An exclusive message with a universal
invitation Nov. 18, 2009.
Of all of the topics that I’ve addressed in speaking or writing, the two that tend to result in the most feedback are sin and exclusivism. It’s the second one that I wish to speak to.
Exclusivism teaches that accessing the one true God for forgiveness and salvation can be accomplished only through Jesus Christ.
This is the opposite of universalism which claims that there is only one God, but there are many ways to come to Him.
One illustration used to support the universalist position is that if one were to travel from Stettler to Calgary there are many roads that lead to the same destination. It doesn’t matter which route you travel as long as you arrive in Calgary.
It’s a good illustration except that when considering the matter of salvation, we’re not talking about a trip or a destination, but a relationship with God.
An illustration that I’ve used involves my son. If a boy arrives at my door uninvited and unknown to me, boldly announcing that he will be staying at my place I might have a few things to say.
In fact he would probably not become my house guest; why would he? He has no connection to me; we have no relationship.
But when my son brings a friend home and introduces that friend to me requesting he be allowed to stay, the answer would typically be yes. Why? Because the new person came to me (the father) through a relationship already established with the son.
The New Testament shares many passages indicating that Jesus and His finished work on Calvary’s cross is God’s singular provision for coming to Him.
Jesus made an exclusive statement in John 14:6 when He said “I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father, but by me.”
Acts 4:12, with reference to Jesus states, “There is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.”
The message of salvation is exclusive…but the invitation to salvation is universal; totally open to everyone. Jesus Himself says, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me” (Revelation 3:20).
“O come to the Father, through Jesus the Son,
And give Him the glory, great things He has done.” – Fanny Crosby
— Pastor Ross Helgeton is senior pastor at Erskine Evangelical Free Church