THE ONLY WAY TO GOD.
JOHN XIV. 4—11.
“And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know.
“Thomas saith unto Him, Lord, we know not whither Thou goest; and how can we know the way?
“Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by Me.
“If ye had known Me, ye should have known my Father also: and from henceforth ye know Him, and have seen Him.
“Philip saith unto Him, Lord, shew us the Father, and it stifficeth us.
“Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known Me, Philip? he that hath seen Me liath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father?
“Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father thatdwelleth in Me, He doeth the works.
“Believe Me that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me: or else believe Me for the very works’ sake.”
We should mark, in these verses, what glorious names the Lord Jesus gives to Himself. He says, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.” The fulness of these precious words can probably never be taken in by man. He that attempts to unfold them does little more than scratch the surface of a rich soil.
Christ is “the way,“—the way to heaven and peace with God. He is not only the guide, and teacher, and lawgiver, like Moses; He is Himself the door, the ladder, and the road, through whom we must draw near to God. He has opened the way to the tree of life, which was closed when Adam and Eve fell, by the satisfaction He made for us on the cross. Through His blood we may draw near with boldness, and have access with confidence into God’s presence. (Ephes. iii. 12.)
Christ is “the truth,“—the whole substance of true religion which the mind of man requires. Without Him the wisest heathen groped in gross darkness, and knew nothing rightly about God. Before He came even the Jews saw “through a glass darkly,” and discerned nothing distinctly under the types, figures, and ceremonies of the Mosaic law. Christ is the whole truth, and meets and satisfies every desire of the human mind.
Christ is “the life,“—the sinner’s title to eternal life and pardon, the believer’s root of spiritual life and holiness, the surety of the Christian’s resurrection life. He that believeth on Christ hath everlasting life. He that abideth in Him, as the branch abides in the vine, shall bring forth much fruit. He that believeth on Him, though he were dead, yet shall he live. The root of all life, for soul and for body, is Christ.
For ever let us grasp and hold fast these truths. To use Christ daily as the way,—to believe Christ daily as the truth,—to live on Christ daily as the life,—this is to be a well-informed, a thoroughly furnished, and an established Christian.
We should mark, again, in these verses, how expressly the Lord Jesus shuts out all ways’of salvation but Himself. “No man,” He declares, “No mancometh unto the Father but by Me.”
It avails nothing that a man is clever, learned, highly gifted, amiable, charitable, kind-hearted, and zealous about some sort of religion. All this will not save his soul, if he does not draw near to God by Christ’s atonement, and make use of God’s own Son as his Mediator and Saviour. God isso holy that all men are guilty and debtors in His sight. Sin is so sinful that no mortal man can make satisfaction for it. There must be a mediator, aransom-payer, a redeemer, between ourselves and God, or else we can never be saved.
There is only one door, one bridge, one ladder, between earth and heaven,—the crucified Son of God. Whosoever will enter in by that door may be saved; but to him who refuses to use that door the Bible holds out no hope at all. “Without shedding of blood there is no remission.” (Heb. ix. 22.)
Let us beware, if we love life, of supposing that mere earnestness will take a man to heaven, though he know nothing of Christ. The idea is a deadly and ruinous error. Sincerity will never wipe away our sins. It is not true that every man will be saved by his own religion, no matter what he believes, provided he is diligent and sincere. We must not pretend to be wiser than God. Christ has said, and Christ will stand to it, “No man cometh unto the Father but by Me.”
Short expository readings on the Gospel of John
By John Charles Ryle (bishop. of Liverpool)