That’s intolerant! That is a phrase I’ve heard numerous times when sharing the gospel or when I’ve been asked if there is more than one way to get to heaven.
Our culture doesn’t like exclusive claims, especially when religion is involved. So when Christians claim that salvation can only be found in Christ that makes people bristle.
The late R.C. Sproul in his book Reason to Believe: A Response to Common Objections to Christianity said something very insightful.
Moses could meditate on the law; Muhammad could brandish a sword; Buddha could give personal counsel; Confucius could offer wise sayings; but none of these men was qualified to offer an atonement for the sins of the world…. Christ alone is worthy of unlimited devotion and service.
This view was not popular in 1982 when Sproul’s book was published and it is still not popular, but it is the truth regardless. When it comes to the exclusivity of Christianity (By the way, Christianity is not the only religion that claims exclusivity), Jesus said, “I am the way, and the truth, and and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me,” (John 14:6, ESV).
I guess Jesus was being intolerant too.
Jesus knew his sacrifice was necessary because our sin separates us from a holy God, (Isaiah 59:2). Everyone of us (including Moses, Mohammed, Buddha, and Confucius) have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, (Romans 3:23). The penalty for our sin is eternal death, (Romans 6:23).
Who can come to God? Only perfect people and no one measures us. This is why we can’t earn our way to heaven. We can’t possibly do enough to make up for our sin and measure up.
Jesus can boldly proclaim that the only path to God the Father is through him, because only he alone was and is perfect in order to pay the penalty necessary for our sin. As Sproul said, only Christ could atone for our sin. Moses, Mohammed, Buddha, and Confucius didn’t die for our sins and even if they did they were not perfect so it would have been ineffective. In fact, when they finally did die, they stayed dead, but Jesus is alive.
The wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is Jesus (Romans 6:23) who died for our sin. In fact, Jesus who knew no sin because He was perfect became sin on the cross taking on the full punishment that we deserve so that we can put on his perfection, his righteousness and be able to come to God the Father, (2 Corinthians 5:21; Romans 3:25).
Because of this, as Sproul notes, only Christ is worthy of our unlimited devotion and service.