[ecko_quote source="John 14:6"]Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me[/ecko_quote]
While I was doing my theology at the University of Auckland as part of a course, I have to complete a compulsory paper titled “Jesus the Christ”. My professor gave me an assignment in this paper and the assignment question was “Discuss how Jesus is the only way – chose an inclusive or exclusive faith perspective”. For your clarity, I will explain these approaches briefly. An exclusive faith emphasises certainty and complete commitment to what is regarded as “the one true” perspective, with the ultimate goal to achieve a uniquely sacred value, such as eternal salvation. In general, “strict” religions tend to be more exclusive, such as many conservatives. In contrast, an inclusive approach emphasises a recognition of uncertainty and thus an openness to different perspectives. More liberal religions often tend to be more inclusive. In a nutshell, the exclusive faith perspective is Jesus is the only way to heaven. On the other hand, the inclusive faith perspective, Jesus is one of the ways to heaven.
Without a shadow of a doubt, I chose an exclusive approach and built up my discussion with the support of Scripture portions and available literature on this approach. I have made an excellent contribution so expected a really good grade. When I received my assignment back after the marking, I was shocked to know I have got C- grade and the professor advised me to reconsider my approach. He asked me to keep my faith perspective to myself. I was utterly disappointed not with the grade but the perception in the academic circle concerning the interpretation of the word of God. Praise God; I did not reconsider my faith perspective, but it became stronger in my approach over the years. I pray every believer should have a revelation from the Spirit of God in the matter of “who is Jesus”. Jesus once asked his disciples saying, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is? In reply Peter answered and said, You are the Christ, the Son of the living God. Jesus answered and said to him, "Blessed are you, Simon, Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but “My Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 16:13-17). We cannot get this revelation from our academic study but a fellowship with the Holy Spirit. Now I don't believe anymore that Jesus is the only way, I KNOW it. When you know this, no need arises to believing.
I knew what I'd trust and have been speaking openly that Jesus is the only way to heaven. I believe in the word of God and the Holy Spirit’s ministry in a believer's life. Jesus is the only way to heaven for several reasons. Jesus was “chosen by God” to be the Saviour of this World (1 Peter 2:4). Jesus is the only one to have come down from heaven and returned there (John 3:13). He is the only person to have lived a perfect human life (Hebrews 4:15). He is the only sacrifice for sin (1 John 2:2; Hebrews 10:26). He alone fulfilled the Law and the Prophets (Matthew 5:17). He is the only man to have conquered death forever (Hebrews 2:14–15). He is the only Mediator between God and man (1 Timothy 2:5). He is the only man whom God has “exalted . . . To the highest place” (Philippians 2:9).
Jesus spoke of Himself as the only way to heaven in several places besides John 14:6. He presented Himself as the object of faith in Matthew 7:21–27. He said His words are life (John 6:63). He promised that those who believe in Him will have eternal life (John 3:14–15). He is the gate of the sheep (John 10:7); the bread of life (John 6:35); and the resurrection (John 11:25). No one else can rightly claim those titles. In fact, truly no one ever claimed these titles.
However, I do not believe in being critical on other faiths but pray that the Holy Spirit God may enlighten their understanding and draw them near to one true God. Our job is to present the gospel, and He will draw the people unto Himself. We have to love them and be compassionate towards them and show them the Love of God. Through our deeds, people may praise our God and come to Him.
At one point in Jesus’ ministry, many of the crowd were turning their backs on Him and leaving in hopes of finding another saviour. Jesus asked the Twelve, “Do you want to go away as well?” (John 6:67, ESV). Peter’s reply is on point: “Lord, to whom we shall go? You have the words of eternal life, and we have believed and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God” (John 6:68–69, ESV). May we all share this faith that eternal life resides only in Jesus Christ.