More often than I’d like to admit, I’ve heard Christians say that though Jesus is the only way to heaven, “we wish there were some other way.” Usually this seems to come up when Christians are asked questions about what will happen to “good people” from other religions or folks who don’t believe in anything at all. And even though we believe that there is no other way, by giving this sort of a response we act as if we are apologetic about this fact, as if we are apologizing on God’s behalf for a terrible inconvenience or injustice, as if we are somehow ashamed that God is so “intolerant” as to not make salvation a fill-in-the-blank answer that is graded on a curve.
But, dear friends, such thinking is influenced more by our culture than the Word of God. Isn’t it demeaning to God to act as if there could be some other way but that since He is so exclusive, His preferences are keeping people from heaven? The heart issue is that many in our society like to think of themselves as the true authority and believe that – to their way of thinking – any god who does exist should reflect our culture’s current ideas about tolerance and acceptance. But who are we to say that there even should be another way to heaven? Is not the God of the Bible the Creator and Sustainer of all things (Hebrews 1:1-4)? Is it not He who promises salvation to all who believe based upon His own goodness (Hebrews 4:1)? Isn’t it He who has sent His Son as our High Priest to atone for our sins (Hebrews 2:17)? And all of this was done out of God’s love – none of it was required of Him.
Instead, we should be praising God for His plans – it is a wondrous thing that God has made a way for us to join Him in heaven and we should be glad for it as a wonderful working out of His purposes in history. We should be absolutely unapologetic about this fact. It is to God’s glory that He has chosen but a single way for people to come into a proper salvation relationship with Himself and we would do well to respect, celebrate, and honor what the Father has planned since the beginning, what the Son died and rose again to secure, and what the Holy Spirit applies to the hearts of God’s people: our salvation for His glory and our everlasting joy.