God provided a way for us to be forgiven of our sins and be seen as righteous before Him. The Scriptures make it clear that the way is through Jesus Christ and Christ alone. While this is an exclusionary message, that does not make it wrong.
The Father loves the Son and has given all things into his hand. Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him. – John 3:35-36, ESV
There are a lot of things in our lives that are exclusionary. I may want to say I’m a member of the New York Yankees, but I’m not. I’m not employed by that storied franchise. I may want to say that I’m a member of the US Senate, but I’m not. I’ve not been elected or chosen to that role. I may even want to say that I’m a member of (insert community group here), but unless I’ve completed the requirements to be a member of whatever community group you thought of, I’m not a member. I’m excluded in all 3 cases because I didn’t meet the requirements. Whether or not I like that status is irrelevant. I am not a part of those groups.
To be saved, one must believe in Jesus Christ. However, intellectual belief is not enough. James reminded us that even demons believe in Jesus (James 2:19). However, though they knew Jesus is real and that He is the Son of God, that knowledge did not lead them to obedience (they still chose rebellion against God). This belief in Jesus in us must be beyond what’s in our heads. It must lead us to obedience. It must take us to love Him greater than any other love. It must carry us to a point where He is always first.
Nothing else works. There is no other way. There is no other path. Jesus made this clear later in John’s Gospel (John 14:6-7). John states it clearly here. If we tell people anything else, whether we wish to avoid confrontations or because we don’t want to hurt feelings, we are not sharing the Scriptures in a truthful way. The hard truth is we are doing folks harm if we imply or state that one could be forgiven and redeemed by God in any other way than by His Son.
Another important truth that we often forget is that if we claim there are other ways than through Jesus, what we are also saying is that Jesus’ sacrifice on the Cross was unnecessary. We call into question His judgment. In doing so we unwittingly attempt to tarnish His glory. Also, for the sake of a better relation with another man or woman we set ourselves at odds with God. We choose them over Him. In short, we sin deeply when we do not share that He is the only way.
Let us be unashamed of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, just as Paul wrote (Romans 1:16-17). Let us share it with gentleness and love. Let us be compassionate with the message of forgiveness, because it was given to us with compassion. It is a tender, loving message. It is a love letter from God to us. Let us treat it as such and extend it to others in the same way. Jesus is the only way, so let us give others this message in the same way as it is intended: with a sacrificial love that puts the other person ahead of ourselves.