Continuing to bring clarity to the cultural issues our world has clouded, we now turn to the exclusivity of Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.
This is distinctive Christian claim—that only Jesus is able to save people from their sins; that Jesus is unique in His person (being the sinless, eternal God in human flesh) and matchless in His work (living the perfect life God demands from all people, dying a substitutionary death because of sin, and enduring the wrath of God against sin for all who will come to Him in faith and repentance).
This is the claim that all other religions (except for true Christianity) are false religions, possessing powerless gospels, hopeless in their message, bankrupt in their promises, and satanic in their nature.
We live in an inclusive world, a world that exalts religious variety and diversity and acceptance.
Our Inclusive World
The co-exist bumper sticker summarizes our pluralistic society best – a culture that champions the idea that there are multiple paths to God and many ways to heaven.
The thought of the day is that God possesses of a variety of names. To the Muslim – he is Allah. To the Buddhist – he is a whole pantheon of gods. Add to that the gods of the Hindu faith and the New Age religions. And on and on the list can go.
The idea is that the name of God doesn’t matter because in the end they are all the same anyway. The thought that God is too complex and mysterious for any one religion to contain and define Him.
This cultural inclusivism was perhaps seen most visibly on January 18, 2009 when Gene Robinson, the Episcopal bishop of New Hampshire, stood in front of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C. and opened his inaugural prayer with these words, “O god of our many understandings.”
In the words of a millennial blogger, “God, Allah, Yahweh, the Creator, the One, the Energies, goes by as many names in this country as ever….I do believe that God is in everyone, though by what name he resides that seems to me to be up to the person in question.”
The Inclusive Church
Yet shockingly, this God-of-many-names gospel has seeped into the American church.
In a 2008 survey – 52% of professing American Christians said they believed that at least some non-Christian faiths lead to eternal life.
To the statement, “Many religions can lead to eternal life,” 80% of the participants named at least one non-Christian religion that could save the sinner from his sins.
Just this past year, a professor at Wheaton College made the jaw-dropping statement that the Muslim god is the same as the Christian God.
She wrote, “I think that Muslims and Christians who embrace the normative traditions of their faith refer to the same object, to the same Being, when they pray, when they worship, when they talk about God. The referent is the same.”
One very well-known Christian evangelist has even been quoted as saying, “I used to be believe that pagans in far countries were lost if they did not have the gospel of Christ preached to them. I no longer believe that.”
One theologian, looking at the religious culture here in America summarized it this way, “Are the moral adherents of the African traditional religions, virtuous Hindus, and Buddhists really outside a salvific relationship to God? Do Muslims and Jews—who know the God of Abraham and follow His commands—need to hear the Gospel? No other issue is so defining of the contemporary religious landscape.”
This is the issue of our day. Is Christ the exclusive Savior from sin? Is Jesus unique? Is His cross necessary?
The Exclusive Savior
Contrary to popular opinion, an exclusive Savior is exactly what the Bible teaches. And an exclusive Gospel is exactly what the Bible calls us to believe and proclaim.
John 8:24 – “24 Unless you believe that I am He, you will die in your sins.”
John 14:6 – “6 Jesus said…‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.’”
Acts 4:12 – “12 There is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven, there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.”
Romans 3:23 – “23 For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus.”
1 Timothy 1:15 – “15 It is a trustworthy statement, deserving full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.”
1 Timothy 2:5 – “5 For there is one God, and one mediator…between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.”
Mark 8:38 – “38 Whoever is ashamed of Me and My Words…the Son of Man will also be ashamed of him when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels” (Mk 8:38),
Add to these verses, Acts 17:30-31 and Romans 5:17-19 9and many other. The biblical testimony is clear. Jesus alone saves from sin.
The Bible is not shy about the uniqueness, and supremacy, and exclusive nature of Jesus Christ. It makes no apology for its narrowness. And neither should we.