A Polish teacher said the following to me while we were on a trip through Poland: “When God’s Word is preached today, Jesus cannot be brought far enough into the center. Jesus, only Jesus Christ, that is what it is all about!” This high school teacher openly shares his Christian faith, and his relationship with Christ is evident in his everyday life. All of his colleagues and high school students are aware of his convictions and respect him.
In light of this, considering the teacher’s wife’s incurable disease one could ask: “Where is your God with His help?” The man and his wife, along with their children, accept this burden by walking together and trusting God along the way.
And if someone asks us: “Is there really only one way to faith, the one which says: ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life’?” What do we answer?
Today, we know more about religions and cultures of other peoples and continents than ever before. Yes, individual religions even do active missionary work within Europe. In general, Christians discern between “religions” and the “Christian revelation.” In religions, man looks for God. Through the Christian revelation, God seeks out man. Through His revelation, we come to know His character, His will, and His promises.
By such differentiation, we must be mindful of the fact that even the “religions” speak of God, that they earnestly seek for a way to salvation of man and that they practice prayers. These may be cult prayers or prayers to holy saints. All of these things point to an early revelation or inherent knowledge of God the Creator given to man. And yet, due to man’s sin, every religion is full of destruction, confusion, and untruth. For this reason, even in our day idols are worshiped, mechanical prayer wheels rattle, sacrificial rites are held in an attempt to bring peace, heathen monks live in seclusion, and so on.
Amidst all of this, however, God’s brings full salvation through Jesus Christ. In Him, all ideas, mythologies, and human desires are superseded by an understanding of reality.
In Jesus’ words, we are faced with the enormous claim that there are absolutes given to us by God. Let’s consider what our lives would look like if we truly submitted to the “I am” statements given to us in the gospel of John. Do we really open ourselves up to these?
Perhaps then “scales” will fall from our eyes, when we suddenly realize: Jesus is truly the Way, the Truth and the Life for us, the only way on which all Christians travel in this world. He is the only way for those who have come out of the “religions”. Jesus really is the one truth in which God reveals the truth He intended to reveal from the beginning. In Him all philosophical speculations and religious imaginations fall apart. He is the truth that alone sets people free (John 8:32). Jesus truly is the Life, and He gives us life that is not by bread alone, but received with thanksgiving. It allows us to live at peace with Him.
Ask someone: How can a Christian be so certain of what he knows? Then we can answer: Read the words that Jesus says to His followers (for example Luke 9:23-26 and 57-62) or the final words in the Sermon on the Mount (Matt.7:24-27) and follow it! Then it will become clear to you. When you dare to take Jesus at His word, you will receive absolute conviction. Once you understand this reality, you will also understand that you cannot be saved by “just any manner of choosing,” but you will know that besides Christ, there is no other way to the Father. Through Jesus, you will be filled with amazement and thanksgiving as you are made completely new.
Yes, when we truly allow Jesus Christ to enter our existence through faith and obedience, and subject our lives to Him, then He gives us a new beginning. After all, this is when our life really starts.
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