« PreviousContinue »
“NONE OTHER NAME.” The Holy Scriptures clearly set forth the name of Jesus Christ alone, by which men can be saved; for it is written, “ Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved," Acts iv. 12. It seems impossible for any point to be plainerthere is NO SALVATION IN ANY OTHER THAN Christ Jesus.
Is it asked what is meant by this statement? This is the meaning: No man can be saved from the guilt of sin, from the power of sin, and the consequences of sin, but by Jesus Christ. No man can have pardon from God, reconciliation and peace with God, and escape from condemnation by God after this life, but by the atonement and mediation of Jesus Christ. Thus only, in the Divine counsels, is provision made to cleanse the sinner by the blood of Christ, to clothe the sinner with the righteousness of Christ, and thereby to entitle him, as a pardoned and justified being, to eternal happiness.
But though there is not salvation in any other, yetin Christ there is plenteous salvation-salvation to the uttermost-salvation for the chief of sinners. “I,” said Jesus, "am the way, and the truth, and the life; no man cometh unto the Father, but by me,” John xiv. 6. “Other foundation," says the apostle Paul, “can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ," 1 Cor. iii. 11; and the apostle John, speaking of saved sinners, true believers in Christ, says, “ God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is
in his Son. He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life," 1 John v. 12.
Is it further asked why all this must be so-what is the necessity for it, and what the proof?
It is, first, because we are what we know ourselves and every human being to be-sinners. It is enough to say this; no one hardly can be found who will seriously deny it. Every child of Adam is born with a fallen and corrupt nature. Go where you will-search out the most hidden spot of earth-visit the furthest tribe of Esquimaux—the Red Indian in the deepest forest—the African by his central lake-the Pacific Islander on his strip of coral-all, all have the same moral, or rather immoral, likeness with their more civilized brethren. Moreover the very best and most renowned men in all ages have shown the same evil nature. And the holiest servants of God, from Adam to the present day, have had reason to acknowledge that they were men of like passions with ourselves, and full of evil.
Is it so then? Is every human being thus evil ? Does it not thence plainly follow that if left to himself no man can be saved ? Without a Saviour, and an almighty Saviour, where has he hope? What can make such a poor, sinful creature acceptable to God ? He wants help, he needs a reconciler, he needs a Redeemer-a Saviour. He needs, in short, the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
O reader, look at yourself, look at your sinfulness, strive to see its real character. This is not easy ; it is not pleasant to man to notice and dwell on his own loathsomeness ; yet it must be done if you would be saved from it, and from the dreadful results which follow it. And if, by the mercy of God, you do see and know yourself, then, and then only, will you perceive why there must be a Saviour such as Christ.
Secondly. Another reason why there is no hope for man without a Saviour is, because God is what he is revealed both in his works and word to be. God is a Spirit, almighty, all-knowing, infinitely wise, holy, just, pure, and merciful. But after all that can be said, how little do we know of this great and infinite Being ! how poor are our thoughts of the Creator of the universe! Still we know enough of him and of ourselves to feel how immeasurable is the distance between God and us. No man can think steadily and honestly on this subject, and not see that there is a great gulf between God and him. God is perfect and holy, man is an imperfect and sinful worm of the earth. How then can he stand at last before this great and holy God for judgment, unless he have a daysman, a helper, one mighty to save, to be his Mediator and Saviour? He cannot! Can he with confidence and peace render in his account to a pure and just God? No!
an atonement must be made to the justice of God, and a right.eousness must be presented by a Mediator, so that we may be pardoned and justified. Such a Saviour and such a Friend is Jesus Christ, and there is none other.
Thirdly. The proof of all that has been said is in the revealed word of God. From the beginning to the end it gives but one plain account of the way in which men are to be saved, and that is for the sake of the Lord Jesus Christ, through faith in him, and not for our own righteousness. In the first promise of the Seed of the woman, in the promises to Abraham, in the types and emblems of the law of Moses, in the visions of the prophets, and in their fulfilment told and explained in the New Testament, there is one great object pointed at, “the Word,” which “was God,” “made flesh," " God manifest in the flesh,” Jesus the Christ, crucified, risen, and ascended into heaven: all reveal and relate but one and the same great fact--SALVATION BY JESUS Christ, and by none other.
