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 Morning Meditation - 10/13/08

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PostSubject: Morning Meditation - 10/13/08   Mon Oct 13, 2008 11:25 pm

GOD PLAN OF SALVATION IS EXCLUSIVE
Acts 4:12

Verse 12 says, "Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved."

Have you ever wondered what the Apostles understood Jesus to teach? I do not speak of what He taught in this question, but what they understood Him to teach. We have in the four gospels four inspired views (verbally inspired by the Holy Spirit) of the life and teachings of Jesus. We have in the book of Acts what the Apostles understood Jesus to say. In the four gospels, we have doctrines stated, in the Book of Acts, we have the doctrines preached as the Apostles understood Jesus to teach them. Is there a harmony between what Jesus taught in the Gospels and what the Apostles preached in the Book of Acts? Out text is an example of the accuracy of the harmony of what Jesus taught and what the Apostles understood Him to teach.


THE EXCLUSIVENESS OF SALVATION DECLARED

Peter was giving an account of the Apostolic doctrine to those described in verse 1 of this chapter when he said, "Neither is there salvation in any other . . ." First, Peter represented the ones described in verse 2: "Being grieved that THEY taught the people . . ." (Caps mine for emphasis). Peter was the spokesman. They were called on the carpet for the healing of the man in chapter three verses two to ten. Peter told them that this man was healed in the name of Jesus. Verse 10 says, "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." Peter tells them that the Man you killed is still alive. He is the One who did this miracle. Not only is this true, "Neither is their salvation in any other."

Peter goes from the subject of a physical miracle to spiritual salvation. He goes from the healing of the physical body to the salvation of the soul which is timeless. The Apostles were teaching that the resurrection would take place through Jesus (4:2). Peter says, "This Jesus whom you think is dead, is the one who healed this man, and not only is that true but, ‘neither is there salvation in any other.'" The word "neither" is the translation of two words, "kai," meaning, "and" and "ou" meaning, "not."
The conjunction used with the negative means "neither" in the sense that Peter is saying, "Not only is this true concerning the physical healing of this man, but it is also true of the doctrine of the salvation of the soul." Just as this man's healing is an undeniable (4:16) miracle of God worked in the Name of Jesus, and as you know only God can do things like this, the salvation of the soul is exclusively associated with the name of Jesus. There is no salvation apart from His name.

THE MEANING OF THE SALVATION INTENDED

The words "is there salvation in any other" is the application of what the Apostles understood Jesus to say in John 14:6: "Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me." They understood Jesus to teach that He is the only way of salvation. The words "is there" translates "esti" and are a present indicative of the "to be" verb expressing BEING, i.e., there does not exist at this time or nor at any other time, a way for a person to be saved except in Jesus. This takes care of those who are teaching that there are different plans of salvation dispensationally.

The word "salvation" is the translation of "soteria" and means, "salvation as the present possession of all true Christians." (Strong’s). This salvation includes the future resurrection. The doctrine of the
resurrection through Christ is one of the main things that had gotten them in trouble. The Sadducees did not believe in the resurrection at all. The Jews as a whole, and as a nation had crucified Jesus, and as such had rejected all His claims. They thought they would get rid of Jesus by killing Him but they discovered that what Jesus taught did not stop with His death. The Apostles were carrying on His teaching and it was growing at an alarming rate (3,000 saved in Acts 2:41 and 5,000 men converted in Acts 4:4). They feel they must stop this doctrine. Now the lead Apostle is saying, "Neither is there salvation in any other . . ." They will discover that the problem of stopping the teaching of Christ is too big for them to handle.

THE EXCLUSIVENESS OF SALVATION PROVEN

Peter said, "Neither is there salvation in any other . . ." The words "any other" mean that salvation can be obtained in no other place nor through no other person. One may not agree with this statement but one has to agree that this is what Peter said. He said this because this is what He and the others understood Jesus to teach. They were right because this is not just Peter's opinion, but it is the INSPIRED INERRANT WORD OF THE ETERNAL GOD.

The words "for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved" are given as the authority for their doctrine. The word "given" translates "didomi" and means, "to give, to give something to someone, of one's own accord to give one something, to his advantage, to bestow a gift." It is a perfect passive participle. The perfect tense represents completed action in the past with the result that it is still true. The passive voice represents the subject receiving the action, not doing or causing the action. Mankind is the proper subject of the action of the gift. God is the One who gave the gift in the past and the gift is still available. Some observations:

1. This gift was given before the foundation of the world. 1 Peter 1:20 says, "Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you."

2. The sacrifice of Jesus took place in eternity past. Revelation 13:8 says, "And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the
foundation of the world." This is a mystery to the natural man that will never be solved by the theologians. It is a truth declared and understood by faith alone. Jesus did in time (die on the cross) what was done before time.

3. God finished in eternity past what He worked out in time. Hebrews 4:3 says, "For we which have believed do enter into rest, as he said, As I have sworn in my wrath, if they shall enter into my rest:
although THE WORKS WERE FINISHED FROM THE FOUNDATION OF THE WORLD." (Caps
mine for emphasis).

4. Jesus revealed this truth in His great high priestly prayer in John 17:24 where He prayed, "Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world." In that same prayer in verse 5 He prayed: "And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory WHICH I HAD WITH THEE BEFORE THE WORLD WAS." (Caps mine for emphasis).

5. We were even chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world. Ephesians 1:4 says, "According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love."

6. Our faith to receive the gift of which Peter speaks in our text is involved in this teaching. 2 Thessalonians 2:13: "But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to SALVATION THROUGH SANCTIFICATION OF THE SPIRIT AND BELIEF OF THE TRUTH." (Caps mine for emphasis).

7. None of this makes void Revelation 22:17 which says, "And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And WHOSOEVER WILL, let him take the water of life freely." (Caps mine for emphasis).

What is Peter saying? He is saying that God's plan of salvation is in Christ and in Him exclusively. Exclusive means that all other ways are excluded. Jesus is not an alternative that God has chosen because some earlier plan did not work. Jesus is the only One God has given in the past, Who remains given in the present, and Who is and always will be God's way of salvation. If one chooses another way, he must be ready for the consequences of his unbelief and wrong choice. Peter's words (even the Words of the Holy Spirit) tell us that there is no other way and no other name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved. If one can go another way, it will prove this statement false, and to me as a Bible believer, that can't be true. There is no possibility.

One other thing before I close this meditation. I believe everything the Bible says and I am not afraid to use words the Bible uses like I have used in the numbered list above. Don't classify me theologically because I believe what God says about what HE DID BEFORE THE FOUNDATION OF THE WORLD. I believe exactly what God said. I believe every Christian should. Just remember this. Truths do not conflict. They always harmonize. The problem comes when men try to explain what God doesn't explain. The sovereignty of God and the free will of man are friends. We just do not understand how they can get along! Any belief in the sovereignty of God that nullifies the responsibility of man is wrong. And any belief in the responsibility of man that sets aside the sovereignty of God is willful ignorance of the plain teaching of the Word of God. You say, "How do you explain it?" You don't. You just believe it in the context where it is found. Don't spend your time trying to explain something that the theologians have been trying to do through the centuries. You will make as big a mess as they did.

What does predestination mean? It means that God has a plan that He is working out in what we call time, and what He started in eternity, He finished before He started it in time, and that means that there is NO MARGIN OF ERROR IN HIS PLAN. Someone hold my mules! Hallelujah! One verse:
Philippians 1:6 says, "Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ." The "good work" is the good work of regeneration in us. This means that He will finish that work with the redemption of the body (Eph. 1:13-14).

Our text says, "Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved."

May the Lord bless these words to our hearts.
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