Friday, March 26, 2010

No Other Name

Acts 4:11 This Jesus is the stone that was rejected by you, the builders, which has become the cornerstone. 12 And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved."

11 οὗτός ἐστιν ὁ λίθος, ὁ ἐξουθενηθεὶς ὑφ᾽ ὑμῶν τῶν οἰκοδόμων, ὁ γενόμενος εἰς κεφαλὴν γωνίας. 12  καὶ οὐκ ἔστιν ἐν ἄλλῳ οὐδενὶ ἡ σωτηρία, οὐδὲ γὰρ ὄνομά ἐστιν ἕτερον ὑπὸ τὸν οὐρανὸν τὸ δεδομένον ἐν ἀνθρώποις ἐν ᾧ δεῖ σωθῆναι ἡμᾶς.

This has got to be one of the most controversial passages in Scripture these days.  As our society descends deeper and deeper into postmodernity and pluralism statements like this can get you into big trouble.  The furor over Britt Hume's comments regarding Tiger Woods are good evidence of this.  He wasn't even making this bold of a claim.  He simply stated the fact that Buddhism does not offer the kind of redemption that Christ does.  Peter makes an extremely bold claim.

On the surface, this seems very unfair as we look at the world through our man-centered eyes.  We think of all the nice people who know who are not believers and we wonder how God can be so petty.  For example, one of my coworkers is named Pandian Kulasekapandian.  I don't know if he is a Christian, but I suspect not.  Nevertheless, he is easily one of the most Christ-like people I know.  However, if he doesn't know Jesus he faces eternal condemnation.  I can't get past this verse.  Jesus is the name ἐν ᾧ δεῖ σωθῆναι ἡμᾶς.  Very woodenly this would be "in which it is necessary to be saved."

So what do we do with this?  We tell people about Jesus.  We tell about what He has done for us.  More importantly, we tell people about who He is.  Stories are great, but ultimately people to know Jesus for who He is -- God.  They don't need to know about His actions so much as the truth of who He is.  Are we telling people about Him?

And if you don't know Him, what is keeping you from knowing Him?  What stops you?  Do you just not believe this verse?  If not, why?  I'd love to have a discussion.

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