In Acts 4:12, Peter states, “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.” And the name he’s talking about is the name of Jesus, the theanthropic Person who came into this world (John 1:1, 14), lived a sinless life (2 Cor 5:21; Heb 4:5; 1 John 3:5), and went to the cross and died a penal substitutionary death for all mankind (1 Cor 15:3-4; 1 Pet 3:18). Peter dogmatically states that salvation is found only in Jesus Christ. This is exclusive, for it means there is only way to be saved. The word “must,” in Acts 4:12, translates the Greek verb δεῖ dei, which speaks of divine necessity. This means it is necessary to come to Jesus, and Jesus alone, for our salvation, “for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.” We need only Christ to be saved. And to be saved (σῴζω sozo) calls for one action only, and that is to trust in Christ as our Savior. This means we accept the good news “that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures” (1 Cor 15:3-4). And if we trust in Jesus as our Savior, we will have forgiveness of sins (Eph 1:7), eternal life (John 10:28), and the gift of righteousness (Rom 5:17; Phil 3:9). Here is grace, as we can be forgiven and made right with God. We are saved by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone (Eph 2:8-9). We are not required to produce any works to be saved (Rom 4:4-5). None whatsoever. No works before, during, or after salvation, “For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from works of the Law” (Rom 3:28). Our forgiveness of sins and eternal life are a free gift from God to us, paid in full by the Lord Jesus. We are helpless to save ourselves (Rom 5:6-10), and we come with the empty hands of faith, offering nothing, only receiving the free gift that God offers to us. Once we are saved, good works should follow salvation (Eph 2:10; Tit 2:11-14), but they are NEVER the condition of it. Good works that follow salvation earn us rewards in heaven; but heaven itself is the blessing that comes to us by grace, and this blessing to us is the work of Christ alone.
The good news of the gospel is that Jesus died for everyone (John 3:16; 1 John 2:2), which means everyone is savable. That’s unlimited atonement. But, though Christ died for everyone, the benefit of salvation is given only to those who believe in Jesus as their Savior. These are the elect. The gospel message is simple, even a child can understand it and be saved. If you’ve not trusted in Jesus as Savior, then I “beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God” (2 Cor 5:20). Turn to Christ as your Savior, believing He died for your sins, was buried, and raised again on the third day. And no matter what your past sins may be, no matter how many or egregious, God will forgive you (Eph 1:7), give you eternal life (John 10:28), and bless you with a portfolio of spiritual assets (Eph 1:3) that will open for you the most wonderful life you can have in this world; a life in relationship with God. And this all starts when you simply believe in Christ as your Savior. This is the most important decision you can make in your life, for it determines both the quality of life you have in this world, as well as your eternal destiny afterwards.
Dr. Steven R. Cook