Dr. Dan Coflin
Pastor, River of Life Church
There is a great emphasis today in our society for tolerance and co-existence for all people to get along with one another and to be accepting of different religions, philosophies and ideas. The idea of “only one way” to heaven is criticized and those who hold such exclusive ideas are labeled as ignorant or self-righteous and exclusive or even mean-spirited and dangerous to a peaceful society. But the truth, as expressed in the scriptures and experienced by millions of people, is condensed in a single statement of Jesus, “I am the way, the truth and the life: no man comes to the Father but by me.” (Jn. 14:6)
There is no other religious leader, no other philosophy of man or founder of some religious sect that could ever qualify as the Savior of mankind. No one else has been born of a virgin or demonstrated the very character and nature of a loving God who is described as a Father who is in love with mankind. No one else has ever willingly given his life as a sacrifice to pay for man’s sin. And certainly no one else has ever risen from the dead to show his victory over death and the wicked one he came to defeat.
Instead, most of the gods of other religions are angry tyrants that must be appeased by man’s sacrifice or they require man to qualify himself, that is, to make himself acceptable by his own self-efforts. Only in Christ Jesus are people judged by what Jesus did for them and not what they can do for themselves.
Forgiveness of sins and restored fellowship with God is imparted to those who know they are incapable of saving themselves and simply call on God to forgive, cleanse, and restore them because they place their trust in Christ and confess him as Lord.
God’s remedy for man’s sin is not some means of rehabilitation, retraining, or education because the remedy for man’s problem cannot be self-achieved. The unpardonable result of man’s sin is death. Sin cannot be simply dismissed. Righteousness requires judgment and full payment for all sin.
Even if someone was capable of choosing to never sin again, the sins of the past could still not be erased, therefore judgment is still required. This truth is expressed in the book of Romans, “For if by one man’s offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.” (5:17)
Because Adam, the first man, sinned, he passed on to all his children for all generations a sinful nature. It is just “in” man to sin. But Jesus was born of a virgin, and being sinless he willingly took upon himself the judgment for man’s sin. He died man’s death so that he could give man life. This life is available to anyone and everyone who comes to the only one who has the ability to forgive and to give righteousness as a gift to the ones who ask.
Yes, there is only one way to heaven, but the door is always open and everyone has an invitation to come. No one is disqualified or unacceptable. The entrance is well lit and Jesus stands at the door ready to receive all who come to God by him.