Now, Contending for the Faith. In this regular feature, Dave and Tom respond to questions from listeners and readers of The Berean Call. Here’s this week’s question: “Dear Dave and T.A.: The other night I watched Rick Warren on Larry King Live, and he quoted a verse from the Bible where Jesus said He was the only way to heaven. Larry commented that that rather egotistical, and Rick said it would be if it weren’t true. But then, he wasn’t given time to explain why he believed it was true. Can you explain why you think it’s true?”
Tom: Dave, before we get to the answer to this question, I have to commend Rick. You know, I liked his answer. That was the answer
Tom: It is true. I am THE way, THE truth, THE life. No man comes to the Father but by Me, and it’s true.
Dave: The Truth was speaking, so it certainly was true.
Tom: Yes. So, can you explain why you think it’s true? Why do we think it’s true?
Dave: It’s not just that I think this is true; I know it’s true, and we would need many hours, I mean, we could write books about it. First of all, the Bible says so, and the Bible is true. We can prove the Bible is true by prophecy. We can prove that Jesus Christ is who He claimed to be by prophecy, hundreds of prophecies that came true in detail, and it’s not a put-up job. You couldn’t set it up, you couldn’t say this centuries beforehand, and then, somehow Jesus will fill that—among the prophecies, that He would be crucified—He’s going to get Himself crucified? That He would rise again from the dead the third day—He’s going to pull that off? You know, so it’s not a setup. It is factual, and we can prove that Christ actually rose from the dead, that He is who He claimed to be, number one. Number two; it’s a matter of justice. You can’t make up for breaking the law in the past by keeping it in the future. If we are going to be forgiven by God, the penalty has to be paid. It’s an infinite penalty. Only God could do it! But it wouldn’t be just, because He’s not one of us, so God became a man through the virgin birth. It makes sense! It is biblical. It is factual. It is prophetic…
Tom: Historical, right.
Dave: Right, and so there’s no other alternative. For example, in Islam, Allah forgives those that he wants to forgive. He doesn’t forgive others, but there’s no basis for forgiveness, therefore you don’t know what Allah might do next, and I quote often Abu Bakr, the father-in-law of Muhammad, the first one to whom Muhammad promised paradise without dying in jihad, and Abu Bakr said, “Even if I had one foot in paradise, I couldn’t trust Allah. He might put me out.”
Now, Christ cannot put me out. God the Father cannot put me out of heaven. On what basis could I claim this? “Oh, I’ve lived a good life, I haven’t done so many bad things…” No! God, You said, “The wages of sin is death,” but You would give eternal life to those who would trust in Christ. You sent Your Son to be the Saviour of the world. This is what the Bible says, and if it isn’t true, there’s no other way, there’s no other hope. Jesus Christ said, “He that cometh to me, I will in nowise cast out. I came not to call the righteous but sinners to repentance.” Jesus himself said, John:3:16—most Sunday school children know that verse, “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him would not perish, but have everlasting life.” And I could just say, “Lord! I believed in You! You can’t turn me away because You made a promise, and You don’t go back on Your promises!” It has nothing to do with my righteousness or what I’ve accomplished. It’s what Christ accomplished on the cross, and the promise He made on that basis. So, Tom, it’s not a matter of “do I think”; I absolutely know beyond the shadow of a doubt, and my eternal destiny is resting on that fact.
Tom: Yeah, you know, Dave, sometimes we as Christians, concerned about the world, concerned about how people are going to react to what we say, even when we’re just saying what the Scriptures say…
Tom: …that we sort of hesitate or vacillate a little bit, and… but when Jesus says, “I am THE way, THE truth, THE life, no man comes to the Father but by me,” you know, as Larry King reacted to it, “that sounds arrogant!” On the other hand, and it sort of unnerves, maybe, Christians, saying, “Well, am I sounding too intolerant?” But as Rick Warren said, it’s the truth, as you just explained, it is the truth.
Tom: So then we have to look at it as, “Wait a minute, this is an invitation!” (Laughs)
Tom: Jesus is saying, “Look! You want eternal life. It’s a free gift. Here, I have it for you, but I’m the ONLY way!”
Tom: That’s not exclusive. That’s reality, that’s ultimate reality, that’s truth.
Dave: To say, “I am the greatest person, the strongest person, the wisest, and so forth in the universe,” it would be arrogant for anyone but God to say that. But it’s not arrogant for God to say it. And, you know, we often use this illustration. I remember sitting—I’ve probably mentioned it before, but not in many months—sitting next to a very bright young man, I’d say brilliant, on the plane, and his words were: “When I was in high school, I believed in Jesus Christ as my Lord and Saviour, but I don’t believe in Him anymore.”
And, you know, I mean, it’s very simple, what do you respond to that? “Well, what do you think of Jesus?”
“Oh,” he said, “I think He’s a good man.”
I said, “You’ve got to be kidding. A good man?! He couldn’t be a good man. If He’s just a man, He’s not a good man because He said He was God! He said He would rise from the dead! He said He would come again to this earth and He would judge all mankind! Now, if He’s only a man, He’s not a good man! He’s either a liar or a lunatic! The only way He could be good is if He is actually who He claims to be, if He is God, who became a man to die for our sins and to provide salvation for us, and if that is the case, then when we receive this salvation, He’s not going to take it away from us.”
Tom: Dave, and this is what we want—for people who are listening in—this is why we are doing the radio program, to present Jesus, who He is, and what He did. And, you know, I’m glad we had the opportunity to, through this question, to get to that. But, I think we ought to talk about it more…
Tom: …because it is, as you said, as the Scriptures say, it is our only hope. If Christ did not pay the full penalty for our sins, then we’re dead. All is hopeless, no way out.
Dave: Rick Warren talks about the purpose for life, and this is the real question to find out what is your purpose. I would say the real question is to find out what is your eternal destiny. And, of course, he talks about that, as well, and that is the most important question anyone can face. Where will you spend eternity? That question can only be answered through Jesus Christ and what He’s accomplished and by our simple faith in Him.