Do All Paths Lead to God?1
If there is anything clear in God’s Word it is that Jesus Christ is the only way to the Father. This is not a popular assertion, as it strikes many as arrogant and exclusivistic. But there it is in John 14:6 – “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” Continue reading . . .
If there is anything clear in God’s Word it is that Jesus Christ is the only way to the Father. This is not a popular assertion, as it strikes many as arrogant and exclusivistic. But there it is in John 14:6 – “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
Jesus is the “way” to God precisely because he alone embodies and tells the “truth” about who God is and what is needed to be reconciled to him. He alone embodies the true and consummate revelation of the Father.
When Jesus says that reconciliation to the Father comes only “through me” we must define what he means in light of the broader context of John’s gospel. And everywhere in John we are told over and over again that you must believe in Jesus. You must trust him alone. You must look to his work on the cross as your only hope. For example:
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).
“Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God” (John 3:18).
“Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him” (John 3:36).
“Jesus said to them, ‘I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst’” (John 6:35).
“Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water’” (John 7:38).
“Jesus said to her [to Martha], ‘I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die’” (John 11:25-26; see also 12:46 and 17:20).
That’s what it means to come to the Father “through” the Son. It means you believe Jesus is who he said he is and that what he will do on the cross for sinners is the only hope you have for forgiveness of sins.
But might there be other pathways to the Father? Why is there only one? We don’t deserve any pathway to the Father, much less one. The fact that God has provided any way at all through his Son is a miracle of divine mercy.
But won’t other religions do the same thing? Can’t we climb the same mountain but by a different road? Can’t we arrive at the same destination but by different means of transportation: some by car, some on foot, some by plane, others by bus? No. There is only one way, the way that God himself has ordained.
So note well: Jesus does not point us to the way or describe for us how to get there. He does not show the way. He is the way.
That he is the truth means that those who search for truth apart from Christ are destined for failure and will only find what is false. Jesus is not one of multiple, equally valid and effective ways to the Father. He does not just have some truth. He is truth. He does not direct them where they might find eternal life. He is life.
Why, then, when our hearts are troubled, should we believe Jesus (John 14:1)? The answer is simple: because he and he alone is the way to the Father; he and he alone is the embodiment of ultimate and unassailable truth; he and he alone is life itself. To know and trust him is to live. All else is death.