Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. (John 14:6)
Many today reject exclusivity when it comes to God and the heavenly realm. “If” God exists, and “if” heaven exists, then any “good” person, who “sincerely” believes, regardless of what they believe, should gain entrance into heaven. So, a sincere Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, Sikh, Tao, Jew, or Christian can go to heaven as long as they are good and sincere in their belief. The only problem with that is that everyone defines “good” differently.
The idea that everyone (except for really “bad” people) goes to heaven is known as “universalism.” This popular belief attracts many because it relieves one of any obligation, responsibility or guilt. Even the current pope, Pope Francis, publically embraces “universalism.” In his position, he can simply declare all religions under the umbrella of the Catholic Church. Bingo! Everyone goes to heaven, so now let us all just try to get along. The problem with this (besides the fact that it is unbiblical) is that it strips God of His authority and places that authority in the hands of fickle men. Furthermore, it insults God’s wisdom in determining man’s fate, and ultimately creates God in man’s image.
Today, anyone who does not buy into the Universalist “group think” gets labeled as intolerant, narrow-minded, a xenophobe, a hater, or all of the above. If Jesus walked the earth today, He would fall into this same category. No doubt that Jesus died for ALL, Indeed, the Bible clearly teaches: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16, emphasis mine). “Whosoever” includes ALL – “the world” – and excludes NONE. However, one may be tempted to overlook the “qualifier” – belief in Him, i.e., Jesus, the One who was “lifted up” (John 3:14) for the sins of “the world.” “Belief” is the prerequisite. “He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God” (John 3:18, emphasis mine). The Pope can pontificate all he wants, but he cannot abrogate the Word of God.
In His sixth I AM statement, Jesus said, “I AM the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (John 14:6, emphasis mine). As the Creator God, the I AM of Creation, Jesus emphatically imposes extreme exclusivity for access to the Father. No one comes to the Father except through The Door that is the Lord Jesus Christ. No other options are provided. That makes Jesus’ claim anathema to Universalists.
Note that Jesus makes this I AM statement threefold. First, Jesus is The Way. The “way” may be thought of as a “method” to achieve a goal or destination. The “way” is a “road” – the conduit from one place to another; it is the conveyance from one place to another. Jesus is that way that leads to the Father. Jesus urged, “Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it” (Matthew 7:13-14, emphasis mine). Quite clearly, Jesus narrows “the way” to the few that find it. On the “broad way” that “leadeth to destruction” can be found many Universalists proclaiming to know “The Way,” but Jesus says, “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 7:21, emphasis mine). The Way is exclusive!
Second, Jesus is The Truth. He is not “relative truth;” He is unequivocal truth. Not only that, but the definite article assures us that He is the “only” truth. At His trial, “Pilate therefore said unto him, Art thou a king then? Jesus answered, Thou sayest that I am a king. To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice” (John 18:37, emphasis mine). Pilate, perhaps waxing philosophical, retorted, “What is truth?” (John 18:37), when The Truth was standing before him. The incarnate I AM, the eternal Word of God (John 1:1), cannot lie (Titus 1:2). All truth abides in Him, and outside of Him, there is no truth. Apart from The Truth, God is unknowable.
Third, Jesus is The Life. As Creator, I AM authors life. “All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men” (John 1:3-4, emphasis mine). The Life offers more than bios, i.e. biological functionality. The Life gives zōē, the essence of life eternal. In the Garden of Eden, when “the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground” He “breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul” (Genesis 2:7, emphasis mine). On final inspection of His creation, God looked upon His finished work “and, behold, it was very good” (Genesis 1:31). Death had no part in God’s “very good” creation. Man was created to live eternally until he broke God’s one and only commandment (Genesis 2:17). At that point death entered into the world (Romans 5:12), and man began to die (Genesis 3:19). Death opposes The Life. It has no place in the presence of The Life, subsequently death cannot enter into the presence of the Father. Only The Life can reverse the curse of death. Jesus is The Life.
“I AM The Way, The Truth and The Life.” There is no other access into the presence of the Father and eternal life except through the Lord Jesus Christ. Universalists may not like that idea, but they do not get to make the rules. Only the Creator owns the right to make the rules. In the Garden of Eden, there was only one tree from which man could not eat. Now, after Eden, there is only one way to eternal life. Jesus is the only way. It is up to you to choose wisely.