Neither is There Salvation in Any Other

Monday, August 15, 2011

“Jesus Christ of Nazareth… Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved” (Acts 4:10,12 KJV).

Is there really only one way to heaven? Today’s Scripture gives us the answer—a resounding “YES!” Jesus stated, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (John 14:6). The Apostle Paul declared: “There is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time” (1 Timothy 2:5,6).

Jesus Christ “gave himself a ransom for all.” The words “for all” indicate that Christ died for every person, since everyone’s salvation depended upon Him. If there was another way to heaven beside Christ, then He died for nothing! Why would Jesus Christ allow Himself to suffer all that physical and spiritual pain if there was another way to save us from our sins? The Lord Jesus Christ endured the shame of Calvary’s cross and His heavenly Father’s wrath because there was no other way to reconcile us unto God.

The Bible says in 2 Corinthians 5:14,15: “For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead: And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again.”

Because of Adam’s sin, every human is born spiritually dead in trespasses and sins, separated from God (Romans 5:12; Ephesians 2:1-3). The only way to be saved from the penalty of sin—everlasting separation from God in the lake of fire—is to come to Calvary’s cross by faith. Have you trusted exclusively in the shed blood and physical resurrection of Jesus Christ as the fully satisfying payment for your sins? I hope you have!

According to God’s Word, salvation can only be found in Jesus Christ. “Jesus Christ of Nazareth… Neither is there salvation in any other.

He Clothed Them

Monday, August 8, 2011

“Unto Adam also and to his wife did the LORD God make coats of skins, and clothed them” (Genesis 3:21 KJV).

The Bible says Adam and Eve “were both naked…and were not ashamed” (Genesis 1:25). How could they be naked, and yet unashamed?

In 1 Timothy 6:16 we read of Jesus Christ “dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto….” God’s righteousness and holiness emanate from His body in the form of a bright light. Originally, before the fall, Adam and Eve did not wear physical clothes, but they were clothed with something… they were clothed with the righteousness of God Himself because sin had not entered into creation yet.

God created man in His image (Genesis 1:26,27); man was originally sinless, as perfect as God. When Adam and Eve disobeyed by eating the forbidden fruit, God’s righteousness left their bodies. They were sinners now, so God’s light no longer covered them (spiritually and physically). Adam and Eve were physically and spiritually naked, so they frantically gathered itchy fig leaves and covered themselves (Genesis 3:7).

The LORD God, in His great love and grace, sought these lost souls. Adam and Eve hid, too afraid to approach our holy and righteous God. But, God in His brilliance devised a plan to restore them. Today’s Scripture says that God killed innocent animals. He used the blood to provide Adam and Eve’s spiritual clothes (forgiveness), and the skins served as their physical clothes.

Isaiah 61:10 summarizes (saved Israel speaking): “I will greatly rejoice in the LORD, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels.” God did that for Adam, Eve, Israel, and us too!

If we have trusted in the Lord Jesus Christ, we have been clothed with God’s righteousness (2 Corinthians 5:21). In Christ, we are just as Adam and Eve were before the fall, in perfect standing before God.

Stiffnecked, Gainsaying, and Disobedient

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

“But to Israel he saith, All day long I have stretched forth my hands unto a disobedient and gainsaying people” (Romans 10:21 KJV).

Israel was God’s chosen people in the earth but they were just as stubborn and rebellious as the pagan Gentiles described in Romans 1:18-32. In today’s Scripture, the Apostle Paul quotes Isaiah 65:2 (in which the LORD says): “I have spread out my hands all the day unto a rebellious people, which walketh in a way that was not good, after their own thoughts;”

Verse 3 continues, “A people that provoketh me to anger continually to my face; that sacrificeth in gardens, and burneth incense upon altars of brick;…” Israel ignored the LORD and preferred the Gentiles’ pagan gods! How sad.

For 40 years Moses led the nation Israel in the wilderness wanderings. Their murmuring and rebellion against the LORD caused Moses great distress (Exodus 15:24; Exodus 16:2; Exodus 17:1-4; et al.). The Bible describes Israel as “stiffnecked” (stubborn) eight times in the Old Testament (Exodus 32:9; Exodus 33:3,5; Exodus 34:9; Deuteronomy 9:6, 13; Deuteronomy 10:16; 2 Chronicles 30:8). Miraculously, God in His longsuffering tolerated the Jews.

Unfortunately, Israel acted no better in the New Testament. She refused to listen to her Messiah Jesus and His apostles. Ultimately, she killed her Messiah in disobedience (1 Peter 2:7,8). In Acts 7:51 the prophet Stephen tells Israel’s religious leaders: “Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye.” Did the Jews repent and obey God? No. They rebel and kill Stephen (verse 59)!

Before we condemn Israel for her wickedness, we need to understand we are just as much Adam’s physical descendants as they were. “For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another” (Titus 3:3). Even as Christians, we rebel against God and His Word (see Romans chapter 7).

We too may be stiffnecked, gainsaying, and disobedient, but praise God for His longsuffering, grace, mercy, and forgiveness

Send It to the Cross of Christ!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

“And the grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus” (1 Timothy 1:14 KJV).