This is indeed the one grand topic of the Bible, and it is impossible to get from the Bible any idea of pardon and peace with God, except by the atonement of Christ. Faith in Christ to come was the religion of the ancient saints; and faith in Christ who came is that of all after them, and will be till the end of time-from Abel owning Christ in his better sacrifice at the beginning of the Bible, to the saints in glory rejoicing in Christ in the Revelation. All these show that the Bible teaches this doctrine, “there is none other name," “ Christ is the way, and the truth, and the life.”
But if all this be so, if Christ is the only way of salvation, how much does it behove every one to look to the foundation on which he is resting.
For evidently, first, Any religion without Christ is wholly vain. And yet there are many men who have such a religion, even in countries called Christian. Not to speak of the professed atheist, there is the man who acknowledges a God, admits his providence, and professes to rest on his mercy, but will have nothing to do with the God of the Bible and the doctrines of Christ. Now this man's religion is a building without a foundation; it is based on fancy, and its end is deception. Such a god is an idol of man's own invention, without justice or real goodness. A religion resting on this may answer a purpose in life, but will not stand at death, for it will not meet the wants of conscience in regard to sin and its possible consequences. It gives no remedy, it confers no peace, for it shows no safety. Reader, shun the religion of philosophy if you would have life.
Secondly, A religion in which Christ is not supreme is also vain. He is not supreme when he is called a mere man; when his atonement for sin by his death is denied, and when a
man rests for safety on his own good deeds, and not on Christ alone through faith in him. This religion denies and rejects Christ, and overturns the whole Bible. It dishonours God, and leaves man without certainty or hope. Reader, turn from every system that undervalues Christ; flee from the dead scheme of Socinianism, or so-called Unitarianism.
But, thirdly, A religion that adds anything to Christ as a ground of salvation is full of error and of danger. Such is the religion of confessions, penances, absolution, masses, and extreme unction, of prayers to Mary and to saints, of purgatory, and of allegiance to an Italian bishop, the Pope, as the head of Christ's church on earth. Such also is the religion which ties salvation to rites, and orders, and ceremonies, by whatever name it may be called. All these in substance and practically, so far as the addition is real, declare that Christ alone is not sufficient for salvation. Reader, beware of putting anything in the place of Christ, and therefore shun Romanism, and every other system of addition to the one requirement of the Scriptures : “ Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved.”
And, fourthly, A religion whose foundation is a man's sincerity in whatever he professes, other than Christ only, is also vain. This is a common delusion, but the Scriptures give no warrant for saying that any man can be saved by mere sincerity. Doubtless idolaters, murderous Druids, God-deniers because Christ-deniers, worshippers of images and pictures and of mere men and women, burners of God's people, and many others, are sincere. Sincerity alone will not stand ; sincerity is not Christ, and it is Christ alone that can save. Reader, shun this advancing error of the day, which would make out that all men may be saved, whatever they trust in, if they are only sincere ; which shuts the God of the Bible out of the universe, and makes a god of everything, and is therefore properly called pantheism.
What then, finally, is the practical conclusion of the whole matter? Has God spoken to us in the Scriptures? Has he there told us our lost condition ? and has he plainly shown us the only way of safety in the “ Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world ?" Or is there any other revelation, any other condition of man, any other Saviour ? If only one true answer can be given, where then, reader, shall your troubled soul find rest but in the gospel of Christ that “ God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them,” 2 Cor. v. 19; and that, “ He that hath the Son hath life ?" 1 John y. 12; in short, that “neither is there salvation in any other; for there is NONE OTHER NAME under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved ?"
A CHRISTIAN'S LAST PRAYER. An eminent servant of God, who preached the gospel in London for many years, relates that he was very much struck by the remarks of a young woman whose death was near. She had followed the Lord consistently as a true Christian about seven years, before he removed her by a lingering consumption to a better world. On one occasion, referring to her hopes, she said, “No, not cunningly devised fables ! These are realities indeed; I feel their truth; I feel their comfort.” “ She then,” he adds, "fixed her eyes steadfastly on me, and went on, to the best of my recollection, saying as follows: Sir, you are highly favoured in being called to preach the gospel. I have often heard you with pleasure; but give me leave to tell you, that I now see that all you have said, or can say, is comparatively but little. Till you come into my situation, and have death and eternity in view, it will not be possible for you to conceive the vast weight and importance of the truths you declare. Oh, sir, it is a serious thing to die; no words can express what is needful to support the soul in the solemnity of a dying hour.'”
Reader, you too have to pass to the eternal world. There, if the Holy Spirit have renewed your naturally sinful heart,