by Ben Jones
The chanting outside grew steadily louder as the Roman governor stared at the condemned man before him. Little did he know that this interrogation would be the most important in all of history.
The roar of the rioting crowd echoed off the walls, but one question was finally asked that would reverberate throughout the ages: “What is Truth?”
Today, many reject the notion of Absolute Truth, and espouse Relativism in its stead. Absolute Truth refers to that which is true and right for all people, in all places, and at all times, as opposed to relativism which contends that all truth is relative or subjective, based on the individual. As such, relativists view those that hold strong beliefs, values, and standards, as ‘narrow-minded,’ ‘intolerant,’ and ‘arrogant.’ On the same token, we live in a society of pluralism, where all religious claims are seen to have equal truth value. In fact, even the mere idea that there is only one way to heaven is deeply offensive to most.
Many believe that most religions have the same core beliefs, so it doesn’t really matter which one they choose to follow. However, upon the most cursory of study, the very opposite is found to be true. When stripped down to their most basic tenants, the major religions differ greatly, such as in their beliefs about God. Buddhism has no God; Hinduism has millions of gods; New Age belief systems say we are god. Islam has an impersonal God who requires work for salvation; Christianity has a personal God who offers the free gift of salvation through faith in His Son, Jesus Christ. They cannot all be true because they maintain opposing beliefs.
Twenty centuries ago, Pilate asked the question “What is Truth?” The answer, Jesus Christ, stood before him having just proclaimed, “…for this I have come into the world, to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice” (John 18:37). Jesus, being ‘full of grace and Truth’ (John 1:14), proclaims, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me” (John 14:6). The Truth of the Gospel is that Jesus Christ is the only means of salvation. These exclusive claims are not just an important part of His teaching, but the very foundation on which all His teachings rest. Peter proclaims, “And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men, by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12). The Apostle John declares that “He who has the Son has the life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have the life” (1 John 5:12).
Despite the explicit claims of Christ, an astonishing number of Christians, many of them evangelical leaders, when pressed, fail to stand on the exclusivity of Christ. It is difficult for them to conceive that only a small fraction of the world’s population will believe on Christ’s name and be saved, and that the majority will be condemned. But does not Christ address and acknowledge this very truth in Matthew 7:13-14? “Enter by the narrow gate; for the gate is wide, and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and many are those who enter by it. For the gate is small, and the way is narrow that leads to life, and few are those who find it.” Consider this: If Christ is not the exclusive avenue to salvation, why did He die? How cruel a God to have sent His only Son to die a horrific death if there were other ways to be saved. How foolish the Son to endure ridicule, torture, and crucifixion at the hands of men if it wasn’t absolutely necessary. But no, only out of a boundless love for mankind and a sense of necessity did Christ say, “if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; yet not My will, but Thine be done.”
One of the purposes of this column is to make you more bold and confident as you proclaim Christ’s name as the only means to salvation and heaven. But this bold claim was never intended to be based on a blind faith. 1 Peter 3:15 mandates that we all be ready to gently and reverently defend our faith and ‘the hope that is within us.’ Apologetics helps us use reason and evidence to do just that. How do we come to know truth in the court of law? We look at the evidence. Faith is actively trusting in what you have good reason to believe in. The plagues in Exodus were evidence for the Egyptians so
that they could know that the Lord is God. In 1 Kings 18, God answered Elijah with fire so that all would know He is Lord. Christ did miracles on earth as proof that He was who He said He was. In Mark 2, Jesus tells a paralytic that his sins are forgiven, but the scribes thought it blasphemy. In response, Jesus declares, “But in order that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins… I say to you, rise, take up your pallet and go home” [emphasis mine]. He showed the people physical evidence to prove that he was capable of this faith-based, and much greater, spiritual deed, that is, the forgiveness of sin. God is asking us to trust Him, and He is willing to earn it. He has given us a wealth of philosophical and historical evidence to support the exclusive claims of Christ.
Truth must answer the most important questions of life. Where did I come from? Why am I here? How should I live? And where am I going? Jesus Christ answers them all absolutely. We “have been created by and for Him” (Col. 1:16) to “live by faith in the Son of God” (Gal. 2:20). Whosoever puts their trust in Jesus as Savior and Lord, eternal life with Him is secure. For those who choose a different answer, or believe there is none, their destiny is sure as well.
The primary motive lying at the heart of all relativism and pluralism is that people do not want to bend the knee. They do not want anyone to tell them how to live their lives. Pride has been mankind’s greatest struggle and greatest sin since the Garden, but eternity is a high price to pay in order to maintain it. Heaven and Hell are real places. Hell will be eternal separation from God… eternal regret, eternal hopelessness, eternal darkness. Heaven will be eternal joy, fulfillment, and communion with our Creator. In the end, tragedy, suffering, and the fear of death causes many to suddenly want answers, absolutes, certainty, and Truth. We must be bold in proclaiming that Truth can only be found in Jesus Christ and that only He can set them free.
Copyright © 2013 Ben Jones, angeldownanswers.com