Intermediate Bible Studies
13. Is There Only 'One Way'?
Is There Only 'One Way'?
We live in a world in which most seem to believe that “all roads lead to God” and “all paths lead to heaven.” In other words, for many it just does not matter what religion or faith or church you belong to because one church, faith or religion is just as good as another. Thus, we live in a culture in which we are supposed to believe that all ways are good and all truth is relative and any way you take through life and faith and religion is okay – as long as it is not the Way of the Lord God!
The One and Only Way
Have you ever noticed that the early church was called, “The Way”? See Acts 9:2; 19:9,23; 24:14,22. You need to consider what that meant and what it still means. You also need to realize where this idea came from. The fact is the very idea of “The Way” comes to us by way of the Old Testament and especially the wisdom literature of the Old Covenant. The term “way” is found over thirty times in the wisdom literature of Proverbs and it is also found numerous times in the wisdom of the Psalms and even in the wisdom and preaching of the Prophets. Consider the following:
- Proverbs 10:29 and Proverbs 14:12; 16:26
- Psalms 1:1-6; Psalm 119:1,14,27,30,34,33; Psalm 139:24
- Isaiah 35:1-10 (Isaiah 35:8) and Isaiah 40:3-5; 48:17; 62:10-12 … Jeremiah 31:21
When we come to the New Testament we find our Lord making some of the most incredible claims and demands. Of himself he says:
“I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
And in the Sermon on the Mount Jesus states:
“Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.”
There Is No Other
Perhaps it is time to get behind the principle of “The One Way.” And the place we need to go is the very First Commandment. See Exodus 20:3; Deuteronomy 5:7 (Deuteronomy 4:35,39) – “You shall have no other gods before me.” Compare Exodus 34:14 – “You shall worship no other god, for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God.” Thus, the “First Commandment” is first for a reason! It is first because it is the “greatest” commandment of all!
Follow this idea of “no other” in the preaching of the Prophets and notice how they pound the message of “no other” into the hearts and minds of the people of God. (It is not just the pagan unbelievers who need to know the One True God!)
Isaiah 42:8 – “I am the LORD; that is my name. My glory I give to no other, nor my praise to carved idols.”
Isaiah 44:8 – “Is there a God besides me? No, there is no (other) Rock; I know not any.”
Isaiah 45:5-6,14,18,21,22 – “I am the LORD, and there is no other, besides me there is no God; I equip you, though you do not know me, that people may know, from the rising of the sun and from the west, that there is none besides me; I am the LORD, and there is no other. […] and there is no other; there is no other god. […] I am the LORD, and there is no other. […] And there is no God apart from me […] for I am God and there is no other.”
Isaiah 46:9 – “Remember the former things of old; I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me.”
Joel 2:27 – “You shall know that I am in the midst of Israel, and that I am the LORD your God and there is none else (no other). And my people shall never again be put to shame.”
There Is Only One Way
When we again turn to the New Covenant we find one of the most incredible exchanges between an honest seeker of Truth and our Lord Jesus Christ. See Mark 12:28-34 (Mark 12:32) – After Jesus said, “There is no other commandment greater than these,” the teacher of the Law said, “Well said, teacher … You are right in saying that God is one and there is no other but (besides) him.” (What an incredible deduction made from Deuteronomy 6:4-5!) What we must notice is that this scribe clearly understood what most do not! He understood and accepted the truth that when God said that “the Lord is One,” what it meant is that “there is no other”! Accepting this is what loving the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength is really all about. Anything less and it is not love at all.
When we move into the life and teaching of the early church we see how powerful the principle of “no other” translates into that of “the One and Only Way.”
“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.”
Nowhere is this principle of truth seen more pointedly than in Ephesians 4:4-6 – “There is one body and one Spirit – just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call – one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.” For all the world this statement almost looks like a “creed.” But it is nothing like the creeds of men that fill the denominational world. God forbids such divisive creeds which are nothing more than the commandments and dogmas of men. The truth is that we are supposed to all agree on the truth of Ephesians 4:4-6. If we don’t then we just simply do not agree with God! Now consider the “ones” of the doctrine of Christ and ask yourself, “Do I really believe in these? Does ‘my church’ even teach the truth on all these doctrines?”
One Body – Romans 12:4-5; I Corinthians 10:17; 12:12-13,20; Ephesians 2:16; 3:6; 4:4,25; Colossians 3:15
It must be noted right here that the New Testament knows absolutely nothing about the denominations of men. In fact all principles of Scripture condemn the very existence of the denominationalism of the religious world. See Matthew 15:1-20; Mark 7:1-23. To drive this point home all one needs to realize is that you simply do not read about the Catholic Church in the Bible – except in the prophecies of the coming apostasy! Consider Acts 20:18-31 and I Timothy 4:1-3f. You do not read about any of the Protestant churches either. You do not find the Lutheran Church, Presbyterian Church, Baptist Church, Methodist Church, or any of the modern denominational churches in the pages of Holy Scripture. They are not authorized or justified according to the Word of God. What is more, if you go and ask any of the denominational church leaders whether or not you have to be a member of their churches in order to be saved, they will for the most part tell you, “No.” Our question then is this: “If you don’t have to be a member of the Lutheran Church or the Presbyterian Church or the Baptist Church or the Methodist church in order to be saved, then why bother with any of them?!? None of them are necessary for our salvation and all of them are condemned in one way or another because all of them do not hold to the One True Faith outlined in Ephesians and the rest of Scripture. So, why not just be a member of the One True Body-Church belonging to Christ? (For further study on all of this see, “What About Denominationalism?”)
