In our last week’s broadcast we considered the beautiful Word of God in Acts 4:12, “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” We saw that those were the words spoken by the apostle Peter before the Jewish Council. The Jewish Council had called Peter to answer the question, by whose power or authority he had healed a lame man at the temple. They had also forbidden him ever to speak in the name of Jesus Christ, the Jesus Christ whom the Jews at that time so bitterly hated and rejected. Peter is preaching the gospel before them and is declaring that the only way of salvation is to be found in Jesus Christ.
I would like to point out to you today, from this beautiful Word of God, that it is Jesus only, exclusively, in whom salvation is found.
Peter said that there is no other name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved. He means to teach that salvation is exclusively in Jesus, in the Jesus of the Bible, that is, revealed in the infallible Bible. There is salvation in no other name under heaven or among men. That is, the Word of God is saying to us: “Look under all that lies beneath heaven. You may search, look, and examine: go to the universities where you find the very best of man’s wisdom; climb mountains, enter into various temples, examine all the religions known to mankind, look at the sacrifices and practices of these religions. Examine the teachings of Mohammed, Buddha, the cults. There is no salvation in them. They cannot save one soul.”
Jesus Christ, of the Bible, does not take His place in line with any other. That means that apart from Jesus Christ, as He is revealed in the Holy Scriptures, there is no salvation. Apart from Jesus Christ revealed in the Holy Scripture as the substitute, as the One given by God to die in the place of those whom God has chosen and to die in the behalf of their sins, apart from this One there is no salvation. If there is no salvation apart from Jesus Christ, then there is only damnation apart from Him. Jesus Christ, as He is made known upon the pages of the Bible, is the only way to peace with God.
Follow me very carefully in this next thought. Falsehood can tolerate falsehood. But truth can never tolerate falsehood. Two lies can live in the same house and never quarrel. But truth cannot live with the lie. The Hindu, the Mohammedan, the modern church may all say, “Well, we hope one day all to meet together.” It may be well accepted for men today to say, “Well, we all serve God, but we just call Him by other names.” But you must understand that the Jesus Christ of the Bible, who is the only Savior, cannot and does not take His place alongside of or with any other. But He denounces all others as a lie, as impotent, as a delusion, as being unable to save. It is Jesus alone.
Always the gospel of Jesus Christ would be received by favor with men if that gospel is presented merely as a way, one way, a possible way of salvation. If the gospel of Jesus Christ is presented as: “Well, here are a few suggestions, or something to consider, or some positive contributions to man’s general questions,” then the gospel would be received. But the offense of gospel of Jesus Christ as He is revealed in the Bible is this: Jesus Christ declares that he is the only way. And He makes war upon all other supposed ways of salvation as being delusions, false and impotent.
Many will say to what I have said, “Oh, yes. Jesus saves. But it is uncharitable to say anything that may condemn another belief.” I ask the question: “How is that charity?” Is it charity to say nothing when a blind man is nearing the rocks over the cliff, ready to dash himself to death, believing that he is safe? Is it charity to say nothing when immigrants are boarding a leaking boat, believing and trusting that this boat is able to carry them to safety when, in reality, it is going to carry them to a watery grave? Is it charity not to cry out and to warn of danger, of putting your trust in that which cannot save?
Peter is saying, Apart from Jesus, unless you are resting in Jesus, you must perish. He is not saying to the Jews of his day, Your system is noble, there are many redeemable points. We have found it very useful. Now we would like to enter into a dialogue with you as to whether or not Jesus contributes to salvation. No! He says concerning all rejection of Jesus Christ, there is no salvation in your religion. Salvation is only in the Jesus of the Bible. That is the Word of God. Not in superstitions, not in philosophies of men (and there are a host of them: the New Age Movement, Hinduism, Judaism, and on and on we can go). They come to us and they say, This is the way whereby you will find that inner peace by which you may come to God. In fact, this is the way whereby you actually become God. They say, Take your child and cast him into the river. This will satisfy the God. They say, Worship God as an animal or as a figure, lacerate your flesh– wear rough clothing, or push pins through your ears and nose. I denounce all of that in God’s name as demons sent among men to delude them. Jesus alone, the Jesus of the Bible, saves.
