipotence, spoke into existence all of creation, including man. And, He knew before He created mankind, what opportunities every person across the span of time and circumference of the earth would have to receive forgiveness and salvation. And He took care of it! He didn’t leave a soul who could be missed, because He is “not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance” (2 Pet. 3:9).
If that is true, that God doesn’t want anyone to perish, it means He would have to ensure there was opportunity for everyone, regardless of century, circumstance, or country; to learn of Him and call upon Him for forgiveness and salvation.
He did! “God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities – his eternal power and divine nature – have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse” (Rom. 1:19-20). “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge. There is no speech or language where their voice is not hear. Their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world” (Ps. 19:1-4).
In creating the wonders of the universe, God has provided everyone with ample evidence of His divine existence and love. Further, when God created the intricacies of man, He created in us an awareness of our need of Him and His love for us. He then provided avenues for every man to come to an understanding and knowledge of Him, so that those who seek Him will find Him.
“[God] gives all men life and breath and everything else. From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live. God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us” (Acts 17: 25-27).
God knew the entire spectrum of history before He even created mankind. He knows what is to be, as if it had already had been. God “calls things that are not as though they were” (Rom. 4:17).
God hasn’t lost control of His creation. In fact, even before God created man, He provided the means of salvation for all men. And that is through Jesus Christ. Jesus is “the Lamb that was slain from the creation of the world” (Rev. 13:8). In Jesus Christ, “the LORD has made his salvation known and revealed his righteousness to the nations. He has remembered his love and his faithfulness to the house of Israel; all the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God” (Ps. 98:2-3).
A salvation coming forth from the house of Israel that will bring salvation to the ends of the earth – that salvation is in Jesus Christ alone. Jesus said, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). “For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all men – the testimony given in its proper time” (1 Tim. 2:5).
Now, “the testimony given in its proper time” means there was a time before Christ came into the world, when people put their trust and faith in God, looking forward to God providing a means of salvation. While they didn’t know the specific name or person of Jesus Christ, they put their faith in God for a Savior. These, who lived before Christ’s time on earth, were saved by grace through faith in their trust of God’s future provision. Their provision came in Jesus Christ. Yes, they were saved in Christ even through their days on earth were before when Jesus, the Son of God, came into the world.
In a similar way, salvation is available to all across the globe who put their faith in the Lord God, trusting in Him to provide unmerited provision for their salvation. That includes many in the world who do not know the name of Jesus. But, they can see the divine attributes of God in creation.
So even those who have never heard the name of Jesus can be saved in Jesus, if they place their hope and trust in the Holy God of Creation. The Creator has instilled in man a need to repent from godless ways and turn to God for forgiveness, trusting in Him alone to provide their restoration. That leads to salvation by faith.
You may ask, “How, if they are not aware of their sin?”
God instilled in man a yearning for fellowship with Him, and an awareness of our waywardness against Him. Every person innately knows he needs forgiveness from God, and we innately – and logically – know God’s forgiveness is undeserved.
Any person across the scope of the earth can repent and turn to God, seeking His forgiveness. However, no one is capable of earning that restoration. Forgiveness and restoration must be graced from God.
That’s why Jesus went to Calvary. That’s why Jesus had to die.
Phillips Brooks spoke about saying, “Love was compressed for all history in that lonely figure on the cross, who said that He could call down angels at any moment on a rescue mission, but chose not to – because of us. At Calvary, God accepted His own unbreakable terms of justice.”
Therefore, when men cry out for mercy to the divine God of Creation and repent, seeking forgiveness, God has already provided the means of salvation, “with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect. He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times” (1 Peter 1:19-20). For, “without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness of sin” (Heb. 9:22).
Is Jesus the only way of salvation? Yes, He is! God has ordained that an acceptable sacrifice of “shed blood” must be made for the remission of sins. And there is no other acceptable atonement for our sin except the blood of Jesus Christ. His blood “is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world” (1 John 2:2).
Don’t misunderstand this to interpret that all religions are universality seeking or worshipping the same god. That is a demonic lie. There are a multitude of false religions that teach about a “god,” or “gods,” of their own design and desires. Many religions even include teachings about Jesus in their belief statements, including Him as a inspirational teacher or honorable man. Yet, those religions oppose the Almighty God and trample on the Lord Jesus. And those who fall prey to these erroneous doctrines are, in fact, rejecting Jesus as their Lord and Savior.
Those who have heard the name of Jesus, or had an opportunity to learn of Him, are responsible for their knowledge and actions. “Whoever believes in (Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior) is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son” (John 3:18).
It is only through the work and righteousness of Jesus that man can have a restored relationship with God.
Other “religions” are, in essence, ways of man trying to justify themselves by their own merits. But that is impossible. For, “all have turned aside, they have together become corrupt; there is no one who does good, not even one” (Ps. 14:3).
That is why Jesus came into the world. He came into the world to offer His blood as a covenant, which was “poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins” (Matt. 26:28).
“Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).
“Just as sin reigned in death, so also grace might reign through righteousness to bring eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 5:19).
What will you do with Jesus?
This is a personal decision. There is no one else across the scope of this planet who can choose for you. You must decide to accept Him or reject Him. To accept Him is life. To reject Him, is to reject the Almighty God. Jesus said, “He who rejects me rejects him who sent me” (Luke 10:16).
You can know Jesus, today, as your personal Lord and Savior? Read how at this link: I need Jesus!