Acts 4:12 (NASB), “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.”
About two months ago, I was in the City Market parking lot one morning after getting my daily dose of caffeine from Starbucks when I came across a car that had three bumper stickers on the back of the car. All of the bumper stickers had to do with tolerance — each one having multiple religious symbols ranging from the cross and Star of David, to the crescent of Islam and sundry others.
I took a picture and then posted the picture on Facebook and tagged it to a good friend of mine. I know how this friend absolutely abhors these bumper stickers, so I did this in a spirit of good humor between two friends.
After a period of several weeks my friend finally commented on this, which sometimes happens in Facebook land. After he had commented there followed a total of 60 some posts about this picture! I was astounded when I finally saw this and then began to read the dialogue between my friend and four people that I attended high school with.
On one side was my friend who is a devoted Christ follower and who understands that there is only one way to salvation as Scripture tells us. On the other hand, were my old friends who all in one form or another hold to the belief that there are multiple ways to personal fulfillment and peace with God. In other words, there is no right or wrong way to a belief in God. All religious views therefore are of equal value and also are equally valid. A few of the posts were angry with my friend because he was uncompromising in the scriptural truth of salvation by faith in Jesus Christ alone. What I observed in these posts were the extreme discomfort that we often feel with the exclusive nature of the gospel. The reality is, despite the way one would like things to be, there is only one way to salvation and that is through the Son of God Jesus Christ.
In Acts 4:12, Peter and John are standing before the Sanhedrin defending the healing of a lame beggar outside of the Temple. It is during his defense of their healing that Peter gets to the exclusive nature of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Salvation is the great issue for all of us, whether we acknowledge this reality or not. Why do we need salvation? Because each one of us is a sinner, this means that each and every day, often numerous times during the day, we go against God’s will in our lives. There are no degrees to our sin because all sin is offensive to God and the consequence of sin is the same for all of us. Romans 3:23 says, “For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.”
This is the condition that we are in, but God is a god of love, mercy and grace. We cannot save ourselves, we cannot invent ways to find peace with God, salvation is not different for different people and it is not based on an inner peace or on our good works. God is a god of order not confusion, and so there is only one way to salvation and that is through his son, Jesus Christ.
Peter says in verse 12, “And there is salvation in no one else …” Salvation is translated from the Greek to mean “deliverance, preservation.” We are delivered from our sins and the eternal price we must pay for those sins by Jesus Christ and his shed blood on the cross. We are preserved in that salvation by Christ and by his Holy Spirit.
In the second part of Acts 4:12, Peter continues with, “For there is no other name given under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.” This refers to the exclusive nature of salvation by faith in Jesus Christ. There are only two religious paths: the broad way of works salvation which ultimately leads to eternal death or the narrow path of faith in Christ which leads to eternal life. In Matthew 7:13-14, Jesus said, “Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.”
In John 14:6, Jesus was even more specific when he said of himself, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through me.” Only one way leads to God, not multiple ways of our own construction. Jesus Christ is the way to the forgiveness of sins, a relationship with God and eternal life.
In our pluralistic culture in which every opinion is respected no matter how crazy or illogical those opinions might be, this is a very hard truth for many to accept. We live in culture in which we are taught that truth is negotiable and truth is personal in nature. In other words, just because you believe something to be true does not make it true. Yet the Bible directly contradicts this falsehood. Jesus declares the exclusive nature of salvation by faith in him alone. This means he was either delusional, a liar, or the savior of mankind.
At some point, we all must answer the question of who Jesus really is? We will either ignore him and his call to salvation by faith in him or we will repent of our sins and place our faith and trust in him. What is your reality when it comes to Jesus and his claims? Who do you believe him to be?