But, coming closer, there are also many so-called gospels which deny the truth about Jesus Christ. Yet they claim that they have a Jesus who can save. There are many who say, I believe in God and in His Son Jesus Christ; but don’t let that interfere with what I want in my life. There are many who claim that one can have Jesus as Savior but not as their Lord. There arc many who say that Jesus must simply accommodate Himself to me and my life-style. So they have a Jesus who condones their life-style, a Jesus who is Savior and is not Lord. I denounce that, on the ground of God’s Word, as a delusion.
There is no salvation in a Jesus who simply lets me be who I want to be and who I am. There are many who say, “Well, we will follow Jesus, but just don’t let Him interfere with my dating, with my companionship. And certainly don’t let His day, the Lord’s day, curtail my fun.” We have, now, a Jesus who is merged with cultural icons, or a Jesus who sets aside the fundamentals of the faith revealed in the Bible. In the name of Jesus, I denounce it. It is an utter delusion. It is founded upon man’s fancy. It is an idol. It is not the God of the Scripture.
A God who is without holiness and justice? A God who does not call His people to faith and repentance and to a new life? Dear ones, such a faith may sound good on the surface, and it may serve as a toy to play with, but it is far too unreal to die with. It is utterly false. It fails to meet the wants of the conscience. There is no rest for our souls there. It cannot save. Jesus is not the Jesus of positive thinking. He is not the Christ proclaimed by popular TV preachers who strip Him of His deity and sovereignty. He is not the Jesus of free-willism, the Jesus who is impotent and unable to save, waiting upon the sinner himself first to give his consent before He can actually save, who gives the glory to man. He is not the Jesus who is left when men have nullified the greater part of the Scriptures, when men have denied the creation in twenty-four hours as God has said, or the virgin birth and still say, We believe in Jesus. That is not the Jesus of salvation. But that name, above all names, is the name which is revealed in the Holy Scriptures, the Jesus who is to be confessed in all of His glory, deity, sovereignty, and might. Only the Jesus of the infallible Bible saves.
But let us come still closer. There is no salvation in ourselves, in our good works, in our faith, in our repentance. All of those things are necessary for the one who is saved. All of those things will be the fruit and the result of being saved. But none of those things is the cause for salvation.
Self-righteousness holds a very firm place in our nature. After all these years, Adam’s fig-leaves are still the preferred religion of man. It lurks in every sinner to think that he will get to heaven by what he does. Certainly there lurks in our hearts the words of the Pharisee: I am not as other men are. There is something redeemable about me. Do not my contributions to the church count for something? What about my obedience, and my faithfulness to my wife or husband? What about my prayers? Don’t those things count for something?
And the answer of the Bible is this: As far as obtaining the right for you to go to heaven, all of those things account for a flat Zero. Sometimes it can be put very piously: Yes, I trust in Jesus Christ and in the mercy of God to do the rest. I have gone a long way, and Christ will make up what remains. So that Jesus must come and put Himself in yoke with your works and the two of you pull the cart. Jesus and I prayed. I denounce that from the Word of God, Isaiah 63:3: “I have trodden the winepress alone, and of the people there was none with me.” Salvation is not accomplished partially by Jesus and partially by you as His helper. As one who is saved, you certainly are called to live in all obedience to His will out of a new heart of joyful thanks. But your works, your prayers, your repentance are not the reason for your salvation. Jesus alone! Away with all religions that seek to add to Jesus Christ. Away with priests who claim that they have the power to forgive sins. Away with the mass which claims that it has the power to remit, forgive sins, or indulgences or holy water or any ceremony whereby men say, By this ceremony we are able to present you spotless before God. Away with it all as a delusion. Salvation is to be found in Jesus alone, in His work received by the gift of a living faith.
But I must go still farther. There is no salvation in mere sincerity. Follow what I say. There are many who would respond, “Well, there are people who are mistaken in their beliefs but they are sincere, and they are very earnest about it.” As if sincerity in believing a lie is sufficient. As if simply being sincere about anything, whether it is the truth or not, will be sufficient for one’s salvation. We hear, “But the Buddhist is so sincere. The Mormon is so earnest and moral.” Beloved in the Lord Jesus Christ, the Christian is not simply an earnest man. A sincere man he is. But a Christian is not simply someone who feels strongly about something. About what do you feel strongly? You are sincere about what? It depends upon what you are sincere about. Is it the Jesus revealed in the Bible? The priests of Baal at the time of Elijah were very earnest and sincere. They cried and they cut themselves for Baal to send fire. Manassah one of the kings of Judah, was very sincere when he offered his son to Moloch in flaming fire. The apostle Paul, before he was converted, was a zealot. He was sincere when he persecuted the church of God. He meant it from his heart. And Martin Luther, the great Reformer, was sincere and went beyond all other priests in his religious order, thinking that by his works he would be saved. He was very sincere when he so lived in that delusion. The basis of salvation is not that someone sincerely believes something.