Are you bothered by past failures and sins? Plagued by shame and guilt? Sin destroys. It rips apart friendships and marriages and it causes heartache and bloodshed. Furthermore, it robs us of peace and joy. Oftentimes, those we love most are the people we hurt the most. Those who love us the most usually hurt us the most. How do we deal with these sins? Send them to the cross of Christ!

Our Apostle Paul was once a wicked, hell-bound sinner. Saul of Tarsus tortured, imprisoned, and even killed Christ’s followers (Acts 22:19,20; Acts 26:9-11; Galatians 1:13). Until his dying day, Paul never forgot his past. He had caused believers to suffer tremendously. How did he survive that guilt and shame during his 30-plus years of ministry? He sent it all to the cross of Christ!

In 1 Timothy 1:13, Paul discusses his persecuting those saints. Today’s Scripture says, “the grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus.” No matter what Paul had done in the past, the Lord forgave him according to His exceeding abundant grace, faith, and love.

Verse 15 says: “This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.” Christ came to save sinners. Paul recognized that he was a wretched sinner, but a sinner was the only person the Lord Jesus Christ could save!

Today, by faith, we follow Paul, the first sinner to become a member of the Body of Christ. We too have been saved and forgiven according to God’s exceeding abundant grace, faith, and love. If someone wrongs us, or we wrong someone, send it to the cross of Christ, where God dealt with all sin, for all men, for all time. Christ died to “put away [our] sin by the sacrifice of himself” (Hebrews 9:26).

Beloved, send it to the cross of Christ where it belongs!

Forgiven Now and Forever

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

“And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses;” (Colossians 2:13 KJV).

Religion’s “short account system” of confessing sins is a misunderstanding of 1 John 1:9: “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” This verse has nothing to do with us for three reasons.

Primarily, we do not practice 1 John 1:9 because John is Israel’s apostle (Galatians 2:9). Paul is our apostle, not John (Romans 11:13). The doctrine found in 1 John belongs in Israel’s prophetic program, not our mystery program (the Dispensation of Grace). Confession of sins was Israel’s doctrine under the Mosaic Law (Leviticus 16:21; Leviticus 26:40; Numbers 5:6,7; Ezra 10:1; Daniel 9:20; et al.). Furthermore, in Matthew 3:6 and Mark 1:5 John the Baptist water baptized Jews who confessed their sins.

Secondly, 1 John 1:9 is not written to saved people, it is directed to lost Jews. We read in 1 John 2:12, “I write unto you, little children, because your sins are forgiven you for his name’s sake.” Apparently, there are two groups of people in 1 John: some saved (forgiven), and some lost (not forgiven). In 1 John 1:9 John urges lost Jews to confess their sins in order to be saved.

Lastly, our salvation and fellowship with God are independent of our performance. We are forgiven, apart from anything we have done. In today’s Scripture, our Apostle Paul tells us that we are “forgiven of all trespasses [in Christ].” Ephesians 4:32 says, “God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.” We are forgiven (past tense), not because we confess our sins, but because of Christ’s finished cross work on Calvary. In Christ, we have unbroken fellowship with God forever and ever. How many times can we be forgiven of all unrighteousness?” Only once. In Christ, now and forever, we are forgiven of all sins—past, present, and future!

 

We Have Now Received the Atonement

Friday, June 17, 2011

“And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement” (Romans 5:11 KJV).

This is the only time the word “atonement” appears in the King James’ New Testament. The Greek word translated “atonement” here is usually translated “reconciliation, reconciling, reconciled” elsewhere (Romans 5:10; 1 Corinthians 7:11; 2 Corinthians 5:18-20).

In the Old Testament, once a year, on the Day of Atonement, Israel’s high priest would sprinkle animals’ blood on the mercy seat, the lid of the Ark of the Covenant, to first cover his sins and then the sins of the nation Israel (Exodus 30:10; Leviticus 16:3-34; Hebrews 9:7). But “it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins” (Hebrews 10:4). For that reason, “in those sacrifices there is a remembrance again made of sins every year” (Hebrews 10:3).

The book of Hebrews describes how Jesus Christ shedding His own (sinless) blood has done away with the animal sacrifices. “And every priest standeth daily ministering and oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins: but this man [Christ Jesus], after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God;” (Hebrews 10:11,12).

That word “atonement”—wrongly translated “reconciliation” in modern Bibles—is needed in Romans 5:11 because it links us with the Old Testament practice of the Day of Atonement. Animals’ blood could never take away sins, the Bible says, but that blood did serve as a temporary forgiveness. When the blood of Jesus Christ was shed, the shedding of animals’ blood became null. What God accomplished for Israel at the cross of Calvary, He also accomplished for us (the Church the Body of Christ).

Notice “we have NOW received the atonement” (Romans 5:11). As Christians we have our sins blotted out today (Ephesians 1:7; Colossians 2:13). Israel will not receive her national forgiveness until the Second Coming of Christ (Acts 3:19,20; Romans 11:26,27).

Rejoice, saints, “we have NOW received the atonement!” Praise ye the Lord!