Being a Christian in today’s cultural context takes courage and commitment. When we are talking with friends, relatives and neighbors about something as personal as what will happen to them after they die, it can sound strange and offensive to them that Jesus is the only way to heaven.
We Expect Certainty
But it will help us hold firm to our convictions if we remember that each of us frequently trusts other people to have absolute certainty about life-or-death situations.
A pharmacist must have absolute certainty about the pills that he or she is dispensing. I have a severe penicillin allergy, and a pharmacist giving me the wrong medicine could not only hospitalize me, it could cost me my life.
An engineer must have absolute certainty about every centimeter of a bridge that he or she is planning. A bridge on an interstate over a large river near our former home collapsed due to an engineering error. Two cars plunged into the river, cars piled up as they slammed on their brakes to avoid going in the water and several people almost died.
A surgeon must have absolute certainty of what he or she is doing, especially before operating on a vital organ like your heart! Just imagine your response if your doctor explained, “I think that I know how to do this heart surgery. It just feels right – to me, anyway.”
An explosives expert in the military who is deployed in the Middle East must have absolute certainty about which wires to cut.
Given that we have no problem understanding that people need to have certainty in these life-or-death situations, we should not be surprised that Jesus says that He is THE way, THE truth and THE life, and no one comes to the Father but through Him (John 14:6). Since Jesus claims to be the God-man come from heaven to bring us eternal life, it makes sense that He is certain about who He is and clear that He is the only way to heaven.
We Must Convey Certainty
As Christians, we need to be clear that we have are absolutely certain of who Jesus is and what He has done for us. Our family and friends may reject Jesus for themselves, but we need to communicate that we believe He is the only Savior. It’s the very least we can do for them.
The examples of people who need to be certain about their jobs are, in fact, a poor parallel to our certainty about Jesus. We know that pharmacists, engineers, surgeons and explosive experts do sometimes make mistakes. After all, they are only human. But Jesus is not only human.
We can have absolute confidence in Him both for our eternal salvation and as the only hope for our yet unbelieving family and friends. As John the Apostle explained, “And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know Him who is true; and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life.” (1 John 5:20)
Tim Counts is the pastor of Northshire Baptist Church in Manchester Center, VT, and serves on the BCNE Board of Directors. He blogs regularly at He Must Become Greater, and you can follow him on Twitter @timothycounts.