It is not, “Well, I feel good and I feel right about it. Therefore, it is OK. I will be saved.” The basis of salvation is Jesus Christ as He is made known in the sacred Scripture.
Now I know that I am going to be called bigoted and uncharitable and narrow-minded and offensive. But the truth is this: salvation is in Jesus to the uttermost. Outside of Him there is not a stitch of salvation. The greatest danger to the Christian faith today is that everything is true, there are many saviors, there are many ways to peace with God. Take the one that suits you. In the name of Jesus, I denounce it. The question is not, “What do you think, what do you feel?” But the question is this: “What does God say? What is pleasing to God? Has God spoken in the Bible, or has He not? Has God said in the Bible there is no way of salvation but in the way of Jesus alone? Or has He not? Has He said, All outside of Jesus shall be damned? Or has He not?”
I will not mention any more of the so-called ways to heaven. Every man seems to have his own way. Our human nature is always trying to build our own way. We think that giving perhaps a thousand dollars to charity, or building homes for the poor, that this will be the way of salvation. Not that those actions are not right– not good and necessary. Of course they are. But, you see, when we begin to trust upon them as being the reason for our salvation then we stand upon sinking sand. It cannot save us.
Let me speak very plainly. If you have any refuge tonight other than this text that Jesus alone saves, it is a refuge of lies. May God sweep it away and leave you bare and without shelter. It is better to have no shelter than to have a false one. Heaven has one gate. If it is not that way, through Jesus, there remains only a certain fearful looking for judgment and fiery indignation. Jesus is the only way.
But He is the sure way. He shall never fail. All who come to God through Him shall be saved. “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No man cometh unto the Father but by Me.” “All whom the Father hath given to Me, I will keep and lose none of them,” He said. That is the Word of God. It is all of the grace of God. There is a name given among men. That name is Jesus. It was a name that was given of God the Father, who has made the way to heaven, who has made the way to His presence. And that way is through the cross of Jesus Christ. The cross of Christ was not a tragic mistake or misunderstanding. It was not simply a man who was principled being misunderstood by His day and a tragedy took place. But the cross of Jesus Christ was God delivering His own Son over to the real and eternal and powerful justice of God against the sins of God’s chosen. And by that cross Jesus obtained, not only forgiveness, not only payment of the debt, but the power to lift us from the service of sin to serve Him as He now works in our hearts by the Holy Spirit. Salvation is in the name of Jesus. Jesus paid it all. All to Him I owe. He has washed me white as snow.
And Jesus Christ is not simply the one who stands to show the way. He is the way, right now. Powerfully He works by the Holy Spirit in our hearts so that those hearts become pricked, pricked over our sin, burdened and weary of our sins. Then He draws us to the fountain and there He washes us and makes us whole. He works in us both to will and to do of His Father’s good pleasure. Do you, by His love and grace, know that?
What is your posture towards God and towards sin? As you stand before the living God, what is your only plea? Do you look for something other than Jesus? You have heard the Word. And when the earth begins to shake and the stars fall at the return of Jesus Christ, you and I must witness that we have heard the answer to the question, How do I get to heaven? Only the cross of Jesus Christ, given to me, solely of grace. That is the way to heaven.
That is good news for convicted, weary, heavy-laden sinners. That is perfect rest and peace. Then today we confess, and one day before His very face we will confess, the answer to the question: How am I saved? How do I get to heaven? We will answer: By nothing, nothing but the blood of Jesus!
His blood avails for me.
God bless this word to your heart.
Let us pray:
Our Father, we thank Thee for Thy holy Word. We pray that Thou wilt indeed strip away from us all reliance or trust in anything other than Jesus for salvation, and then lift us up to live a life of grateful, thankful service, in His name, Amen.