Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved." (Acts 4:12 NIV)
SALVATION – SOTERIA – rescue, safety, deliverance. In the Bible the word is used to describe the God’s plan of REDEMPTION made before time began.
The apostle Paul wrote,
What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? (Romans 7:24 NIV)
His long letter to Roman Christians contains all the information needed to answer his own question. Here is truth that sets you free. Here is your rescue package. Here is the way to be saved. Paul recognised that sin is a fact and that the old way of Moses’ Law could give only temporary relief from guilt and condemnation. Paul had met with Jesus Christ on the road to Damascus and discovered that there is a way to be rescued that does not involve keeping laws and rules as a condition.
For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from observing the law. (Romans 3:28 NIV)
Paul refers back to Abraham and the way of faith that stimulates obedience. Being justified is what God does for the sinner who repents and believes. It means being put right with God. These are Bible words, words from God. They tell us the truth and do not deceive.
There is an Old Testament book about a man named Job, who suffered a great deal. The book describes his agonised questions and the answers that he received from friends and then from God Himself. In the midst of the discussions Job says,
How then can a man be righteous before God? How can one born of woman be pure? (Job 25:4 NIV)
If I accept the truth of the Bible then I will ask the same question. The same question that Paul posed. Is it possible to be accepted by God even though I cannot keep His laws or make myself pure enough? Yes, you can!
God’s plan of salvation is comprehensive. First it pardons the record of all the wrong I have done and removes the condemnation I should rightfully endure. This does not, of course excuse us from putting things right or accepting earthly punishment for a crime. Second it provides a guarantee from God to help us stop doing wrong. Third it promises access to eternal life as an inheritance where we will experience complete freedom from the presence and power of sin forever.
In Acts chapter 4, Peter was in Jerusalem preaching to God’s people. At that time they were called Jews, rather than Israelites. The word Jew comes from one of Israel’s sons, Judah. The tribe of Judah became the chief tribe of the southern part of the land of Israel. The land became known as Judea. People from the other eleven tribes lived in Judea but were all called Jews. Irrespective of these changes to their identity, the Jewish nation still regarded themselves as the people of God. So why did they need to be saved? Peter is addressing each Jew as an individual. The nation was chosen but that does not guarantee anything for the individual. Every Israelite had the advantage of knowing that God is merciful and would show mercy to all who approached Him in humility.
For I desire mercy, not sacrifice, and acknowledgment of God rather than burnt offerings. (Hosea 6:6 NIV)
He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. (Micah 6:8 NIV)
In very simple terms, people who realise they need to be saved can be saved. The key is Jesus. His name counts with God. There is no other name available. Not Moses, David, Abraham or Noah. Nor any other name! Only Jesus, the Messiah. is able to deal with sin and its consequences. He did this by standing in our place and taking all God’s wrath on Himself. He could do this because He was very different than us. He did not need forgiveness because He did not sin. He was able to carry the burden of our sin.
God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. (2 Corinthians 5:21 NIV)
Jesus has provided the world with a way of escape, a way to be rescued, the Way of Salvation. God in abundant grace offers this rescue from His wrath.
Once, death had a big say in what happened to sinners. Fear of it, controlled us. Now, Grace has the bigger say.