Jesus — The Only Way

Title: Jesus – The Only Way

Text: Matthew 11:27

Date: September 1st, 2009

 

One of the really exciting things about the Bible is the way it can teach us so much from just one verse! That’s what we have today as we work verse-by-verse through the Gospel of Matthew. “All things have been committed to me by my Father. No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him,” Matthew 11:27. This verse shows what theologians call “the exclusivity of Christ,” or in other words, how Christ is the only way to God. I’m aware that this is a disputed fact among people of the world today; it’s even being questioned by some so-called Christians as well. Today, it’s popular to say that all religions are different paths to God. All faiths are valid as long as they are sincerely held. To claim that Christ or Christianity is the only way to God smacks of bigotry and narrow-mindedness. But if we are honest to God’s Word, if we are consistent with unanimous biblical teaching, we must agree that Jesus Christ is the only way to have access to God the Father in heaven. Now that doesn’t answer all the questions the critics have concerning the relationship between Christianity and all the other religions and philosophies of the world, but it does accurately express the Bible’s teaching on the subject. And Matthew 11:27 is just one of many passages that teach the exclusivity of Christ for salvation. There are others. For example there is the famous passage where Jesus clearly states, “I am the way, the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father except through me.” That’s pretty clear. Another example of the exclusivity of Christ is found in Acts 4:12, where the apostles make this claim, “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.” I could give still other passages in the New Testament to support the exclusivity of Christ, but I’ve mentioned enough to prove the point – the Bible teaches that Jesus Christ is the only way to God, the only way of salvation. But what about all the people from all the other religions? Can they be saved following their own religion sincerely? That’s what most religious leaders like the Dali Lama teach. For example, in countless interviews he has expressed the belief that for him Buddhism is the religion of choice, but for someone born in a predominantly Muslim society, Islam would be just as valid a choice. For someone born in a majority Christian society, Christ could be the way of salvation for him or her. He teaches the relativity of all religion. Or, in other words, all religions, if sincerely believed and practiced, can lead a person to God and the way of salvation. This view is fast becoming the view of most people today, although the Bible contradicts it. Just what does the Bible teach about Jesus Christ and the way of salvation? Does it really teach that Jesus is the only way? Let’s look at Matthew 11:27 and find out.

 

First, God has committed everything to Jesus Christ. Matthew 11:27, “All things have been committed to me by my Father. . . .” The Greek word used here is paredothe, which means to “hand over.” God the Father has “handed over” all things to God the Son, Jesus Christ. Now what thing is he speaking of? All created things. In John 1:1-3, 10 we learn, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. . . . He (Jesus) was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him.” So we see that Jesus, God the Son, second person of the Holy Trinity, was with God the Father, first person of the Holy Trinity, along with the Holy Spirit, third person of the Holy Trinity, who is mentioned “in the beginning” at creation in Genesis 1, creating the universe and the world. All of creation has been assigned or entrusted to Jesus by the Father. Now that makes perfect sense because Jesus is God-in-human-flesh, while God the Father is pure Spirit along with the Holy Spirit, who is, well, pure Spirit. But the Son Jesus is accessible to us because he expresses himself in ways we as humans can comprehend. The Jehovah Witnesses, the false religious cult that knocks on doors, passes out literature, and criticizes all other churches than their own, these people have the heretical teaching that there are two gods – one, God the Father, who is truly God; and second, god the son, Jesus, who is really a created god assigned to administer and organize this universe and world for God the Father. Well, that’s incorrect; in fact, it’s a false teaching. But where they got it wrong is that Jesus isn’t a created little god under the Big God the Father. Jesus was never created; instead, he’s always been around because he, along with the Father and the Spirit is also God. But the JW’s have it right in that Jesus has been assigned to administer or organize the universe and our world. God the Father has entrusted this responsibility to him as this verse says, “All things have been committed to me by my Father.” But we begin to see the exclusivity of Christ doctrine clearly from this passage. God the Father entrusts all things to Jesus, not the Buddha, not Confucius, not Mohammed, or any other religious leader. The Father, who is also the God of the Jews, didn’t even entrust all things to any Old Testament Jewish leader, but only to Jesus Christ. So how can there be any comparison between Jesus and anybody else? Jesus is eternal; no other religious leader can make that claim. Jesus is co-creator of all things along with the Father and Spirit; no other spiritual leader can claim such a thing. When Jesus is compared to anyone, any leader, religious or otherwise, there is no real comparison. Jesus is totally and absolutely unique. There isn’t even a close second. That’s a clue to why only Jesus is the way to God, only Jesus is the way to salvation.

 

