The Uniqueness of Our Savior
Acts 4:10-12; Galatians 1:1-12; Hebrews 6:17-19.
I read first in Acts 4, dear friends, that we might have a definite and distinct impression of the uniqueness of our Saviour. We spoke earlier of the voice from the excellent glory, when Peter, James, and John were on the mount of transfiguration, and when Jesus and Moses and Elias were speaking together. Peter says, "Let us make three tabernacles, for thee one, and for Moses one, and for Elias one." But the voice from heaven immediately points out the uniqueness of Jesus: "This is my beloved Son: hear him", (Mark 9:5-7). That is, the voice of the Son of God — the voice of Jesus — is to be heard. Not Peter's voice, not a mere man's voice, but the voice of the Son of God. And here in Acts 4, Peter preaches as having gotten the gain of that heavenly voice. He says, "And salvation is in none other, for neither is there another name under heaven, which is given among men by which we must be saved."
What a precious and blessed result from that voice which he heard on the mount of transfiguration! Peter, fully in accord with it now, speaks of the Lord Jesus as the One whom God has raised from among the dead, reversing their judgment: "In the name of Jesus Christ the Nazaraean, whom ye have crucified ..." — this is what men did to the Lord of glory. But God has raised Him from among the dead — a wonderful reversal of man's judgment as to God's blessed Son! "By him this man stands before you sound in body." This man had been sitting at the gate of the temple, lame from his mother's womb, not expecting to be healed, but Peter had told him to rise up and walk "in the name of Jesus Christ the Nazaraean."
You see, no other name offers eternal salvation as well as life, quickening, and power now, in these conditions of mortal flesh and blood. It says of this man that "leaping up, he stood, and walked, and entered with them into the temple, walking and leaping, and praising God." In the name of Jesus Christ the Nazaraean, this wonderful result had been effected in this man who had been lame from his mother's womb!
Well, we may not have been physically lame from our mother's womb, but we have all been born in sin and shaped in iniquity. We have all come under the curse that's come upon the whole human race because of sin. Peter says earlier, "By faith in his name, his name has made this man strong whom ye behold and know, and the faith which is by him has given him this complete soundness in the presence of you all" (Acts 3:16). The believer is made completely sound by faith in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. Let that be a rock of assurance to our souls. There is no other way to obtain this "complete soundness." There is no other way to obtain salvation or security. "Salvation is in none other." The religions of this world claim to have ways for man to realize his inner potential and to achieve nearness to God, but we need to be established in the truth that there is no other name under heaven which is given among men by which we must be saved.
So I read in Galatians 1 because the saints there were in danger of listening to another gospel. Paul writes in verse 9: "If any one announce to you as glad tidings anything besides what ye have received, let him be accursed." The apostle starts right out in this epistle to establish in the Galatian saints' souls the truth of the glad tidings. He begins immediately in verse 3: "Grace to you and peace from God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ, who gave himself for our sins, so that he should deliver us out of the present evil world, according to the will of our God and Father." He doesn't start out with some long introduction; he immediately presents to them the truth of the glad tidings — that the Lord Jesus Christ gave Himself for our sins, so that He should deliver us out of the present evil world. This world through which we're passing is going on to judgment, dear friends. It's not a world in which the believer is to have part or to have ambitious goals.
Jesus has died to deliver us out of this present evil world, and He is the One who offers us salvation, life, security, peace, and joy, according to the glad tidings. The Christian can have part in all of these wonderful blessings, as receiving God's offer of salvation, as having faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Yet the apostle Paul writes of a different gospel in verse 6, and a gospel besides what we have announced in verse 8. If we find ourselves attracted to any message from men which offers us security, independence, empowerment, happiness, and riches in this world, it's another gospel. It's not the gospel of Jesus Christ.
So Paul didn't receive his glad tidings from man, neither was he taught them, "but by revelation of Jesus Christ." Paul's glad tidings did not originate from the mind of man; he received them from glory — the Lord appeared to him on the road to Damascus, saying, "I am Jesus, whom thou persecutest." What a message that was for Saul! And how it changed his life! A man who had been an insolent, overbearing man was changed in a moment to a man who later confessed that he was the chief of sinners — a man who said, "I buffet my body, and lead it captive, lest after having preached to others I should be myself rejected." The apostle Paul was an ambassador for the glad tidings, yet he felt the need to guard against the influences that might affect him!
Well, in Hebrews, we read of our hope: "we might have a strong encouragement, who have fled for refuge to lay hold on the hope set before us, which we have as anchor of the soul, both secure and firm." The glad tidings involve not only faith in the finished work of Christ; they also involve a great hope set before us — that the Lord Jesus is coming to take us to be with Himself, to be with Him eternally. In a day such as we are, there are real crosswinds buffeting the believer. We have known something of the failure in the Christian profession — the gross failure and apostacy that has come in, and it tends to discourage us and to make us give up. But this hope is set before us, which we have as anchor of the soul both secure and firm. When the apostacy becomes full, when it's clear that Christendom has really apostatized from the faith publicly, I believe the Lord Jesus will take His own.
We have an example of that in Lot's time. Abraham brought it down to just a few souls. He says, 'Lord, if there are fifty souls there, will You spare Sodom?' And He says, 'Yes'. He starts out with fifty — in Genesis 18, verse 26: "And Jehovah said, If I find at Sodom fifty righteous within the city, then I will forgive all the place for their sakes. And Abraham answered and said, Behold now, I have ventured to speak unto the Lord; I, who am dust and ashes. Perhaps there may want five of the fifty righteous: wilt thou destroy all the city on account of the five? And he said, If I shall find forty-five there, I will not destroy it. And he continued yet to speak with him, and said, Perhaps there may be forty found there. And he said, I will not do it for the forty's sake." Look at the long-suffering of God as Abraham speaks to Him this way! "And he said, Oh, let not the Lord be angry that I speak! Perhaps there may be thirty found there. And he said, I will not do it if I find thirty there. And he said, Behold now, I have ven- tured to speak with the Lord. Perhaps there may be twenty found there. And he said, I will not destroy it for the twenty's sake." See how he goes on and on, if perchance there might be some hope for the remission of this judgment! "And he said, Oh, let not the Lord be angry, that I speak yet but this time! Perhaps there may be ten found there. And he said, I will not destroy it for the ten's sake." But there weren't even ten there! Conditions had become so bad in Sodom that God rescues Lot, his wife (who turned round and became a pillar of salt), and his two daughters.
And then we have Noah, and the ark into which few, that is eight souls, were saved. Things come to a very serious, very iniquitous condition at the end, right before God brings in judgment, but right before He saves His own out of it! That's a precious thing to learn from the types in Scripture, and I believe it applies to our own day too. The Lord is going to take real believers — souls that trust in Him — out of this scene before He brings in judgment.
So that links with our passage in Hebrews: "who have fled for refuge to lay hold on the hope set before us, which we have as anchor of the soul, both secure and firm." There is no security in this world, dear friends. It's all going to come down. Babylon is going to come down in one hour. All the systems men have built are going to come under God's judgment — may we retire and flee for refuge to this hope which we have set before us. Let it really be the anchor of our soul! It's secure and firm. There is no other anchor. The hymn says, "On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand; All other ground is sinking sand." May the Lord Jesus bless the word.
S. E. Hesterman
The Uniqueness Of Our Savior