“let it be known to all of you and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead–by this name this man stands here before you in good health. He is the STONE WHICH WAS REJECTED by you, THE BUILDERS, but WHICH BECAME THE CHIEF CORNER stone. And 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.” (Acts 4:10-12)
Have you ever heard a Christian say that there is only one way to heaven or that there is only one way of salvation? I hope so.
We say this not because we made it up. We didn’t invent it, though there are countless inventions of the sort in the world.
We don’t say it because it makes us feel special. It is not said out of a desire to control others through the guise of religion. No, we say there is only one way of salvation because that’s what God’s inspired word says; and we believe it because we have come to know that salvation personally by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.
In this age of tolerance, surely, the idea of “no other name” must be rejected and even hated. Christians! So intolerant! But are we? And is it actually us that you rail against? Your condemnation does not actually target us, for we are only repeating what we have heard and read from God’s word. We are only sharing the good news of what rescued us from the pit of hell and gave us abundant life. (John 10:10) We want those things for you too!
The intolerance you accuse us of does not exist in us nor come from us. Really. We would never dare to set the way to eternal life by our finite minds. That would be the height of arrogance! The intolerance, or more accurately, the decree comes from elsewhere. The decree came from heaven. It originated with God. It comes from Him, this truth of “no other name”. It is God’s invention. His will. His plan. To His glory. All other ways have been invented by mankind (or worse – by demons). These other ways start from within finite humanity and attempt to reach up to heaven or paradise or somewhere. Salvation in Christ originated in heaven and came down to us. God incarnate!
God is the only one who has the power and the right to set the way of salvation and to determine the fate of all who deny it. That He decreed it is grace for you and me and all sinners. Do not despise the words “no other name”. Love them! Rejoice that there IS a name!! In it is great mercy. (Matthew 1:21)
Maybe you push this objection forward: What of those who have never heard the name or who are sincere in the faith that they put elsewhere for salvation? Why ask of them? Why not ask about yourself? But it’s not fair! Fair? Is it wise to project our human sense of justice unto the Creator of the Universe? It is far better to take Him at His word: no other name.
Though you bring concern for others, maybe you have no worry for yourself. You are sure there is more than one way. At the very least, there’s your way: your ceremonies and works of goodness. Do you not see that in there is the hope that your name saves? Is your name something? Can a sinner save himself in his own name or justify himself before God? God help him. His good works cannot save. (Ephesians 2:8-9, Galatians 2:16) His name is nothing in respect to salvation. There is no power there to save and certainly no perfection. Can he in his own name really be good, really? Can he keep the law? No. (Romans 3:23, James 2:10)
One man cannot save himself by his works, but what of a group of people gathered in a system of salvation? The truth is that God’s word never names the name of a group of people, a church, a congregation, or any institution as the way of salvation. It only names one name: Jesus.
Maybe, if you were to be honest, you might admit that you do worry for yourself. Is there a suppressed objection squirming in you? Do you fear that this name can’t save you? Maybe you think that you are too great a sinner. My dear heart, you’ve got it backwards. You are still looking at yourself. The question is not about the depth or breadth or longevity of your sin. The measure is not in the sinner; it is in the Savior! Who is the one whose name we are talking about? Look at Him. Who is He? Only the one who died on the cross for the forgiveness of sins, the only one able to be the perfect sacrifice, the only one worthy to take the book and break its seals. (Luke 24:46-47, Hebrews 10:12, Revelation 5:9) Holy. Sinless. Perfect. Creator. Upholder of all things. God the Son! (John 6:69, 1 Peter 2:22, Hebrews 9:14, Colossians 1:16-17, Hebrews 1:3, John 1:1, John 8:58, Titus 2:13) Salvation is in His name, this Jesus, not another Jesus (2 Corinthians 11:4), or in any other name, because of all He is and has done. Do not despise “no other name”. Cry out to the name who saves! Call on the name of the LORD!
“She will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.” (Matthew 1:21)
“And He [Jesus] was saying to them, ‘You are from below, I am from above; you are of this world, I am not of this world. Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for unless you believe that I am He, you will die in your sins.'” (John 8:23-24)
“and after he brought them out, he said, ‘Sirs, what must I do to be saved?’ They said, ‘Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.’” (Acts 16:30-31)
“But what does it say? ‘THE WORD IS NEAR YOU, IN YOUR MOUTH AND IN YOUR HEART’–that is, the word of faith which we are preaching, that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved;” (Romans 10:8-9)
“for ‘WHOEVER WILL CALL ON THE NAME OF THE LORD WILL BE SAVED.'” (Romans 10:13)
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