He’s the surest way to gladness
Everyone wants to be happy, and you might feel happy enough with the way your life is, but if the source of your happiness is something this world has given, then it’s something this world can take – your happiness is vulnerable – it will be taken from you at some time and it may be taken from you at any time.
The gospel of Christ offers you blessings that the world can’t give or take. That means that if disaster strikes, or when trials come, the Christian always has something to rejoice in.
Also, if the source of our happiness is something this world has given, then not only does that source not last, but the happiness doesn’t either. Whatever gives you gladness in this world is something you will tire of eventually if you are looking to it for fulfilment. Solomon put it like this, “All the rivers run into the sea, yet the sea is not full” (Ecclesiastes 1:7). The human heart is too big for the world to fill. Christ is an eternal source of eternal joy. He is big enough to fill your heart and satisfy your spirit forever.
He's the best way to goodness
A lot of people think that the purpose of religion is to make people good, and it is arrogant to say one way is better than another.
Let’s just ignore for the moment the mistaken presumption about the purpose of religion, and acknowledge that many religions help people live decent lives, (although there is no faith that can match Christianity for the powerful, positive changes it makes in individuals and societies).
However, I want to suggest that every worldview apart from Christianity is a barrier to true goodness, because they all encourage you to do “good” for your own sake. If you want to get to heaven, paradise, nirvana etc. you have to live a “good life”. This leads to you doing “good works” so that you get a reward, but that’s just self-interest, not true goodness.1 This comes out over and over again as I speak to religious people about the gospel. When I tell them that salvation is not by works, inevitably they ask the same question, “Well, why bother doing good works then?” By asking that question they are admitting that their motivation is their own salvation. J. Warner Wallace has put it like this:
It seems to me that rules-based and works-based religious systems don’t actually produce ‘good’ people. They instead produce people who LOOK good. True goodness is a heart condition. It’s a reflection of who we are when no one is looking. It’s a reflection of our desire to do what’s right, even when there is nothing in it for us. It’s one thing to experience joy or satisfaction for doing what you know you ought to do; it’s another thing to do something ONLY because you are hoping to gain a prize. If we are only ‘performing’ because we are hoping to get the reward of ‘Salvation’, we’re merely trying to serve ourselves by earning a prize. On the other hand, if our hearts are so changed that we desire to behave morally even when the carrot of salvation is not dangling in front of us, then we can say that we truly are ‘good’ people.
If you are looking for a spiritual worldview in which truly good people are even possible, you are going to have to look for one that does not REQUIRE good works. Now what religious worldview teaches that Salvation is NOT the result of anything that you can do, but is instead the result of something that has already been done for you by God Himself? There is only one; it is called Christianity.
Good works are only possible if they play no part in our salvation. The Christian does what he does, not because the carrot of salvation is dangling in front of him, or the stick of hell is behind him – he does it for God and for others. Furthermore, when someone receives Christ as Saviour, the Holy Spirit of God comes to live within him to enable him to live and love a life of goodness in a way he never could before.
He's the only way to God
Some might say they aren’t particularly sad or bad – they have enough happiness and morality in their lives already and so they don’t need Jesus. However, when Jesus said He was the way, He wasn’t talking about the way to gladness or the way to goodness, He was talking about the way to God. People might have gladness or goodness to some degree without Christ, but they can’t have God without Him.
We are separated from God because of the wrong we have done, and, because God is a God of perfect justice, those sins must be answered for and the penalty paid. That’s why no amount of working on our part can ever bring us to God, and that’s why Jesus is the way. He came from heaven and became a man so that He could act as our representative. When He was on the cross He gave Himself to take the punishment sinners deserve and make the payment God demands. His resurrection from the dead is the assurance that God’s justice has been satisfied, and, because of that, we can be reconciled to God.
If you know you are separated from God and want to be brought back, then turn to Jesus Christ in repentance. He will bring you to God now and into heaven when life is over. There is no other way.
- This is true even for the atheist – secular morality is essentially “treat others as you want to be treated.” Morality can rise no higher than that because atheism demolishes the foundation for calling anything objectively good or evil.