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The Way, the Truth, and the Life

A Word for Today | John 14:6

In an age that values tolerance above all virtues, Christianity is seen as the ultimate intolerant religion.  According to the New Testament, the source of this intolerance is not the orneriness of Christians but rather the exclusive claims of Christ Himself.  More clearly than anywhere else, Jesus said: “I am the way, and the truth, and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through me.” Jesus’ assertion is the sixth of His “I am” claims in the Gospel of John.  In each of them, our Lord uses the word “the” instead of “a.”  Jesus is “the bread of life,” “the light of the world,” and “the door” of salvation.  Each of these statements is radically exclusive, asserting that none but Jesus can save us from sin, bring us to God and grant us eternal life.

When Jesus said that He is “the way,” He meant that sinners may come into heaven only through the ministry of reconciliation for which He came.  Jesus is the way because God in His grace has provided for sinners to be justified through faith in the blood of His Son.  Skip Ryan tells of once attending a meeting at the White House, after which he was invited to see the Oval Office.  He later reflected that he could not possibly have entered the Oval Office unless he was taken there by someone authorized to bring him.[1]  But heaven is a far more exclusive place than the Oval Office!  People wrongly assume that simply by dying they will enter into heaven, but Jesus insists that He alone is “the way.”

Jesus is also the “truth” and the “life” for those who will be saved.  A great part of man’s lost condition is our ignorance of God.  But Jesus reveals the truth of God and salvation, since He says, “Whoever has seen me has seen the Father” (Jn. 14:9).  Moreover, since “the wages of sin is death” (Rom. 6:23), our great need is Jesus, who is “the life.”  How great is God’s gift of life through His Son!  “I have come that they may have life and have it abundantly,” Jesus claimed (Jn. 10:10).  John began his Gospel, claiming, “In him was life, and the life was the light of men” (Jn. 1:4). 

So it is true that Christianity is an exclusive religion that is intolerant of other claims to salvation.  But what a salvation the gospel offers!  As “the way,” Jesus will lead us into heaven.  As “the truth,” He will free us of the darkness of ignorance toward God.  And as He is “the life,” Jesus will grant us entry into heaven and we will know an increasing measure of life as we draw nearer to Him. 

In Christ’s Love,

Pastor Phillips

[1] Joseph “Skip” Ryan, That You May Believe (Wheaton: Crossway, 2003), 301-302.

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