My neighbor does not believe in God, but he is the nicest person I have ever met. I have heard that some denominations say that Jesus is not the only way a person can get to heaven. Could this be true?
More than one way?
When it comes to truth, as with mathematics, there is only one way to be right but many ways to be wrong. The Bible tells us that Jesus is the only way to heaven. But that statement is not popular in today’s society. More and more people, including some Christians, have fallen for the thinking that there are many ways into God’s presence.
We need to understand that God is holy. When Isaiah the prophet saw God on his throne, do you know what his reaction was?
Understand who God is
It was not one of praise and awe. It was one of terror. He said, “Woe to me! . . . I am ruined! For . . . my eyes have seen the King, the LORD Almighty” (Isaiah 6:5).
As New Testament Christians, that fear may seem foreign to us. Perhaps it is because we picture Jesus with the little lamb in his arms. And that beautiful picture is absolutely true! What a comfort! God is love.
But God is also holy. He told Moses, “You cannot see my face, for no one may see me and live” (Exodus 33:20). Do we think intimacy with God is an inalienable right rather than an indescribable gift? We are not holy and perfect. We need to realize that there is nothing amazing about grace unless there is something fearful about holiness.
The need for a mediator
All people, including the nicest people we know, need a mediator in order to approach a holy God. If we wish to approach God, we need a perfect human life, not just our best attempts. We need a Savior.
So God provided one. Jesus came into this world and showed us who God is. Jesus showed us that God is holy by taking all the sins that separate
us from God and paying for them on the cross. Jesus showed us that God is love because he won forgiveness and eternal life for us.
In the temple, a thick curtain separated the people from the place that symbolized God’s presence. The message was clear: Sinful people cannot stand in the presence of a holy God! When Jesus died, that temple curtain ripped in two from top to bottom. Why? Because our sins are gone.
Jesus is the way into God’s presence. In fact, Jesus calls himself “the way and the truth and the life” (John 14:6).
Only one way
Do you know what separates Christianity from every other world religion? Every other religion teaches that we must do good things in order to appease God.
Christianity teaches that we do good things because God is appeased. On the one hand, Christianity is exclusive in how we get to God. On the other hand, it is entirely inclusive in who can come to God. It even includes you, me, and your neighbor who does not believe in God.
So what do you want to do? Love your neighbor, be a friend to him, and listen to what he has to say. Then invite him to hear about Jesus, the only way to heaven. It is a wonderful blessing when God blesses us with good neighbors for this life. It is an even greater blessing to have neighbors for all eternity in heaven!
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