Originally posted by Coconut
"I am the way, the truth, and the life, no man comes to the Father except by me."
I guess I'm wondering if any other religions boast the same statement, that there is only one way. No church I've ever been a part of says that accepting God's salvation is ONE of the ways to get to heaven. Nope, the only way. Meaning everyone else is wrong in their attempts to reach enlightenment.
I think you are both correct and incorrect. I am unaware of any scripture which states "alternative" means of salvation. However, it is important to consider that salvation by grace was not the original means by which a person was right with God.
The BC prinicple was to live "right", that is to say to live in accordance with the law of God which is written upon the heart of every man (i.e. innate understanding of the will of God). These took more definitive form with the ten commandments, Mosaic laws, etc. God judged people as such, and such is the manner in which people who have not been exposed to the teachings of Christ are judged today. What the Bible tells us is that salvation by grace is the "definitive" means of being right with God. The greates gift God has ever given to mankind.
You quoted "I am the way, the truth, and the life, no man comes to the Father except by me." Christ also clearly stated that he did not come to overrule the teachings of the prophets, but to fullfill them. As a personal reflection, what I see in the timeline here from the origin of man to the death of Christ is God revising the system ocassionaly to make it "easier" for the individual to be right with him. I have personal notions as to why God did this as such, but they are mere speculations, for another day. What is poignant about this is simply that God always made good on his previous statements, never rescinding previous spiritual law. Rather, he revised the "system" (for lack of a better word) to create more and more loop holes and to make things more and more definitive.
Further more, in regards to your quote, it is important to remember who Jesus is so as to have the proper context. Jesus is God. Thusly, I think it fair to read the quote as follows, "No man comes to be right with God by means of anything outside of God." Make sense?
While I have mused on the means of salvation, I also want to stress our inability to judge another persons spiritual relationship. It is adamantly clear in scripture that we can not know another mans realationship with God. This highly influences my notion in my earlier post. If we can not know, then we should not assume. God has been very specific in that he reserves judgement of the spiritual for himself and himself alone. He has told us that we are not worthy to judge our fellow mans relationship with him. Such being the case, how can we assert the notion that a loving God judges people unfairly? Obviously, this is a paradox.
I can not in honesty say I understand the will of God all the time. So I won't. I don't need to. I understand that God is the creator and that he is good. I trust the motive of my creator. He has always been there, wether I had the perception to see him at the time is another story. Regardless, I have learned two symbiotic principles that have served me well.
1) Question everything.
2) Don't second guess the divine.
Simply because I do not understand all I wish to know about something does not mean I need to doubt it. I simply accept it for what it is: a little mystery in the big mystery of life, which may or may not become clear to me in time with honest evaluation and questioning. No more, no less.