Tuesday, January 23, 2007

The Exclusivity of Jesus Christ: Does Exclusive Mean Intolerant?

University of Calgary political science professor Shadia Drury rightly concludes that in no way can Christianity be construed as “pluralistic and tolerant.[i] Yet, these are the icons of our culture! Does this make the claims of Jesus politically incorrect? Does it mean that His teaching should be altered to reflect the more modern pluralism and multi-culturalism that defines many parts of this world – in particular Canada? Is Jesus irrelevant because He is intolerant?

Such is what many Christians are tempted to believe and this helps explain why our churches are becoming less and less a light in the darkness and more and more lost in the landscape.

The Apostles preached an exclusive Jesus. No one had a relationship with God like Him. No one was able to reveal God to men like Him. No one can bring God to men except Him.

It was not just the apostles who preached this way, however! Jesus Himself believed and taught the very same thing.

Churches, however, can be as moldable as a California beach – shaped and contoured by the rising tides. The tides of pluralism, therefore, must be resisted; not in the name of Inquisition-like proselytization, but in the name of preaching the Truth.[ii]

With a few rare exceptions, Christians have been the framers of modern tolerance – Jesus Himself taught His disciples to “love their enemies.” This love, however, demands, not precludes the proclamation of the one, true and only way to God – faith in Jesus Christ!

Here is what the Bible says about Jesus…

I. Jesus has an exclusive UNITY with God the Father – no one has a relationship with Almighty God like His!

More than just a “messenger” sent from God, He is equal to God in ways that no mere man could ever be.

John 10

27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand. 30 I and the Father are one.”[iii]

John 12

44 And Jesus cried out and said, “Whoever believes in me, believes not in me but in him who sent me. 45 And whoever sees me sees him who sent me.

John 14

8 Philip said to him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us.” 9 Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? 10 Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own authority, but the Father who dwells in me does his works. 11 Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me, or else believe on account of the works themselves.

John 16

12 “I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. 13 When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. 14 He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you. 15 All that the Father has is mine; therefore I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you.

25 “I have said these things to you in figures of speech. The hour is coming when I will no longer speak to you in figures of speech but will tell you plainly about the Father. 26 In that day you will ask in my name, and I do not say to you that I will ask the Father on your behalf; 27 for the Father himself loves you, because you have loved me and have believed that I came from God. 28 I came from the Father and have come into the world, and now I am leaving the world and going to the Father.”

John 17

When Jesus had spoken these words, he lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, “Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son that the Son may glorify you, 2 since you have given him authority over all flesh, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him. 3 And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. 4 I glorified you on earth, having accomplished the work that you gave me to do. 5 And now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had with you before the world existed.

24 Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world.

It is a FACT: Jesus Himself is God!!

John 1

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made.

II. Jesus makes an exclusive REVALATION of God the Father – no one brings God to men like Jesus Christ!

Because of the unity between God the Father and God the Son, only the Son can fully reveal the Father. It is in this sense that Jesus can say things like “when you have seen Me you have seen the Father…” only Jesus can reveal the invisible God.

John 6

41 So the Jews grumbled about him, because he said, “I am the bread that came down from heaven.” 42 They said, “Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How does he now say, ‘I have come down from heaven’?” 43 Jesus answered them, “Do not grumble among yourselves. 44 No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day. 45 It is written in the Prophets, ‘And they will all be taught by God.’ Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to me— 46 not that anyone has seen the Father except he who is from God; he has seen the Father. 47 Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes has eternal life.

John 15

12 “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this, that someone lays down his life for his friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command you. 15 No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you.

Matthew 11

25 At that time Jesus declared, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children; 26 yes, Father, for such was your gracious will. 27 All things have been handed over to me by my Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him. 28 Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

1 Timothy 2

First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, 2 for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. 3 This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, 4 who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. 5 For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, 6 who gave himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time.

III. Jesus offers an exclusive SALVATION to God the Father – the only way to get to God is through Him.

Since Christ alone can reveal God, being one with God, it follows that He alone can provide the way to God… or salvation.

Stated Positively….

John 16

27 for the Father himself loves you, because you have loved me and have believed that I came from God.

John 14

1 “Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. 2 In my Father's house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. 4 And you know the way to where I am going.” 5 Thomas said to him, “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?” 6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. 7 If you had known me, you would have known my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.”

John 3

36 Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.

1 John 5

11 And this is the testimony, that God gave us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. 12 Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.

Stated Negatively…

John 5

22 The Father judges no one, but has given all judgment to the Son, 23 that all may honor the Son, just as they honor the Father. Whoever does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent him. 24 Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.

John 8

21 So he said to them again, “I am going away, and you will seek me, and you will die in your sin. Where I am going, you cannot come.” 22 So the Jews said, “Will he kill himself, since he says, ‘Where I am going, you cannot come’?” 23 He said to them, “You are from below; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world. 24 I told you that you would die in your sins, for unless you believe that I am he you will die in your sins.

John 15

23 Whoever hates me hates my Father also.

1 John 2

22 Who is the liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, he who denies the Father and the Son. 23 No one who denies the Son has the Father. Whoever confesses the Son has the Father also.

Luke 10

16 The one who hears you hears me, and the one who rejects you rejects me, and the one who rejects me rejects him who sent me.

John 8

39They answered him, "Abraham is our father." Jesus said to them, "If you were Abraham's children, you would be doing what Abraham did, 40 but now you seek to kill me, a man who has told you the truth that I heard from God. This is not what Abraham did. 41 You are doing what your father did." They said to him, "We were not born of sexual immorality. We have one Father--even God." 42Jesus said to them, "If God were your Father, you would love me, for I came from God and I am here. I came not of my own accord, but he sent me.

CONCLUSION:

There is no denying the fact the Bible teaches that Jesus is an exclusive Saviour. No other prophet or speaker has ever claimed to be God – and certainly none have verified that claim with the miracles Jesus performed (such as giving sight to men born blind, walking on water and raising the dead).

Jesus alone is one with God. Jesus alone has seen God and can therefore reveal Him to us. Jesus alone is able to save men from their sins and thus, enable them to have sweet fellowship with God their Maker.

He is an exclusive Saviour.

Acts 4

12 And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”

Is He YOUR Saviour? Dear friend, read over these words from the Bible again and again. Let them fill up your mind and let them point you to the Saviour of sinners. Turn away from your sins and your self-reliance and put all your hope and faith on the only true Saviour this world will ever know, Jesus Christ.



[i] For a detailed report on this claim, see the following website http://report.ca/archive/report/20010219/p48i010219f.html

[ii] For another helpful article on this topic, see Tolerance, Truth-telling, Violence, and Law by John Piper http://www.desiringgod.org/library/topics/culture/tolerance_principles.html

[iii] Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved."