Jesus said: “I am the way and the truth and the life. No-one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). The apostles proclaimed: “Salvation is found in no-one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12). The Old Testament prophets agree: “All the prophets testify about Him that everyone who believes in Him receives forgiveness of sins through His name” (Acts 10:43). The message of the Bible, then, is clear: “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on him” (John 3:36; compare 1 John 5:11-12).
What about other religions?
But what about other religions? Why can’t we be saved through philosophy and ‘spiritual enlightenment’, as Buddha taught? Why can’t we be saved by our sincere prayers and good works, as Muhammad taught? Why can’t we be saved by worshiping other gods, as Hinduism teaches? The reason why there is no salvation in these other religions is because, whatever good things other religions might teach us, none of them deals with our deepest need: a restored relationship with God.
Wrath and friendship
The salvation we need is two-sided: salvation FROM God’s wrath (Romans 1:18); and salvation FOR friendship with God (James 2:23). Only Jesus can help us here, because of what Jesus has uniquely DONE, and because of Who Jesus uniquely IS.
Only Jesus has done what nobody else has ever done
Jesus has done what nobody else has ever done. Only Jesus lived a perfectly righteous life (John 8:46; 1 Peter 2:22), for our sake (Romans 3:22; 5:17), that we may be credited righteous through faith (Philippians 3:9). Only Jesus died an atoning death (1 John 2:2; 4:10), for our sins (Isaiah 53:4-6; 1 Peter 3:18), to rescue us from the wrath of God (Romans 5:8-9). Only Jesus was resurrected from the dead (Acts 1:22), for our justification (Romans 4:25; 1 Corinthians 15:17), to raise us to spiritual life (Romans 6:5-11). And only Jesus washes us with the Holy Spirit (Matthew 3:11), for our regeneration (John 3:5-8; Titus 2:5-6), to fill our hearts with true love for God (Romans 5:5).
Jesus is unique
No other person or religion can do what Jesus has done, because Jesus Himself is unique (John 1:18). Other men and women may have lived comparatively good lives by human standards (e.g. Luke 1:28), but even they need a Savior (Luke 2:47), for only the fully human (John 1:14; Hebrews 2:14), fully divine (John 1:1; Hebrews 1:8) Son of God (John 3:16) offers to God, on our behalf (Romans 10:3-4), an acceptable righteousness (Galatians 2:21). Other priests may have prayed for their people and offered sacrifices for sins (Hebrews 10:11), but only the eternal High Priest is able to pray for His people forever (Hebrews 7:25) and offer a sacrifice that is fully sufficient once for all (Hebrews 7:27; 10:12). Other men and women may have been raised from the dead (e.g. John 11:43-44), but only the One with life in Himself (John 5:26) has been raised with an immortal resurrection body (1 Corinthians 15:42-54) and authority to forgive sins (Mark 2:5-12) and grant life on judgment day (John 5:27-30). Finally, whatever earthly authority other religious leaders may have possessed, only Jesus is now seated at God’s right hand (Luke 22:69; Ephesians 1:20), with all authority in heaven and on earth (Ephesians 1:21-22), even to pour out the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:33).
The great commission
God’s command to followers of non-Christian religions is gracious but uncompromising: turn “to God from idols to serve the living and true God, and to wait for His Son from heaven, Whom He raised from the dead – Jesus, Who rescues us from the coming wrath” (1 Thessalonians 1:9-10), “for, ‘Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’ How, then, can they call on the One they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the One of Whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can they preach unless they are sent?” (Romans 10:14-15) Therefore, Christians must obey the Great Commission. “Then Jesus came to them and said, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age’” (Matthew 28:18-20).