After a few hours of running reservoir stimulation simulations and reviewing technical papers, I took a break from work; turned my eyes away from the large computer monitors to a much smaller screen, my phone. I launched the Twitter app and was greeted by the following post from an account I follow:
“GOD definitely exists. It’s the beliefs in religions that I doubt. I believe there are many ways to GOD.”
Someone else I followed tweeted in agreement:
So I tweeted a response to both of them:
“Jesus said He’s the only way. I believe Him.”
To which the original tweeter replied:
“I love Jesus but we believe what has been passed on through different translations to us. I don’t want to get into it. But there are many things lost in translation brethren.”
I considered letting that slide for a second or two, because no one really “wins an argument” on social media, nonetheless I persisted:
“Interesting…tho if I read the Bible like that, then I would chuck out everything I don’t like in it and label them “lost in translation”. Another way to look at it is- if there are other legit ways to Him, why would God send His only Son to die for our sins?”
And I was hit back with this:
“This isn’t for everybody. But lemme tell you this. GOD isn’t going to roast a truly good person because of differed beliefs. GOD isn’t human. An all-Merciful GOD isn’t human. We’ll both never finish tweeting back & forth if we list our views.”
The above exchange was about a week ago.
I declined to continue with the conversation after this point because: (a) As the tweeter rightly pointed out, we would never finish with the back & forth trying to convince each other of our views, and (b) I had to get back to work. You rarely see anyone’s opinion change from an argument on social media any way.
This discussion about Jesus being the only way to God is one I have had with a few other Christians in the past. I had no idea this was debatable so I was dumbfounded the first time a Christian told me they think there are other ways to God aside from Jesus Christ. Just like the above tweeter, they found it difficult to believe millions of souls who lived a decent life on earth but believed in other deities/messengers/prophets would face eternal damnation just because they did not accept Christ as their Lord and Savior. What!?
That just doesn’t sound fair, right? Well, God is more than fair, He is a just God. From the moment Adam fell in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3), He highlighted plans on how He would eventually bring man back to Him and it involved sacrificing His Son to redeem us from death – spiritual separation from Him. Throughout the Old Testament, the Israelites were given instructions to sacrifice animals to cleanse them of their sins as a shadow of things to come (Hebrews 10:1, Colossians 2:17), but none of those practices could really bring them to God until Christ came and made the ultimate sacrifice.
If there was another way to get this done, i.e. redeem mankind after the Fall, I believe the omniscient and omnipotent God would have figured this out instead of having to send His only Begotten Son down to earth to die for our sins. That was the only way, and He made the ultimate call because He’s a just God:
For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.
– John 3:16 (NLT).
This is not an isolated doctrine with the possibility of anything being lost in translation. If you know Jesus is the Son of God and He cannot lie, then you would believe what He said in the gospel of John:
I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.
– John 14:6 (NLT)
This was in response to Thomas asking how they can know the way, right after Jesus told them He was going to His Father’s house to prepare a place for them. He couldn’t have been clearer on that. He also issued his disciples “the great commission”:
And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.
– Mark 16:15-16 (NKJV)
He who does not believe will be condemned! There isn’t much wiggle room here, if Jesus knew there was another way to the Father, He wouldn’t condemn those who would refuse to follow Him.
The obvious drawback with Christians who believe there are other ways to God outside Jesus Christ – apart from implicitly believing Jesus lied – is that there is little or no motivation to preach the gospel of Christ. I mean if there are other ways to God, why go out of our way to preach Jesus Christ to anyone? Why did the apostles and early followers risk all they had for Christ to be preached in Judea, Samaria and uttermost part of the world…if He was not the only way? I mean, that would be a stupid cause to die for, if so.
Even though I am writing this specifically for Christians who think Jesus isn’t the only way, I am more than happy to extend this discussion for anyone interested. Queries from all – believers and unbelievers – are welcome.
To Christians to believe Christ is the only way, don’t be quiet about it. Shout it out loud a la Apostle Paul:
For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile.
– Romans 1:16 (NIV)
In closing; I have to emphasize this, in case I haven’t been clear enough all along: Jesus is not one of the many ways to God, HE IS THE ONLY WAY TO GOD.