It is an audacious claim of the Christian faith that there is only one way to heaven. “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,” we believe. Not most, not some, but all. Since all of us have sinned, all of us are lost and in need of saving. And this saving we so badly need can come from only one Savior since “there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” Thus, we believe, there is only one way to be saved, only one way to heaven—Jesus Christ who is “the way, the truth, and the life.” No one comes to relationship with God, no one comes into the presence of God, no one gets to heaven, except through faith in Jesus Christ.
But why? Why is there only one way to heaven? The answer is far simpler than we may think. Far more logical, too. There is only one way into heaven because there is only one way out of heaven.
The fact is, in essence, there is only one kind of person on this earth. While in some regards humanity is a stunning display of diversity, there is something that unites us, something that is essentially the same: We are all descendants of one man. This first man Adam was our representative. He stood before God as the head of the human race and was able to choose whether we would be at peace with God or at war, whether we would submit to God or rebel against his rule. He chose war. He chose rebellion. And he made this choice not only on his own behalf, but on behalf of all who would follow in his line. He was, after all, our head, our representative. When he went to war, we went to war.
And so, since Adam, there has only been one kind of person. Each of us has been born in that state of rebellion, with a sinful nature that is inherited from our birth parents and, ultimately, from our first parents. Those who were born thousands of years in the past and those who were born moments ago are the same in that regard. Those who were born in the metropolises of North America and those who were born on the distant islands of the Pacific are alike. All are born under the dominion of sin, with a nature inclined toward sin, with a desire to commit sin, and, therefore, with hands, feet, minds, and mouths that actually do sin. As the psalmist says so bluntly,
None is righteous, no, not one;
no one understands;
no one seeks for God.
All have turned aside; together they have become worthless;
no one does good,
not even one.
Not even one. Not you, not me, not him, not she.
Yet it is on the heels of this bad news that we find such good news. Because we are all in the same condition, we all need the same salvation. Because damnation came through one representative, salvation can come through a second. And sure enough, just as all fell in Adam, all can be made alive in Jesus. Just as Adam stood before God and was rebellious on our behalf, Jesus stood before God and was obedient on our behalf. In this way we fall and stand on our sameness. The one road that leads us away from God is paralleled by the one road that leads us back to him.
Ultimately, there is only one way into relationship with God because there is only one way out of relationship with God—sin. There is only one way to heaven because there’s only one way to hell—rebellion. There is only one way to be saved because there is only one kind of person who needs to be saved—sinful rebels like you and me. The only path to heaven leads through the only Savior, Jesus Christ.