Is Jesus Christ the only way to be saved from one’s sins and enter heaven?
Is Jesus Christ the only way to God? What about those who have never heard the gospel of Jesus Christ and died? Are they going to hell? Are their sins forgiven in another way? If the Israelites were forgiven for their sins in the Old Testament before Jesus died for the sins of the world, could it be that other people’s sins will be forgiven today as well if they have not heard of Jesus Christ? And if that is the case, can we still say Jesus is the only way to God?
These difficult questions have puzzled many and led many to conclude that there must be other ways to God as well. But what does the New Testament say about these things? In John 14:6 Jesus said: “I am the way, the truth and the life, no one comes to the Father (God) but by Me”. In Acts 4:12 it is written: “Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved”. It is written in 1 Timothy 2:5;” for there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Jesus Christ who gave Himself a ransom for all.” It is written in 1 John 5:11,12:” …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.” In these passages of the New Testament (and there are others) God has made it clear that Jesus Christ is the only way to receive eternal life. He is the only way to the Father. There is salvation in no one else. He is the only Mediator between God and Man. He is the only one who died for the sins of the world and who bore God’s wrath because of our sins (1 John 2:1,2). Never was there a Man like Him. He was without sin (2 Cor: 5:21); God in the flesh (John 1:1-3,14).
You may ask what about those who never heard the gospel and those in the Old Testament who only had the promises of a coming Saviour? In the Old Testament people were saved based on the promise of the coming Saviour and the blood (death) of sheep and goats were only types and shadows of the real blood of Jesus that would take away sins. They were saved based on the promises of God and the Christ that would die because of their sins.
But what about those who never heard the gospel? If you have time, read the letter of Romans Chapters 1-3. That will give you an in-depth view of the matter. All we can say of those people who did not have a promise of the Savior and who died without hearing the gospel is that God is just, holy and loving. God will see to it. We do not know.
What we do know is this: Acts 17: 30,31 “these times of ignorance God has overlooked, but NOW commands all men everywhere to repent, because He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained. He has given assurance of this to all by raising Him from the dead”. Mark 16:15 says: “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every person.” Why should we preach the gospel to every person? We should because there is no other way to heaven. We should because God commands it. We should because God has overlooked the times of ignorance when people served other gods, but NOW God has ordained a Man by whom we will be saved if we believe in Him (John 3:16.) No one will go to hell because he/she did not hear about Jesus, they will go to hell because of unrepentant sin, because of willful, continual rebellion against a God who loved them, whom they rejected (Romans 1,2). People go to hell because they hate God and his laws! They will be sentenced to go to hell because they stand guilty before God on charges of treason against the King of the Universe.
Do we have any warrant NOW to believe that people will go to heaven without embracing Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord? We do not have a warrant from the New Testament. God commands his followers to preach the gospel (Mark 16:15) to every person, to witness about Him to the ends of the earth (Acts 1:8), to make disciples of all ethnic groups (Matt 28:18-20). What about you friend? Are you involved in praying to God and witnessing for God to see His enterprise fulfilled? More importantly: Are we part of those band of followers who worship the Lamb, who are saved from our sins? Whose names are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life? (Rev 20:15)
Woe to us, if we are saved from our sins, but saved for comfort, ease, and indifference to the lost (Rev 3:14-18). May God get us out of our comfort zones and busy fulfilling His Great Commission, going into all the world, spreading the good news, until the last trumpet sounds (1 Cor 15:50-54). May He find our lamps burning bright, filled with the Holy Spirit and faith awaiting the Bridegroom.
Matthew 10:32,33 “Whoever confesses Me before men I will confess him before My Father in heaven, but whoever denies Me before men I will deny him before My Father who is in heaven” May God help us.
Philippians: 1:6 “He who began a good work in you will finish it.”