Jesus said to him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man comes to the Father, but by me.
The passage implies —
I. THAT IT IS A PRIMARY DUTY OF ALL INTELLIGENT BEINGS TO COME TO GOD. God is the Father of all spirits, of all beings, to whom He has given an intelligent nature, on whom He has conferred moral capacities. From that very circumstance it is their first and positive obligation, and will constitute their happiness to come to Him, i.e., to have constant intercourse with Him. There is something solemn and impressive about it. To come into contact with the eternal and infinite mind! We feel strongly when we have a prospect of coming into contact with some eminent person. But everything falls short of the idea of coming into the presence of God. And then to have a proper idea of our responsibility, and our being constantly under His eye — and yet it is our primary duty to delight in this, and to do it.
II. THAT THERE IS A VERY REMARKABLE SINGULARITY ABOUT THE WAY IN WHICH MAN IS TO COME TO GOD. "No man cometh unto the Father but by Me." Anything like that was never uttered in heaven. It never was uttered, and never will be, in any world in which the beings continue to be just as they proceeded from the hands of God. They delight in constant intercourse with God. Why is this? Worlds that have never fallen are in a state of natural religion. With respect to us who have fallen, if we come to God we must come in a particular manner. And the singularity of this arises from our guilt. God is to be viewed by us not merely as God, but as a God whom we have offended. And, therefore, there is some process required to mark our circumstances, both upon God's part and upon ours. And the peculiarity of the thing as revealed in Scripture is, that we are to come to God, through a Mediator, and to plead the work and sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ, and to ask the forgiveness of sin, in the consideration of that reason. Now all just wows of religion rest upon this foundation. The Deist rejects revelation and a mediator altogether, because he looks abroad on the face of the world, and he thinks that nothing more is necessary to come to God but some prayer and some expression of penitence. Then, again, some men reject the idea of the Divinity and sacrifice of Christ, and think it is enough to come to God, as professing to receive the truth of Christ. These views result from very inadequate impressions of the holiness and majesty of God and of the nature of sin, and of that kind of medium which is represented in the New Testament as the way into the presence of the holiest of all.
III. THAT IN COMING TO GOD IT BECOMES US TO HAVE RESPECT TO THE MEDIATOR, AND TO COME ON THE SPECIFIC BUSINESS FOR WHICH HE IS APPOINTED. Only imagine that one of your children, or several of them, had deeply and grievously offended you. Or imagine the case of a monarch, against whom a certain portion of his subjects had rebelled. Imagine, in either of these cases, that some kind and gracious and affectionate declaration of readiness to forgive on certain conditions and in a certain way. And just imagine that either the child, or the subject should dare to come into the presence of the parent or of the sovereign, unconcerned about the matter wherein they had offended. Imagine that your child, without adverting to the circumstances of his actual offence, and of your displeasure, and to the plan which you had designed by which reconciliation might be effected between you — that your child came and praised the properties of your character, and rejoiced in the genuine affections of your nature, and the principles of your behaviour, and praising your heart, or your hands, or your head. Or conceive of the subjects entering the presence chamber of their monarch, and that without adverting to the proclamation that had been made, they should come and unite together in some manifestation of their feelings with regard to his government and his reign, and the happiness of his subjects; never once referring to the business on which they were supposed to come. Would there not be something monstrous in all this? And do you not perceive that the child would increase his offence, and that the subjects would add something like ingratitude and contempt to their rebellion? There are many who just treat God in this way.
IV. THAT IN COMING IN THE WAY THAT HAS BEEN POINTED OUT WE HAVE EVERY ENCOURAGEMENT; AND WE SHALL FIND IT TO BE SUFFICIENT. We shall have a welcome, and shall surely receive whatever is requisite to ensure for us happiness and satisfaction. "No man cometh unto the Father but by Me." But "whoever cometh I will in no wise cast out." And the reason why you do not enjoy all this is, because you will not.
V. THAT THOSE WHO COME TO GOD BY THE MEDIATOR, AND THEY ONLY, ARE PREPARED FOR DWELLING WITH GOD HEREAFTER. It is not enough to die, and be happy, as some people seem to imagine; you may die and be damned — the Bible says so.
VI. THAT THIS SUBJECT IS EXCEEDINGLY FORGOTTEN AND NEGLECTED BY MEN.
1. There are many men who never come to God at all. They never come in any way; they never think of it.
2. There are others who come to God, professedly, but in the wrong way. They do not come to the Father by the Son.
3. There are others who neglect the spirit of this declaration. They profess to come in the right way; but the particular exercises, and the positive enjoyments of religion, are to them an end of itself.
Parallel VersesKJV: Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.