The Only Way to God Is Jesus

There is an old proverb, “all roads lead to Rome.” Tracing back to the 12th century, it refers to the ancient Roman practice of measuring distances from the monument Milliarium Aureum, which translates as “golden milestone.” The proverb means that, for any specific goal, all possible options ultimately lead to that goal.[1]

In America’s increasingly post-truth culture, many hold a similar idea about God and religion. There’s a popular saying, “all religions lead to the same God.” Likewise, there is a growing idea of spirituality that has a more generalized belief in a higher power. This view says that all beliefs in any gods are more or less true and equally valid regarding our eternal destinies.

That is not what Jesus taught.

The Gospel of Matthew records a time during Jesus’ earthly ministry when He went up a mountain to teach. At one point in the teaching He said,

Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it. (Matt 7:13–14)

Jesus is saying not all paths of faith lead to eternal life. Not all religions worship the same God. Not all belief systems lead to heaven. There is only one way to eternal life with God—it is difficult, unpopular, and many people will choose against it.

What is this way? The Gospel of John records the last meal Jesus ate with His disciples before His crucifixion. One of the disciples asked Jesus about the way to God. Jesus answered,

I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. (John 14:6)

Jesus is saying that the only way to God is through Jesus Himself. As sinners, we deserve death—eternal separation from God. We need a Savior. Jesus is that Savior. As Acts 4:12 says,

There is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.

Jesus taught that the only way to eternal life with God is through Jesus Himself. This is an exclusive claim that rules out other faith systems. Such claims are unpopular today, but this is what Jesus taught. Eternal life with God requires salvation from sin and death. This salvation is a gift of God that we receive when we believe in Jesus Christ.


[1] Charles Leavitt, “All Roads Lead to Rome: New acquisitions relating to the Eternal City,” News & Events, University of Notre Dame Center for Italian Studies, September 14, 2011, https://italianstudies.nd.edu/news-events/news/all-roads-lead-to-rome-new-acquisitions-relating-to-the-eternal-city/.

What It Takes to Get to Heaven

In America, the common hope of many people after we die is to go to heaven. There is also a common belief that, if someone is a good enough person, then heaven is the afterlife they deserve. Likewise, if someone is a bad person, instead, hell is their eternal destiny.

There is some truth in these ideas—good people go to heaven and bad (sinful) people deserve to go to hell. The problem is the issue of being a good person. A lot of people think that, if their misdeeds are minor and they try not to harm others, then they are good enough to go to heaven.

That is not what Jesus taught.

Three of the four Gospels record a moment when a wealthy young ruler approached Jesus and asked Him what he needed to do to get to heaven. Mark 10:17–18 records the young ruler’s initial question and Jesus’ initial response as follows:

Now as He was going out on the road, one came running, knelt before Him, and asked Him, “Good Teacher, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?”

So Jesus said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God.”

Notice what Jesus says, “No one is good but One, that is, God.” This statement is very important for two reasons. First, Jesus does not reject the title, He receives it. However, He does correct the young ruler’s assumption that people can be good enough to get to heaven.

It is important to understand that God, not human beings, sets the standard of what is good. That standard is perfect alignment of our hearts and actions with God’s character. But, from the moment that Adam and Eve sinned against God in the Garden, all people have inherited a sin nature. This means all our thoughts and actions are polluted by sin. As Ecclesiastes 7:20 says,

For there is not a just man on earth who does good and does not sin.

And Romans 3:23 further clarifies,

For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.

As sinners, every person who ever lives deserves hell. But, if that is true, how can anyone get heaven? In Mark 10:26, Jesus’ disciples asked a similar question, and Jesus answered,

“With men it is impossible, but not with God; for with God all things are possible.” (Mark 10:27)

No one can be good enough to earn their way to heaven. Everything we think and do is polluted by sin and falls short of God’s standard of goodness. So, how can anyone get to heaven? Jesus answers—what we cannot earn, God gives freely to all who believe in Jesus Christ.