Second, only Jesus the Son knows God the Father. Matthew 11:27, “All things have been committed to me by my Father. No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son. . . .” Now it’s not saying that it’s impossible to learn or know something about God outside of Christianity or the Bible. It’s possible to know some things about God through natural means. For example, in the Book of Romans, the Apostle Paul teaches, “Since what may be known about God is plain to them, because 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 understand from what has been made, so that men are without excuse,” Romans 1:19-20. It’s possible to learn about God from nature; this is called natural theology. It’s also possible to know about God from human nature, through our moral conscience. Again, the Apostle Paul teaches, “. . . men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves due penalty for their perversion,” Romans 1:27. The human conscience is a testimony to the moral law of God; it witnesses to us that there is a God and that there are moral standards of right and wrong which all men and women are obligated to follow. If they violate these standards they feel guilt and shame – that’s one of the things this passage is speaking to – a guilty conscience. This is the basis for all natural ethics, and it’s amazing to see that all religions and all philosophies have moral standards. Even if they disagree on what those standards are, still they all have them to one degree or another. So Matthew 11:27 isn’t teaching that it’s impossible to know about God through nature or even through different religions or philosophies, it’s just saying that impossible to “know” God in a personal sense except through Jesus Christ. The Greek word used here is epiginoskei, which means personal knowing, not just general or abstract knowing. I can know about some celebrity or television personality through watching or reading about them, but I can’t personally know they unless I meet them and interact with them closer. It’s the same way with God. It’s possible to learn about God and know about God through natural theology or even through the writings of some of the famous religious leaders like Mohammed, for example. The truth is, Mohammed borrowed most of his religious ideas from Jews and Christians and simply recorded these along with adding some other teachings he came up with to create the Koran and the teachings of Islam. It’s possible to learn about God from different religions but it’s not possible to personally “know” God except through a spiritual relationship with Jesus Christ. “No one knows the Father except the Son.” That means, no other religious leader is qualified to teach us about God except Jesus Christ. Yes, it is true that there were Old Testament saints who knew God personally, who spoke with God, such as Moses. But as far as intimate knowledge of God the Father, only the Son knows God in that way. Why would anyone listen to any other spiritual leader or follow any other religion in place of Jesus and Christianity, since these other leaders and religions teach errors and contradictions about God because they don’t know him like Jesus knows him.

 

Third, only a Christian can truly know God. Matthew 11:27, “All things have been committed to me by my Father. No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.” Here’s the key phrase which brings out the exclusivity of Christ and the exclusivity of Christianity as the one true faith, “No one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal himself.” Jesus is the exclusive spiritual leader; only he can reveal God to the world. And Christianity is the only true faith because Christ has revealed God to people called Christians, to the Christian church. Why is the Christian church the only true faith? Because it is to Christians that the Son “chooses to reveal him (God)” – that is why we are called a Christian, because God has chosen to reveal himself to us through his Son Jesus. There would be no Christianity, there would be no Christian church, if God hadn’t entrusted all things to Christ, if Christ didn’t know God the Father, and, if Christ didn’t reveal God the Father to those who are called Christians. It isn’t that God reveals himself to people called Christians; it’s God reveals himself to people and because of this revelation they come to know God and are called Christians. Now there are many different religions that claim to know about God. Buddhists and Hindus, for example, claim to know things about God; they are all confused and contradictory things about God. For example, Buddhists aren’t sure whether there really is a God or if there is what kind of God there is. Hindus, on the other hand, believe there are many gods, thousands of gods, but they don’t know anything about the one, true God. Or as another example, Muslims believe they know something about God; they believe that there is one God. In this they are correct. But that’s about as far as it goes with them because from the writings found in the Koran it’s clear that they know very little personally about God, nor can they have much of a personal, living relationship with God. This follows from what Jesus teaches about himself and God the Father – “No one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.” Jesus is not revealing God the Father to Muslims because they reject his essential identity and teachings. And because Jesus is not revealing God to Muslims, they can’t personally know God. Neither can Buddhists and Hindus personally know God, the true God, because Jesus is not revealing the God the Father to them because they won’t give up their own false ideas about God long enough to listen to the Christian Gospel and the message of the Bible. The truth is, Jesus would reveal God to all people if they would but turn away from their false religious beliefs and accept the truth of God as Jesus teaches and as Christianity preaches.

 

I feel sorry, for example, for Muslims who might really get to know God except they are unwilling to disbelieve the teachings of their so-called prophet Mohammed. Muslims dishonor Jesus by making their false prophet out to be greater than Jesus. In their famous prayer, they say, “There is only one God and Mohammed is his prophet.” So in other words, if they only say two things about God it’s that there is one God and Mohammed is prophet. What about Jesus? Why speak of Mohammed ahead of Jesus? Why make Mohammed as God’s last voice or revelation? Jesus is the key to know God, not Mohammed. So we can easily see, because Matthew 11:27 is true, Islam is a false religion. “No one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.” It isn’t the case that Mohammed knows God, nor is it the case that he can reveal God to mankind. The low place that Jesus is given in Islam is an insult to God. The high place that Mohammed is given in Islam is also an insult to the true God. The low place Jesus is given in Buddhism is an insult to God also because among Buddhists, such as the Dali Lama, all religions lead to God. Well, if all religions are paths to God, then why did Jesus need to come to the earth and suffer and die on the cross? If people can be saved through the Hindu religion or the Buddhist religion, why would God send or even permit Jesus to die for the sins of the world? The prayer of Jesus in Gethsemane shows the exclusivity of Christ, “Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, ‘My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will,’” Matthew 26:39. If there were other ways to God, if were not necessary for Jesus to die for the sins of the world, that would have been the perfect time for God to intervene – “Jesus, stop, you don’t have to die for the sins of the world, for the salvation of mankind, there are other ways, other alternative paths for me to accomplish that.” But no, God didn’t rescue Christ Jesus because there were no other paths to knowing God, no other ways of salvation. That means that all the other religions and philosophies of the world, ancient or modern, can’t save the soul. There are no alternative ways of knowing God. There aren’t many paths to salvation, as the Dali Lama continually teaches. No. There is one and only one way to personally know God and be saved by God — that is through the Son Jesus Christ, as this short passage teaches. Now this passage leaves unanswered all the many questions that come from saying Jesus is the only way. Is it fair for God to save only through Jesus when many others might not have heard the Gospel? What happens to all those people in the world who follow different religions? The Bible doesn’t answer all our questions about truth and error, true faith and false faith, saved and unsaved. But what it does say very clearly is that salvation is though Christ alone by grace alone through faith alone.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: