The Bible contains central truths that are absolutes and must be understood by all. The central theme of the Bible is the story of man's creation, his fall and his redemption. Bill Stearns said in his book 20/20 Vision "The story of the Bible has a simple unified theme: The Redeemer offers every ethnic group on Earth the blessing of joining God's family. He is putting together a people from every people group on Earth. This theme appears throughout the Bible. The presence of a mission mandate throughout scripture is settled." There is one plan to redeem all of mankind and it is clearly and consistently revealed from Genesis to Revelation. This plan must be central to our mission.
The scripture states, "Everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God's glorious standard" (Rom 3:23 and Ps 53:3, Ps 130:3, Prov 20:9, Eccl 7:20, Isa 53:6, Gal 3:22, 1 John 1:8). Stanley A. Ellison wrote, "In that moment of decision Man thrust himself outside the stabilizing axis of God's will and began the swirling catapult into the oblivion of a godless existence." This makes sin universal to everyone and therefore sin eternally separates all men from God (Rom 6:23).
But, "God so loved the world" that rather than leave man in this fallen condition "he gave his one and only Son, that whoever would believe on him would not perish but have eternal life" (John 3:16). Romans 5:8 says, "God demonstrated his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us". Jesus Christ freed us from sin when he paid the penalty for our sins. For God presented Jesus as the sacrifice for sin. People are made right with God when they believe that Jesus sacrificed his life, shedding his blood. (Rom 3:24, 25) Jesus was handed over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification (Rom 4:23). Paul writing to Timothy tells us, "There is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself as a ransom for all" (1 Tim. 2:5-6) in order that we may not have to "pay the penalty of eternal destruction" (2 Thes. 1:9) and those who "Believe in the Lord Jesus, shall be saved," (Acts 16:31). And this is God's desire, "God our Savior wants all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth of their salvation (1 Tim. 2:4)". The sacrifice of Christ was the only way to provide salvation for man and salvation has been universally made available to all those who will receive. This is not to imply that all man will universally accept Christ. Sadly we know this will not be the case.
We have to make sure our doctrine is clear; there is no other way, there is no back door, all religions do not lead to the same end, everyone is not right. There is only One Truth, One Path that leads to eternal life and that is acknowledging your sin and believing upon Christ Jesus as your eternal savior. When we understand sin and its power to separate eternally we must conclude that everyone who exits this life without having received the redemption of sins by receiving Christ Jesus is eternally separated from God. People have asked, "What about those around the world that have never heard--what about the Muslims, Hindus, or even the Jews"? Let me state emphatically all we have to shape our understanding of this matter is Scripture and we cannot speculate beyond that. I understand this is a terrible, terrible reality and for those who love deeply these peoples it can be very painful to even contemplate this, but the truth is that there is only one way and we do not have the right to invent alternate theologies in order to simply soothe our souls. We need to embrace the truth and the responsibility to communicate this truth to a lost world. This is our mission--Redemption.