How the New Testament Answers the Exclusivity Question

All Scripture is inspired by God.
–2 Timothy 3:16

What about people around the world who have rejected their knowledge of Jesus Christ and chosen another path to heaven? Is there salvation for them? Jesus answered that question. In John 14:6, He said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.” Jesus also answered that question by His example. Think about this: His example on the cross, the horrific suffering He endured, forever shut the door on pluralism. If there is some other way to be saved other than through Jesus Christ, why did Jesus go through that horrific physical and spiritual suffering on the cross? He did that because there is no other way to heaven except through the death of Jesus Christ.

What does the rest of the New Testament say about this subject? What did Peter, John, and the apostle Paul teach about this issue of exclusivity? Before we look at what the New Testament says about exclusivity, we need to understand that the rest of the New Testament is just as inspired as the words of Jesus Christ. The words of Paul and the words of Peter are just as inspired as the words of Jesus Christ.

A few years ago, I appeared on Bill Maher’s “Real Time” program on HBO. He asked me how I could reconcile my belief in capital punishment with the teaching of Jesus who told us to turn the other cheek. I said, “Jesus was talking about personal offenses, but in Romans 13 the Bible says God has given government the power of the sword to avenge evildoers.” Bill interrupted, “But Paul wrote that, not Jesus.” And I said, “Yes, but Paul’s words in the Bible were just as inspired as Jesus’s words.” Bill let out this falsetto “Whaaaaaat?” and the audience howled with laughter. I continued, “That’s right, Bill. Remember both Jesus’s and Paul’s words are all found in the same book.” We believe all of the Bible is inspired by God.

Somebody will protest, “When Paul wrote, ‘All Scripture is inspired by God’ in 2 Timothy 3:16, he was talking about the Old Testament. All the Old Testament Scripture is inspired by God. The New Testament wasn’t written at that time.” That’s not true. Second Timothy was one of the last letters to be written. Most of the New Testament had already been written. Interestingly, in 1 Timothy 5:18, Paul equated the authority of Deuteronomy with the authority of Luke’s writing of his Gospel. And the apostle Peter equated Paul’s words with “the rest of the Scriptures” in 2 Peter 3:16. So when we look at this issue of whether there is only one way to heaven, we not only consider what Jesus said, but we consider what the other New Testament writers said as well. When we examine Scripture, we come to the conclusion that all the New Testament writers believed not all roads lead to heaven.

***

Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Jews Who Were For Jesus” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2015.

“Real Time with Bill Maher,” episode 228, October 14, 2011.

Scripture quotations are taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

 

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