Several years ago, while touring ancient biblical sites in Turkey, I met a self-proclaimed “liberal” ordained “Christian” minister. I asked what he meant by “liberal” and he suggested I ask him about a doctrinal issue.
By MAO from Paris, FRANCE (2007 – London – Westminster), via Wikimedia Commons
So I brought up the topic of Jesus’ virgin birth. His response was that he didn’t believe it. Then he volunteered that he didn’t believe that Jesus is the only way to heaven. He sounded as though he even found that idea offensive.
He is not alone—many who call themselves Christians want to think that all “good” people, no matter what they believe, go to heaven.
But what did Jesus say?
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6 ESV)
Many other passages affirm the same teaching. For example, Peter made this truth abundantly clear:
“And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12 ESV)
Romans 10 makes it clear that to be saved, people must hear the Gospel and believe: “For ‘everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’ How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!’” (Romans 10:13-15 ESV)
Despite the clear teaching of these passages, people still want to believe that all roads lead to heaven. Therefore, I would like to share with you,
6 reasons why all roads DON’T lead to heaven:
1) The Supreme Ruler of the universe says clearly that Jesus is the only way.
Scripture does not indicate any other way. It says clearly that faith in Christ is the ONLY way to heaven.
As the creator of the universe and Supreme Authority, God makes the rules, not us. His Word is the final word on this subject.
If we reject biblical teaching, we in effect try to “write” our own Scripture that says what we want. The result is a confusing array of your bible, my bible, his bible, her bible and millions of other people’s bibles. We thereby try to make ourselves gods. Big mistake.
We humans are incredibly underqualified for the job of Almighty God!
“For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil.” (John 3:17-19 ESV)
2) If all roads lead to heaven, then Christianity is not meaningful.
If we reject Scripture and believe that by simply being “good” people can go to heaven, then we totally undermine Christianity. Believing other roads can lead to heaven rejects the sacrifice of Christ on the cross for our sins, rejects the Bible, rejects the need to share our faith, and rejects the need for worldwide Christian missions.
The Bible tells us God sent His Son Jesus Christ; not Buddha, Muhammad, Confucius or any other.
Jesus said, “But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.” (Matthew 7:14)
3) If all roads lead to heaven, all true believers in Christ are fools.
Tens of thousands of martyrs have died for the belief that Jesus is the only Way. But if other roads can lead to heaven, those people were absolute fools, as were the apostles, as was Jesus Himself.
Scripture says Christ died a horrific death on the cross in our place, for our sins, to pay our penalty and allow us to enter heaven—something we could not do for ourselves. If you believe other roads lead to heaven, by implication you call Jesus a fool, a fake and even a liar.
“For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit.” (1 Peter 3:18 ESV)
4) Believing all roads lead to heaven disregards God’s holiness and the purity of heaven.
We’ve all made mistakes which the Bible calls sin. Sin separates us from God.
“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23)
Sin, no matter how “small” is intolerable to God and incompatible with heaven. Any sin would ruin heaven, for the essence of heaven is the pure presence of God and the absence of ALL sin, evil, and the resulting suffering. That’s what makes heaven heavenly.
To introduce any impurity into heaven destroys it.
“Your eyes are too pure to look on evil; you cannot tolerate wrongdoing.” (Habakkuk 1:13).
Jesus, who is God the Son, is the only One who could die for our sins and pay the price to bring us to heaven. No matter how good we may be, we have all done wrongs or sins. Those sins cannot be in heaven—we must be forgiven via being “born again” through Christ. (see John 3:1-21)
5) Believing all roads lead to heaven mocks God’s justice.
Scripture teaches that God is completely just:
“The LORD is a mighty rock, and he never does wrong. God can always be trusted to bring justice.” (Deuteronomy 32:4 CEV)
No child or teenager fully understands his or her parent’s ways: they question, complain, cajole and rebel. Similarly we might not understand all God’s ways—no human being can. We are too far beneath Him to understand. As the old TV show pointed out, “Father Knows Best.”
To us, it might not seem fair that Jesus is the only way. Yet that is the clear teaching of Scripture. It is foolish to accuse God of being unjust and reject this clear teaching as “unfair.”
6) Believing all roads lead to heaven rejects God’s inconceivable love.
Scripture says clearly that “God is love.” (1 John 4:8b)
Do we think we are more loving than God and therefore must deny His Word and say that all roads lead to heaven?
In fact, God made the greatest sacrifice for love: “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8)
Ironically, rejecting Jesus’ sacrifice as the only way doesn’t make God more loving; it would in fact make Him less loving, because it undermines the indescribable gift of Christ’s suffering for our sins.
In fact, God’s inexpressible love causes Him to desperately desire and wait patiently for everyone to be saved—including you!:
“The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” (2 Peter 3:9)
Question: Have you responded to Jesus love? What other thoughts do you have on this subject? Please share your thoughts below.
I wrote a follow-up article on this topic. Here it is: Five Questions for Those Who Think Many Roads Lead to Heaven