We saw yesterday that the clear teaching of the New Testament is that Jesus is the only way of salvation. The overwhelming testimony of Scripture is that Jesus Christ alone can give us eternal life, salvation and the hope of heaven as our home. Why is Jesus the only way of salvation? The answer to this question lies in the problem of sin and man’s depravity. To understand this we have to see the whole of redemptive history.
In order to see the whole of redemptive history, we have to drop the Adam Bomb. The Adam Bomb isn’t an atomic warhead. Instead, it is the fall of man that happened in the Garden of Eden. Scripture teaches that God created the world and everything in it and He then created the man Adam and placed him in a paradise called the Garden of Eden that he was to tend and keep.
In this paradise, all of Adam’s needs were met except his need for companionship. So God took a rib from Adam and made a woman that was called Eve. As Adam and Eve lived in the garden, they had near-perfect communion with God and they were allowed to eat freely of every tree in the garden except one, the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. God told them that the day they ate from that tree they would surely die (Gen 2:16-17).
Then Satan came along and tempted Eve by casting doubt on God’s Word, contradicting God’s Word and finally convincing Eve that God was trying to keep them from something good. So Adam and Eve took the fruit, ate it and at that moment died spiritually (Gen 3:1-6). Keep in mind that man was created in the image of God (Gen 2:26-27). Part of what this means is that just as God is three in one, so man is also three in one.
Humans are not just a physical body but are body, soul and spirit. The body is just what it sounds like, our physical body. The soul is basically the will, emotions and the intellect. Then there is the spirit. The spirit of man is the part of man that can know, love and communicate with God. It was this part of Adam that died when he sinned against God. From that moment on, every human ever born was born spiritually dead, separated from God and resistant to the rule of God.
“Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned” Romans 5:12 (NKJV)
This is the Adam Bomb that has been dropped on each and every one of us. It is something that we cannot fix on our own. This spiritual death and some of the results of spiritual death are elaborated on in the first few verses of Ephesians 2.
“And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.” Ephesians 2:1-3 (ESV)
All humanity is spiritually dead in our trespasses and sins. There are some today that seek to teach that humanity is “sin-sick”. In this view, humanity is not well, they are sick and perhaps even mortally sick but the situation is not hopeless. All people are at least partially spiritually alive and as long as they are alive, there is hope. In this view, man can make changes that will fix the problems in their lives. They can turn over a new leaf, educate themselves, become a more moral person or do any number of other things to turn themselves around. The main problem with this view is the Bible. The Bible teaches us something vastly different than sin-sickness. Instead of being sin-sick the Bible teaches that we are sin dead and unable to change our circumstances (Rom 5:6).
The phrase “the course of this world” refers to the natural way of life for people that are in rebellion against God and resisting His rule over their lives. In other words, when someone rejects Christ and resists God’s rule over their lives there is a certain path their life will take and a certain way they will live. For some this path will be a life of debauchery that thumbs its nose at God’s righteous standards. While for others this path will be a life of morality that sees no real need for Jesus Christ in his or her life. . Both of these two people are equally disobedient to God.
We see in the last of verse 3 that that we were by nature the children of wrath, just as the others. It’s important for us to understand that one of the reasons we need Jesus Christ is that there is a day of judgment coming when people will give an account of their lives to God. On this day only Jesus Christ can save us from the wrath of God.
We live in a country where roughly 80% of Americans claim to believe in God. A large number of those believe that there is a heaven and there is a hell. What the vast majority also believe is that all people are headed to heaven by default and have to do something seriously bad to end up in hell. Scripture on the other hand teaches that is not true at all. According to Scripture, all people are by their nature the children of wrath and so their default eternity is hell. Only faith in Jesus Christ changes this default setting.
Understanding why Jesus is the only way starts with understanding the fall of man and the consequences that fall had upon us all. We were all born spiritually dead, separated from God and resistant to the rule of God. This resulted in all of us taking actions that God calls sin. Tomorrow we will look and see that not only are we sinners by birth but also by our actions.