Items posted on 28 June 2012
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Acts 4.10-12 – The uniqueness of Christ as the means of salvation, and its implications.

Posted: 28 June 2012 in Acts

Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole. This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner. Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.

It is sometimes asked, sometimes by atheists trying to make Christianity look stupid, but also by sincere Christians, whether people who have never heard of Jesus can be saved. This is not going to be a popular answer, but so far as I can see, it is no. The Bible says, more than once, that there is no means of salvation other than Christ, and there does not appear to be any exceptions mentioned. Behind the idea (and desire) that the answer might be yes, lies the thought that people, who have never heard of Christ, might be able to achieve salvation by living good lives. The problem there is that it was because that is not possible that Christ’s sacrifice (and faith in that sacrifice) was and is necessary.

An analogy might help. A man is due to make a journey from London to Edinburgh (he lives in Britain). He drives to the petrol station to fill up with petrol, only to find that the garage has run out of petrol. It just so happens that the trains are on strike the following day. Obviously, the man is not culpable for the the negligence of the garage owner, but the fact remains that he now lacks the means of making his journey to Edinburgh. Similarly, people can find themselves in the position of lacking the means of salvation, through no fault of their own.

God is not being unmerciful in his dealings with man. He showed his mercy in the sacrifice of his Son. But if somebody, for whatever reason, lacks the necessary (and that word has to be emphasised) means of salvation, then they will stand condemned. Justly so, because, as with all mankind, original puts their spirit in a state of constant rebellion against God, and their only hope of salvation would have been through Christ. When Jesus gave his disciples an expicit instruction to evangelise the whole world, he therefore did so for a very good reason.

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