No Other Name

by Scarlett Stough

For the Scripture References and related Bible Study Guide, go to Bible Study Guide: Everyone Who Believes.

The Holy Bible makes an astounding claim: Salvation can be given to men only in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth (Acts 4:8-12). Some people find this offensive or foolish or both. How intolerant and prejudicial to make such a claim, some feel! We find ourselves living in a society in which those who declare this to be true are at risk socially, legally and even risk loss of employment. No wonder so many Christians and churches downplay the real Gospel, trying to make it attractive to increase numbers rather than boldly declaring the same good news Jesus, Peter, and Paul and others spoke.

The message we are to boldly declare by whatever means God provides is only by believing Jesus is the Son of God and the Savior of mankind will anyone be spared from the death penalty for our sins against our Creator, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. We cannot do enough good works to earn God's favor or obey enough rules; his favor is not for sale or earned; his favor is given to those who believe. We cannot claim "I didn't know." The truth really is out there for any who truly want to know and will commit to obeying that truth. Paul's letter to the Romans explains the gospel: "I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile" (Romans 1:16).

The Scriptures tell us that Satan has deceived the whole world (Revelation 12:9). True, but that does not mean we are guiltless. His lie is attractive to our desire to be our own god. Every one of us wants to think of ourselves as being superior to others in intelligence or in some other way. We do not want to consider the interests of others to be as important as our own interests. If we accept God as God then we have to dethrone ourselves as our own gods.

The message about Christ is called "the gospel" which means "good news". Why is it good news? For the same reason people reject this message: we can't earn God's favor; it is a gift. We don't want to be accountable for the evil we do in this life; the good news is, if we accept it, there is no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1). If we don't accept the death of Christ as having paid our penalty for our sins, then there is no other way to avoid the death penalty (John 3:16-21).

Another part of the good news is the fact we get a new life now; we get a new heart motivated by God's love so we are practicing a life of righteousness—a life lived for God, lived his way. The good news is that when we do fall back into an old pattern of the old life, God in his grace will hear our confession, forgive and cleanse us so we can get back on to that path to life.

This does not mean we get to break the Ten Commandments in any way that presents itself; it means we now have a desire to worship the only true living God and honor and treat well our families and neighbors. There was never anything wrong with living by God's instructions—his law (Hebrews 8:7-13); the problem has always been in our hearts, our unwillingness to believe his way is actually better than serving ourselves alone. The ultimate good news is the resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:12-26), promised to all who live and die in Christ, and an inheritance in the kingdom of God where there is no more death, pain, sorrow or tears (Revelation 21:1-8).

Volume 18 Issue 03 | Notes from Nancy | Women in Christ Commentary | Bible Study Guide | Abundance of the Heart | Exhortation

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