If we are to return to God, we must go in and by and through Jesus Christ. We must go in and by and through Jesus Christ alone. He demands exclusivity. We cannot use Jesus to hedge our bets, adding a little Jesus to our own efforts or to another guru or deity. We cannot use Jesus as a preferred way while allowing others to follow their own ways, their own paths. For Jesus is not a way, but the way—the only way there is, the only way there ever has been, the only way there ever will be.
It is a bold claim we Christians make, a claim that puts us at odds with the great majority of people on this earth. Our claim is that, by the grace of God, we’ve got it right and they’ve got it wrong, that we know the way to be made right with God and they do not. This grand claim is not built upon anything we are or anything we’ve done but solely upon who God is and what God has done.
Some charge that this exclusive claim is unjust, unkind, unfair, un-humble. We insist it represents reality as God has revealed it. This bold claim is built upon several others, all of them exclusive in their own way.
There is one God. This is the most foundational claim, that in all the universe there is but one God, one supreme, uppercase God who created this world, owns this world, and who maintains supremacy over it. “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one” (Deuteronomy 6:4). There are many competitors, many pretenders, but they are, at best, lowercase gods, perversions of what God created as good and very good. There is “one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all” (Ephesians 4:4-6).
There is one humanity. This one God created one humanity. He created one man and one woman from whom all of us are descended both physically and spiritually. He created these people perfect and watched as they rebelled. He created them for fellowship with him, but saw them resist, run, alienate themselves. We carry their DNA in every cell of our bodies and we carry their depravity in our every part—our bodies, souls, and minds. When it comes to our descent and its consequences, there is no distinction: “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). The one God rules in such a way that all are accountable to him, to acknowledge him and to submit to his rule. “So then each of us will give an account of himself to God” (Romans 14:12). There is one humanity, fallen into woeful futility, facing the terrible judgment of God.
There is one way. This God has not deserted us, despite our parentage and despite our actions.