How can Jesus be the only way to get to God when there are so many other sincere religious people in
The exclusivity of Jesus as the only way to God is the great stumbling stone of Christianity (Matthew 21:42) It runs counter to most world religions, with their sincere belief that all paths lead to God. People may be going up different trails, they say, but everybody is climbing the same mountain. This popular and appealing notion is held by many but it is crushed by the weight of New Testament evidence.
Jesus’ statement in John 14:6 is the clearest affirmation of his exclusive identity, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me”. The apostles would later make a similar claim in their early preaching in Jerusalem, “There is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved (Acts 4:12).
Jesus’ absolute claims make total sense in the light of the entire Christian story.
Would the Father send the Son to die a horrific death for the sins of the world if there was another way to redeem humanity? No.
Would the Father send the Son for the Jews only? No.
Would the Gentiles get some other savior or would they be left out entirely?
Those who deny the exclusivity of Jesus as the way to God don’t understand the broad biblical picture regarding the holiness of God and the sinfulness of human beings. Most believe that religious works which promote morality and devotion is pleasing to the Creator, no matter what form they take.
Paul paints an entirely different picture of the human condition. In Romans1, he describes the idolatry found in the religions of the world as a false substitute for acceptable worship; it is a suppression of God’s truth clearly revealed in creation (Romans 1:18-24). Humans are spiritually dead (Ephesians 2:1). Paul makes it very clear that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).
Jesus’ Great Commission (Matthew 28:18) and the missionary urgency of his disciples is based on the proposition that all are lost and need to hear the Gospel proclaimed before they can be saved (Romans 10:10-14).
God’s has revealed the terms of our salvation. He is willing to forgive our rebellion and restore us back into his family with all of its benefits (Ephesians 2:4-7). Those who refuse God’s terms for a full pardon, a clemency gained by the death of His Son, must forfeit their own lives for their sins.
Paul speaks very clearly in II Thessalonians 1:8-9, “He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the majesty of his power.