Jesus Claimed to be the Unique God-Man and the Only Way to Salvation
If I consider the Bible as an accurate source of truth, the question becomes, “What does it say about salvation and eternal life?” In John 17:3, the words of Jesus are recorded as follows: “This is eternal life, that they may know Thee, the only true God and Jesus Christ whom Thou have sent.” The Apostle Peter, at the threat of death, said this, “For there is salvation in no one else (Jesus), for there is no other name under heaven that is given to men by which we might be saved.” The Apostle Paul wrote to the Romans and said in Romans 10:9, “That if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord and believe in your heart that He was raised from the dead, you shall be saved.” What makes Jesus and belief in Jesus the central theme of Christianity? The New Testament consistently presents Jesus as the unique God-Man, the author of salvation and the only way to eternal life. In order to understand Christianity, we must honestly deal with the claims of Jesus and the eye witness testimony of His disciples. Consider the following truth claims presented in the New Testament:
- Jesus claimed to be the source of truth:
John 8:31-32 31 To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. 32 Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
John 14:6 6 Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me
- Jesus claimed to be equal with God:
John 10:30-33 30 I and the Father are one.” 31 Again the Jews picked up stones to stone him, 32 but Jesus said to them, “I have shown you many great miracles from the Father. For which of these do you stone me?” 33 “We are not stoning you for any of these,” replied the Jews, “but for blasphemy, because you, a mere man, claim to be God.”
John 14:8-10 8 Philip said, “Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us.” 9 Jesus answered: “Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? 10 Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you are not just my own. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work.”
- Jesus claimed to be the unique way of salvation:
John 3:35-36 35 The Father loves the Son and has placed everything in his hands. 36 Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on him.”
Mark 8:34-38 34 Then Jesus called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. 35 For whoever wants to save his life  will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me and for the gospel will save it. 36 What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul? 37 Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul? 38 If anyone is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when he comes in his Father’s glory with the holy angels.”
- The eye witness followers of Jesus claimed He was God, the only way to salvation:
Acts 4:11-13 11 Peter, speaking of Jesus said, “He is the stone you builders rejected, which has become the capstone. 12 Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.” 13 When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus.
1 Timothy 1:15-17 15 Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners–of whom I am the worst. 16 But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his unlimited patience as an example for those who would believe on him and receive eternal life. 17 Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen.
Philippians 2:5-11 5 Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: 6 Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, 7 but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death– even death on a cross! 9 Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
The claims of Jesus are both audacious and exclusive. One cannot escape the narrowness of their implication. The law of non-contradiction leads us to the conclusion that the claims of Jesus are either true or they are false. They cannot be both true and false at the same time. The law of the excluded-middle negates the option of a gray area in between. Jesus’ claims are black or white, there is no middle ground. Jesus claimed to be God and the only way to salvation. If His claims are false, Jesus either knew they were false or he thought they were true. If Jesus claimed to be God and the only way to salvation but knew His claims were false then He would be a liar. If Jesus sincerely thought he was God and that He could forgive the sins of all men but it wasn’t true, His claims would be the delusional statements of a man with a mental disorder! What option best fits the evidence? Does Scripture and the testimony of history, present Jesus as a liar, a lunatic or Lord? There is no other option.
One can’t simply believe that Jesus was a good man or a wise teacher. If you dismiss the claims of Jesus as false, by default you either believe Jesus to be deceptive or delusional. If you do not regard the statements of Jesus as true, you cannot accept Him as a moral man or spiritual teacher. Jesus is either a liar, a lunatic or Lord. Based on the profound example of Jesus’ life and the historicity of His claims, I am convinced that Jesus is the only Savior and Lord.
Questions for Reflection
- What are some of the unique truth claims of Christianity?
- What did Jesus clam about Himself? What did others claim about Him?
- Which of these claims do you find the hardest to believe?
- Do you believe these claims must be either true or false? Why or Why not?
- Based on the claims of Jesus, He is either a liar, a lunatic or Lord. Which of these options do you think has the most support from the Bible and from the historical record?
- Why can’t a person just believe Jesus was a good moral teacher and leave it at that?
- If Jesus is who He claimed to be, what should your response be to Jesus?