Salvation By Comparison
By Alexander Samuels
"I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life, and no man cometh unto the Father but my Me" (John 14:6). According to a Newsweek/Beliefnet poll, 68 percent of evangelical Christians no longer believe these words of Jesus to be true. What they really believe is that as long as you are a "good" person you will go to heaven.
In an article today from AgapePress ("Survey: Two-Thirds of Evangelicals Doubt Jesus' Words Regarding Salvation Thru Him Alone"), Fred Jackson writes that most evangelicals have long been taught and have accepted what Jesus said in John 14:6, adding . . . "But now a new Newsweek/Beliefnet poll is showing a shocking number of people who call themselves evangelical and born-again have come to reject those words." In overwhelming percentages, the majority believe that people of all faiths may go to heaven if they live a "good" life.
Usually, evangelicals are considered rock-solid Bible-believing Christians. The primary principle of Christian teaching is that all men are sinners and they must be saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone. Either this is not being taught in our churches or those who attend our churches have been influenced by some aspect of our culture to reject this teaching.
Who is good and how is it being defined? Jesus said, "There is only One who is good" (Matthew 19:17), and that "One" is God. Paul writes, "There is no one righteous, not even one . . ." (Romans 3:10). But Paul gives us the hope of a righteousness that is available to us: "This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus" (Romans 3:22-24). [Emphasis added]
According to God's standards, no one is good. All have sinned and fall short; it's in our nature. God, however, has a plan. He "justifies those who have faith in Jesus" (Romans 3:26). The human plan is to justify ourselves by comparison. We want to point to others who have lived lives much worse than ours and say, "We deserve to go to heaven because we lived better lives than they did."
That may be a "politically correct" opinion, but it is not a Christian opinion. The God of Christianity gives us no other options. We are either saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ or we are not saved at all. This is why Jesus gave us the Great Commission: "Then Jesus came to them and said, 'All authority in heaven and earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you'" (Matthew 28:18-20).
The Bible and the words of Jesus leave us no option. We cannot call ourselves Christians and believe that people are saved by some relative standard of living a "good" life. Jesus did not leave us that option when He said, "I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life, and no man cometh unto the Father but my Me" (John 14:6). [Emphasis added]