It is a hard struggle for most people, even believers, to understand how it could be true that the only way to heaven is by the way of Jesus Christ, by receiving Him into one’s heart as Lord and Savior. How could a God of love be so restrictive (or sometimes, a more critical wordage is used), when it is written that God is “not willing that any should perish”? (II Peter 3:9).
However, if we start with the issue where God started with it, and recognize that God is unchangeable in nature (greatly to our benefit, I must add), which is a must in the mix, then the truth of His restrictiveness falls into place. The problem started when only two people were in existence—Adam and Eve—yet the solution had already been formed in the plan of God. Titus 1:2, “…in hope of eternal life which God, who cannot lie, promised before timebegan….” Adam and Eve sinned by disobeying God and He provided a blood-sacrificed covering for them, the first provision of salvation for mankind and done by the God who is unchangeable.. (He provided the skins of animals to cover their nakedness, thus the she3dding of blood to provide the skins—Hebrews 9:22-“And according to the lawalmost all things are purified with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no remission [of sins]”.)
Then He opened the gate and put them out of the garden and into the world. Romans 5:12 tells us the result: “Therefore, just asthrough one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned–“.
The problem of separation from God does not start anew with each person who is born into this life. It is already in place. Fortunately, God has not left the problem unanswered, and that is what this article is all about. Echoing man’s problem, but also giving the solution is the content of John 3:18: “He who believes in Him [Christ] is not con-
demned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”
Paul tells us in Romans 2:11-16 that the laws of God are imprinted on our consciences from the beginning of time, our heritage from Adam, and our willingness or unwillingness to obey those moral edicts—the inner knowledge of right and wrong—is the seedbed of the problem. The first verse of this passage, verse 11, declares a truth that is universal in the character of God: “For there is no partiality with God”. God is fair. When those first two failed Him, they tried to cover themselves, thus showing their inner sense of guilt. Even then, man’s answer to the problem fell short of God’s high standard.
Romans 3:23 tells us that “all have sinned and come short of the glory of God”, and the solution God provided Adam and Eve came through the shedding of blood. Leviticus 17:11 tells us, “For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you upon the altar to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood that makes atonement for the soul.” And inherently, mankind has been found to have practiced blood sacrifice as an attempt to appease whatever god they might be worshipping—even those who have never heard of Jesus Christ.
The eternal plan of God, however, has one more step to complete the solution for man’s separation from Him. The Bible tells us in Hebrews 10:3-4 this: “But in those sacrifices there is a reminder of sins every year, for it is not possible that the blood of bulls and goats could take away sins. Then, “…when the fullness of the time had come, Godsent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law….” (Galatians 4:4-5).
John the Baptist, while baptizing in the region of the Jordan, looked up one day and proclaimed, “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29), thus linking this man Jesus with the picture of the blood sacrifices of the past history of mankind, especially the Jews. As Hebrews 10:1-2 declares, “For the law,having
a shadow of the good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with these same sacrifices, which they offer continually year by year, make those who approach perfect”, Jesus is the “very image” of the good things to come, the fulfillment of that shadow.
Here are statements of four prominent spokesmen from the New Testament era, and there are others (these are Jesus, Himself, and three of the apostles), declaring that Jesus Christ is the only way for salvation:
Jesus, in John 14:6–“I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”
Peter, in Acts 4:12—“Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” Paul, in I Timothy 2:5-6—“For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time…”
John, in I John 5:11-12—“And this is the testimony: that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life. Without question it is clear that this Jesus, the Jesus of the Bible, is God’s only answer to the cry of mankind for peace with God.However, Peter declares that “God is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance” (II Peter 3:9). One must receive Jesus into his own heart to become a child of God (John 1:12) and to have assurance of salvation.
In conclusion, then, to those who maintain there are other ways to heaven (and God) than only Jesus Christ must consider what acceptable blood sacrifices foreshadow their “savior” or who has come or is coming in reality with an atonement for sins that is judiciously pleasing to God, the eternal Judge. As quoted above from Acts 4:12, Peter, who walked with Jesus for three years, denied Him openly, then repented and was forgiven, said “for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”