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|One Way To Heaven?||04/17/2009|
The underlying intent is an accusation that the person with conviction is condemning others to a pit of destruction. This is, of course, a difficult position for Christians because we do not believe that eternal consequences are a human judgment. We don't decide who goes to heaven and we know that it is not our role to sit on the judgment seat. That is reserved for God alone. So it is out of place for us to tell someone, "You're going to hell!"
At the same time, the answer concerning eternity and the way to heaven was clearly declared by the person who claimed to be the Son of God. Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me." (John 14:6) He also had the audacity to say, "Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father!" (John 14:9)
Was this arrogance on the part of Jesus? Was He out of his mind to assert there is no way to God or heaven except through Him?
The apostle Paul, who had a head-on collision with this transforming personality, declared, "For there is only one God and one Mediator who can reconcile God and humanity--the man Christ Jesus." (1 Timothy 2:5)
The disciples and early Christians believed that Jesus Christ was the promised Messiah, which meant that He was the only one who could reunite man and God after the corruption of humanity through sin. Many of the early believers died because of this narrow view. But it wasn't hatred or dogma that drove their unflinching message--quite the opposite. It was their divinely-inspired love for non-believers that compelled them to steadfastly proclaim the singular lordship of Jesus Christ.
Let's say you are traveling a road and an arrow indicates it is a one-way highway. I would see this not only as important information, but as a sign of security and safety, giving us clear direction and enhancing our future well-being. Suppose others said, "Why should we have to go that way on that road? What if we want to go another way?" The result would not only be chaotic, but catastrophic.
The One who said, "I am the way to heaven," also said the majority travel on the wrong road, going the wrong direction, heading to the wrong destination. Jesus said, "You can enter God's Kingdom only through the narrow gate. The highway to hell is broad, and its gate is wide for the many who choose that way. But the gateway to life is very narrow and the road is difficult, and only a few ever find it." (Matthew 7:13-14) On numerous occasions, Jesus boldly pointed out the fact that He is that narrow way to eternal life.
His claim was met with such a response that He was not only cursed, but crucified--all while asking His Father to forgive those who were killing him, because they were obviously under the control of another power. This power is referred to as "darkness" and "deception". But how fervently those in darkness defend it and how forcefully they speak that which is untrue as though it is the truth! No one has ever liked being told that their way might not be the right way, but Jesus said, "I am the way."
So what about all of the people who don't believe Jesus' words? Even his judge Pilate in a trial said, "I find no fault in this man" (Luke 23:4), but they crucified him anyway...and yet He offered forgiveness! This is the man who said there is only one way to heaven, so I not only stand by what He said, but I also stand on what He said. That makes me a believer, but not a judge. If there was only one cure for a deadly disease, surely we would not criticize someone or consider them unkind if they lovingly pointed us to that certain cure.
Jesus said the words that He speaks will judge us and that we will be measured according to God's eternal truth. God is always just and merciful. As surely as every parent would want to know the cure for his or her child's deadly disease, our loving Father offers us the perfect cure. He not only offers an escape from death, but He also offers life itself. He grants more than forgiveness, hope and the way to heaven; He actually creates some of heaven's ways in us as we walk on this earth. His will can be accomplished in us right now, in this lifetime, with His help.
Those of us who proclaim a one-way street are simply reading the signs. We want everyone to safely arrive at heaven's gate. It should never be with unkindness, harshness or judgmentalism that we point the way to eternal life. We should simply testify to the words of Jesus. He laid down his life to pay our debt and pave the way to abundant life now and forever. As Christians, we shouldn't want anyone to miss heaven, especially if it's because of any un-Christlike presentation of the Good News. Quoting Jesus, in love, is always appropriate. It's not our word we are sharing, it's His.
Author: James Robison
Editor: Randy Robison
Word Count: 953
About the author: James Robison is the founder and president of LIFE Outreach International, a Christian media ministry and mission relief organization. He and his wife, Betty, host of the television program Life Today; He has authored numerous books, including The Soul of a Nation, The Absolutes: Freedom's Only Hope and True Prosperity.
Media Contact: Randy Robison, editor at jamesrobison.net . Photo available upon request. Reprint rights granted with attribution for complete, unedited article. Revisions allowed only with approval.