There is no other Redeemer, no other Savior, no other hope, and in that we rejoice and proclaim Him. This message is the gospel; it is truly good news. God has sent His Son in history to find and save sinners, to pay the debts we owed, to face the punishment we deserved, and to forgive—to bring rebels into His family.
It had been a remarkable few days for the Apostle Peter, which had followed a remarkable month and several remarkable years. He had found himself preaching to thousands, with three thousand responding in faith to his preaching. Every day seemingly brought wonderful new opportunities. A man unable to walk from birth was healed in the name of Jesus Christ. The people were astounded, and Peter took the opportunity again to open his mouth and preach. The religious leaders were not enamored of Peter’s message. They were greatly annoyed and had Peter arrested. The rulers, the elders, and the scribes wanted to know: “What right and what authority have you got to be speaking the way you do?” Again, Peter found his voice and declared to them: “There is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” There was astonishment on the part of the religious leaders, but they warned Peter and John to speak no more of this man. They were to keep the only message of salvation to themselves (Acts 2:1–4:22).
The world hasn’t changed. Few things are more offensive to people than the belief that there is no salvation apart from faith in Christ. We’ve all heard people say, “There are many ways up the mountain to God; we all take different paths” or “What really matters is that you are sincere.” In the culture of which I am a part, people believe in “justification by death.” All you have to do is die, and somehow you are ushered into a better place. There is an unthinking assumption of relativistic pluralism, that all religions are basically the same and that we shouldn’t take any of them too seriously.
Tragically, there are those who call themselves Christians, even in churches, who would believe that the one God worshiped by us is the same Lord worshiped in different ways by Buddhists, Hindus, and Muslims. From our earliest days, our culture tells us that we’ve all got a book, all got a symbol, all got a special day. All religions are the same.
It is helpful for us to think about what we believe about the Lord Jesus Christ in relation to these challenges. We believe that He is the Son of God, the Messiah promised in the Old Testament, born of a virgin; He lived a sinless life, was crucified on the cross, was buried, and on the third day rose again to life forevermore. Without these things, we do not have Christianity. Jews are insistent that Jesus was not the Messiah, and they believe that they are still awaiting their Messiah. Islam declares that Jesus didn’t die on the cross and that the claim that Jesus of Nazareth was the Son of God is blasphemous. At its very core, Christianity is completely incompatible with these other religions.