26 Nov The Teaching of the New Testament
November 26, 2020
There is no other name under heaven . . . by which we must be saved.
Jesus’ teaching that He provides the only way to heaven should be enough to settle the issue of exclusivity, since He is the only religious leader who conquered death. However, the New Testament writers affirmed Jesus’ declaration that faith in Him is the only means to escape eternal death.
Devout followers of Judaism embraced Christianity and proclaimed that faith in Christ was the only path to salvation. The apostle Paul was a “Hebrew of Hebrews” (Philippians 3:5) whose zeal for his Jewish faith led him to devote his life to stamping out the “heresy” of Christianity. But while on his way to arrest Christians in Damascus, Paul encountered the resurrected Jesus (Acts 9) and was converted and transformed.
Similarly, Peter was a devout Jew until he became a disciple of Jesus Christ. After Christ’s resurrection and ascension, Peter was willing to experience imprisonment, beatings, and ultimately execution for his faith in Christ. On one occasion, the Jewish leaders arrested Peter for preaching that Jesus was the Messiah and healing a lame man by invoking the name of Jesus. “By what power, or in what name, have you done this?” the religious leaders demanded (Acts 4:7). In his response, Peter made it clear that faith in Christ is the only means by which a person can escape the wrath of God: “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” (Acts 4:12).
The three most prominent Jews in the New Testament—Jesus, Paul, and Peter—declared that no other religion offered a road to heaven. Instead, they insisted that every person is required to exercise personal faith in Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins.
I am often asked, “What about those who have never heard the gospel? Is God going to send them to hell?” When God sees someone who truly wants a relationship with Him, He will make sure that person hears the message of Jesus Christ. However, a person must hear and embrace the gospel in order to receive forgiveness of sins.
The New Testament is filled with accounts of people like Nicodemus, Cornelius, and Paul’s audience on Mars Hill, who were told that their religious or philosophical beliefs could not lead them to eternal life. Just as the deity of Jesus Christ verifies the exclusive claims of Jesus Christ regarding salvation, the divine origin of the Bible gives credence to the New Testament claims that Christianity provides the only means of salvation.
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “How Can I Know Christianity Is the Right Religion?” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2012.
Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960,1962,1963,1968,1971,1972,1973,1975,1977,1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.