Mar 28, 2012

One Way of Salvation

Acts 4:11–12

“There is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved” (v. 12).

Christians throughout history have always faced challenges to their faith. During the first few centuries following Jesus’ ministry, the church dealt with Greeks who could not conceive of God entering the material world in the incarnation. The eighteenth-century Enlightenment produced many thinkers who denied the possibility of miracles and the reality of Christ’s supernatural ministry. Other examples could be listed, all proving the truth of Jesus’ promise that His followers will face tribulation and opposition in this world (John 16:33).

Today, the most common challenge to Christianity comes from those who deny that conscious faith in Jesus is the only way of salvation. In our postmodern, relativistic age, Christians who believe what Jesus said about being the sole Mediator of redemption (14:6) are often seen as narrow-minded, bigoted, and mean-spirited. Even professing evangelicals are increasingly apt to deny this foundational Christian claim: “There is salvation in no one else [besides Jesus], for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:11–12).

Professing Christians who deny, question, or do not forthrightly proclaim the exclusivity of Jesus tend to think they are being humble. Since human knowledge is limited, they reason, to claim that we know Jesus alone is the way to the Father is arrogant and culturally insensitive. Such thinking misses the source of our belief in Christ’s exclusivity. If we were the originators of this conclusion, it might indeed be arrogant to affirm Jesus as the only way of salvation. But we did not come up with the belief that we can be saved only through Jesus; God’s revelation is the fount. John 14:6, Acts 4:11–12, and 1 Timothy 2:5 are but three passages teaching that Jesus is the one way of salvation. Actually, if the Bible is the Word of God (2 Tim. 3:16–17), to claim that there is salvation outside of Christ is profoundly arrogant. How else could we accurately describe the denial of what God Himself says?

Question and answer 29 of the Heidelberg Catechism indicate that when we acknowledge the Son of God as Jesus the Savior, we are confessing that there is one way to the Father. Christ is not a savior but the Savior, and “it is futile to look for any salvation elsewhere.”

Coram Deo

The pressure to deny the exclusivity of Jesus is enormous, and, barring a revival, this pressure is only likely to increase. Holding fast to the confession of Christ as the only Savior requires a thorough grounding in the Scriptures and an understanding that God does not grant salvation to everyone. If we are clear that God is not obligated to save us, we will be more in awe of His grace and amazed that He has chosen to provide even one way of redemption.

For Further Study