Polls in the United States consistently reveal that about 95% of us believe in the existence of God or a higher power. Does this mean that 95% of Americans are in right relationship with God? Not according to Jesus. He said that no one can come to the Father except through Him (John 14:6). His own, personally-trained disciples stated that a right relationship with God (salvation) is found only through Jesus (Acts 4:12).
As recorded in John 8:34-47, Jesus was interacting with some Jewish leaders. Jesus stated that anyone who sins is a slave to sin (v. 34) but that He as the Son of Man can set us free (v. 36). The Jewish leaders denied being in bondage to sin and declared their belief in God (v. 41). Jesus said that if they were truly of God they would love Him (v. 42). But their rejection of Him means they are children of the devil and do not belong to God (vv. 44, 47). The conclusion to Jesus’ teaching here is this: If I won’t confess faith in Jesus as God the Son, then I don’t have a right relationship with God the Father either. Why?
The entire human race was in despair until God announced that He would be our redeemer (Isaiah 43:1). This is the genius of the incarnation of Jesus Christ to earth. Because Jesus Christ is God, He is holy and without sin. Because He is human, He is qualified to represent us as our redeemer. No other human has ever been holy and able to offer Himself to God as our substitute and as a just ransom to redeem us from sin and death. As the apostle Peter said, “For Christ also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, so that He might bring us to God” (1 Peter 3:18). That’s why Jesus, without being intolerant, can say, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father but through me” (John 14:6). It’s a true statement!
Jesus becomes our way to God when we enter into personal faith in Him, as the apostle John states: “Yet to all who received Him [Jesus], to those who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God…” (John 1:12, NIV). Merely “believing in God” will not take away our sin, nor will it save us, nor will it admit us to Heaven when we die. After all, James reminds us that even the demons believe God is one (James 2:19) yet their intellectual assent has not made them children of God. The apostle John makes the way definitively clear: “And the testimony is this, that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has the life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have the life” (1 John 5:11-12).