“There is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12)
We Christians believe in some very strange things, at least when considered from the world’s perspective. There is the virgin birth, miracles and the supernatural, angels and demons, and chief among them, the resurrection.
But among these oddities that make the natural mind shake its head, there is this most upsetting and offensive of claims, which Peter spoke to the powers-that-be when they questioned him in Acts 4: “There is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).
We believe in the name of Jesus, and no other name, as worthy of our praise. This is our creed. Jesus is the only way to God. And it tops the list of beliefs that our society increasingly considers not only strange, but offensive. Intolerant. Even dangerous.
Our creed is “folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God” (1 Corinthians 1:18).Notice four things about the controversial and explosive claim of Acts 4:12.
First is that little word “must.” “There is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” Jesus is the linchpin of our faith, our worship, and our eternal salvation. If we are to be saved, we must go through him. He is the one way (John 14:6). If we want to live forever, and escape the eternal punishment we justly deserve for our sins and rebellion against our Father everlasting, it is necessary to have Jesus. No Jesus, no salvation.
Second, there is that phrase “under heaven.” “There is no other name under heaven . . .” Which means this one Jesus, and the path to God he provides, is for every nation, for every people on the planet. It is not that Jesus is the way for Christians, while the Hindus, Buddhists, and Muslims have their own paths, all leading to the same all creating One. “Under heaven” means this name is the one name for all peoples, for every human, in every nook and cranny of the earth.
Next is the phrase “among men.” “There is no other name under heaven given among men . . .” This name isn’t something God Almighty broadcasts from above, while remaining safely tucked away in heaven, conveniently distant from all the dirt and grime of our lives, the mire of our sin and suffering. Rather, God himself came “among men” in the person of his Son, Jesus of Nazareth. He “did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.”
He became a man and came “among men” — and he came to rescue, “not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45). He suffered and was crucified. He descended into darkness, rose in glorious life, and is forever seated high as the God-man.
Finally, don’t miss the word “given.” “There is no other name under heaven given . . .” This name Jesus, and all it represents about who he is and what he has done for us, comes to us as a gift. It is not something we earn or something we make, not a badge for our boasting, not a credit to our creativity. Jesus is not our creation. He has been given. When we Christians say, with love in our hearts and concern in our voice — sometimes with tears in our eyes — there is no other name, we do not mean that we are strong and deserving, that we have it figured out, that we own the market on truth, that we are up and others are down. Rather, we say precisely the opposite. We are sick, and finding healing in this man, and only in him. We were lost, and have found rescue in this name, and no other. No, we are not the strong, but he was given from heaven to save the weak.
This is our song. This is our creed. We believe in the name of Jesus.