One Spirit – I Corinthians 12:9,13; Ephesians 2:18; 4:4
One Hope – Ephesians 4:4 … I Corinthians 15:19 … Romans 5:2; Ephesians 1:12; Colossians 1:27; Titus 2:13
One Lord – Zechariah 14:9; I Corinthians 8:6; Ephesians 4:5
One Faith – Ephesians 4:5 … I Timothy 6:12; II Timothy 1:13
Does anyone realize that “the faith” has “once for all (i.e., ‘one time for all time’) been delivered (entrusted) to the saints”? See Jude 1:3. The Bible is perfect and complete. There is no on-going revelation. What we need to do – what we must do! – is hold to the sound doctrine of revealed truth. Study II Timothy 3:14-4:8. (For more on all of this see the study, "What About The Bible?")
One Baptism – Ephesians 4:5
There were baptismal washings of Judaism (Hebrews 6:2); there was the baptism of John (Mark 1:4; Luke 3:3; Acts 18:25); the baptism of suffering and death (Mark 10:38-39; Luke 12:50); there was also the baptism of fire (Matthew 3:11; Mark 1:8; Luke 3:16); the baptism of the Holy Spirit experienced on Pentecost and at the household of Cornelius (Acts 2 and Acts 10); and even baptism for the dead (I Corinthians 15:29); etc. It should be more than obvious which baptism was and is the “one baptism”! Which baptism is it? Hint: It is the One True Baptism that Jesus calls us to in Matthew 28:18-20 where he announced baptism in (into) the Name of the One True Father, the One True Son and the One True Holy Spirit. This is the baptism into the One and Only Christ and the One and Only True Church belonging to Christ. This is the baptism that is according to the One True Faith for the One True Hope of salvation and life everlasting. This is the baptism where the Spirit of God baptizes us into the One Body in which we are given the One Spirit to drink. See I Corinthians 12:13. How much simpler could it be?
It also must be noted that in modern times there are many in the religious world who try and divide up baptism into: (1) The physical ritual of immersion in water; and (2) A spiritual and symbolic reality that takes place in the mind of God and heart of man in some mystical sense. They would have us believe that the physical act of water baptism is not necessary to salvation but the spiritual reality (that supposedly takes place in “faith only”) is essential to our salvation. But our Lord said that there is only “one birth” of “water and Spirit.” See John 3:3,5. (This is the baptism that is “the washing of rebirth and renewal of the Holy Spirit.” See Titus 3:3-7.) There are not two baptisms, there is only “one baptism” and it involves the physical and the spiritual realities coming together at the same time in that “one baptism” that is a part of the “obedience and hearing of faith.” It is utter and complete blasphemous nonsense to separate the “one baptism” of Scripture into “two baptisms – one literal and the other figurative (one “saving” and the other only “symbolic”). There is no separating these two aspects of the One Baptism. They stand or fall together. Why do men make up all these dogmas about baptism? Because they really do not believe the One True Faith of the One True Lord! (For more on all of this see, “What About Baptism?” and “What About ‘Faith Only?’”)
One God – Malachi 2:10; Romans 3:30; I Corinthians 8:6; Ephesians 4:6; I Timothy 2:5; James 2:19 … Malachi 2:10; Matthew 23:9 … Galatians 3:20 … John 20:17
While we are thinking about all this, it should also be noted that we are told that because we are one body we also partake of the one true supper of the Lord in Holy Communion. See I Corinthians 10:17 – “Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread.” So there is only One True Communion to be found only in the One Body of Christ, the Church. See I Corinthians 11:23-26.
What we clearly find in the doctrine of Christ is a precise statement of the “exclusivity of absolutes.” (The truth of God is both exclusive and absolute!) It is this that men cannot understand because it is this they will not accept. While our culture pretends to be most “tolerant” it has become hypocritically intolerant of anything that claims to be the one and only way of righteousness and salvation. The funny thing is, it is not just irreligious unbelieving men who cannot (i.e., will not) accept this truth; it is “religious” men as well! Too many in the religious world have a very serious problem with the “one body, one faith, one baptism.” (This is one of the major problems with every form of denominationalism!) They just cannot bring themselves to believe there is only “one church, one faith and one baptism.” And because of this they have given up their only hope of ever being saved. Why? Because they don’t really believe in the One God and Father of the One Lord Jesus Christ who has given us the One Spirit of Holiness! In other words:
If we don’t believe in “one church, one faith, one baptism” we might as well not believe in “One God and Father, One Lord, One Spirit”! If we don’t accept all of this, then there is absolutely no hope for any us.
Thus there is no other God; no other Father; no other Son; no other Savior; no other Spirit; no other Faith; no other Gospel; no other Word; no other Scripture; no other Bible; no other Church; no other Fellowship; no other Salvation; no other Baptism; no other Communion; no other Heaven; no other Hope.
There is just simply no other Way than God’s Way!