Tim highlights the eternal significance and exclusivity of Christianity.
Is Christianity the only way? Well, Jesus and His disciples certainly thought so. Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father, except through Me.” Jesus explicitly says that he is the way, not a way. In fact, no one gets to God except through Him. When facing the same ruling body that crucified Christ, Peter’s own confession is equally exclusive. He says, “And there is salvation in no one else. For there is no other name under heaven, that has been given among men, by which we must be saved.”
Now let me make an observation at this point. The claim that Christianity is the only way rubs a lot of people the wrong way. I think that stems from a misunderstanding of the kind of claim that it is. Many people treat religious claims like preference claims. In the same way some people prefer chocolate ice cream to vanilla ice cream, some people prefer Christianity over some other religion. On this ice cream view of religion, it doesn’t make any sense to say that Christianity is the one, true religion. In the same way, it wouldn’t make sense to say that chocolate ice cream is the one, true flavor of ice cream.
But religion isn’t like ice cream, it’s more like insulin. When it comes to Type 1 juvenile diabetes, it doesn’t matter if you like it or not. The truth of the matter is that insulin controls diabetes. There is a correspondence to reality. There’s a reason why Jesus and His disciples claimed He was the only way. He’s the only person to deal with our sin. What do I mean? Well, we’re all sinners. That’s not a putdown, I’m just being descriptive. We’re all guilty of breaking God’s perfect, moral law. We can’t even live up to our own standards much less than the standards of a holy God. And guilty people deserved to be punished. That’s the bad news.
The good news is that those who put their trust in Jesus Christ, God’s only provision of salvation, will be saved. Through His death on the cross, Jesus purchased a pardon for anyone who believes in Him. With it, we’re rescued. Without it, we stand alone. Anyone trusting in their own merits will be judged by those merits and found wanting. Anyone trusting in the merits of Christ, the Sinless One, will be judged by the merits of Christ and will find favor.
So, Christianity is absolutely unique in what it claims. No other religion, or religious leader, has dealt with the reality of human sin. Only Jesus did that. Now, just because Christianity teaches that it’s an exclusive religion, doesn’t mean it’s not also inclusive. What do I mean by that? It’s exclusive in that it teaches that Jesus is the only way. But it’s also inclusive in that it’s a genuine offer of salvation to everyone who believes.