Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life, no one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6
Most read Jesus statement like this, “Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life, and the way to get to the Father is through Jesus.” When we read Jesus statement “no one comes to the Father except through me” we put the “action” on ourselves. We understand Jesus saying if we accept Him and follow Him we will go to heaven where the Father dwells. In this application we have to do something (action) to reach the Father and in our thinking go to heaven. If I believe (action) in Jesus, accept (action) Jesus, and follow (action) after Jesus then I will go to heaven and be with God.
But what about people who don’t accept and follow Jesus? Are they isolated from the Father? Do they go to heaven? If the only way to God and to heaven is to accept and follow Jesus, what about those who never hear about Jesus?
In this understanding Jesus becomes our propitiation and by accepting Him grace is given and we are reconcile to God with the promise of eternal life in heaven. But the “Action” to receiving this grace is WE have to do something. We have to BELIEVE, ACCEPT, and FOLLOW.
But what if there is another way of understanding Jesus’ statement. What would happen if we put the “action” on Jesus instead of ourselves? What if we read Jesus statement like this, “Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life, and He has made the way to the Father.”
In this understanding Jesus becomes our propitiation and we are reconcile to God with the promise of eternal life in heaven. But the “Action” is all on Jesus. In this application Jesus had done all the work and we are reconciled not by our works (actions), but are reconciled through Jesus. Which might be why they call it grace. Grace is given and applied not because of anything we have done, so no one can boast; but grace is freely given because of what Jesus has done.
But here is the big difference between those two different ways of understanding Jesus statement. In the second understanding where the “Action” is put on Jesus reconciliation is given to all, even those who have never heard about Jesus, because the action is on Jesus and not on us.
I can hear my conservation friends making this statement. There is no incentive to accept and follow Jesus if reconciliation is applied to all.
I thought the incentive to follow Jesus was out of our love for Him. I thought the incentive to follow Jesus is because He is the TRUTH, and the LIFE - meaning His teachings when followed bring life and joy to living.
In the first application the action is on “ME”. I do that action to GET something from God. In the second application the action is on “JESUS”. When I understand/hear what Jesus has done I follow Him not to GET something, but because I want to GIVE Him something. I want to give Him my LOVE because of His AMAZING GRACE!