Posted by: Bill Hornbeck | September 11, 2019

“And 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.”

Today’s devotion comes from Acts 4:1-12.  Here is a link to this Scripture – https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Acts+4&version=NASB

I quote only the following verses.

“Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, “Rulers and elders of the people, if we are on trial today for a benefit done to a sick man, as to how this man has been made well, let it be known to all of you and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead—by this name this man stands here before you in good health.  He is the STONE WHICH WAS REJECTED by you, THE BUILDERS, but WHICH BECAME THE CHIEF CORNER stone.  And 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.”  Acts 4:8-12.

——————–

Although most would nod their approval to this Scripture and claim that their faith is based on Christ alone, they really believe that they are saved by Christ and by their own good works or at least by their own free-will choice of Christ.  They believe that God loves everybody, Christ died for everybody, and that it is up to their own free-will to distinguish themselves worthy of salvation by contributing their own good works or at least their own free-will choice of Christ.  Accordingly, they really believe that salvation is partly in themselves, and they get to boast of some credit and glory for their contribution.

But, Reformed Doctrine refutes such belief that salvation is partly in themselves.  We have seen what Scripture emphatically states:  “And there is salvation in no one else”.  The Belgic Confession states:  “…  those who possess Jesus Christ through faith, have complete salvation in him.  Therefore, for any to assert, that Christ is not sufficient, but that something more is required besides him, would be too gross a blasphemy:  for hence it would follow, that Christ was but half a Savior.  …”

Article 22:  Of Faith in Jesus Christ.

We believe that, to attain the true knowledge of this great mystery, the Holy Ghost kindleth in our hearts an upright faith, which embraces Jesus Christ, with all his merits, appropriates him, and seeks nothing more besides him.  For it must needs follow, either that all things, which are requisite to our salvation, are not in Jesus Christ, or if all things are in him, that then those who possess Jesus Christ through faith, have complete salvation in him.  Therefore, for any to assert, that Christ is not sufficient, but that something more is required besides him, would be too gross a blasphemy:  for hence it would follow, that Christ was but half a Savior.  Therefore we justly say with Paul, that we are justified by faith alone, or by faith without works.  However, to speak more clearly, we do not mean, that faith itself justifies us, for it is only an instrument with which we embrace Christ our Righteousness.  But Jesus Christ, imputing to us all his merits and so many holy works which he has done for us, and in our stead, is our Righteousness.  And faith is an instrument that keeps us in communion with him in all his benefits, which, when become ours, are more than sufficient to acquit us of our sins.  

Next, let us also meditate on the source of the quote (“He is the STONE WHICH WAS REJECTED by you, THE BUILDERS, but WHICH BECAME THE CHIEF CORNER stone.”) in today’s Scripture.

“20 This is the gate of the LORD;
The righteous will enter through it.
21 I shall give thanks to You, for You have answered me,
And You have become my salvation.

22 The stone which the builders rejected
Has become the chief corner stone.
23 This is the LORD’s doing;
It is marvelous in our eyes.”  Psalm 118:20-23.

First, “You have become my salvation.”  No joint credit for salvation is given.  The singular “You” refers to only Jesus Christ as being the Psalmist’s salvation.

Second, “This is the gate of the LORD”.  This statement leads us to the following Scripture.  “Enter through the narrow gate;  for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it.  For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.”  Matthew 7:13-14.

The gate to salvation is narrow in the sense that salvation is only in Christ and not also in others.  The gate to salvation is narrow also in the sense that only God’s elect will be saved.

Most doctrine is like a broad bridge open to everyone, but it only goes half-way across the river.  Such doctrine teaches that God loves everyone, Christ died for everyone, and God wants to save everyone, but it is up to man to contribute something worthy of salvation.  The only difference between the unsaved and saved is that the saved does works or maybe as little as uses his alleged free-will to, so to speak, jump from the end of the bridge, across the river, to the shore of salvation.  Most doctrine believes that everyone has an equal opportunity to be saved, but that Christ’s death completely saved no one in particular.  Only those who do sufficient works or who take a sufficient “free will leap of faith” to the shore of salvation will be saved.  Thus, the bridge is wide, open to everyone, but it only goes halfway across the stream.  Accordingly, the saved have reason to boast for contributing to their own salvation and showing themselves worthy of salvation.

In sharp contrast to most doctrine, Reformed Doctrine is like a narrow bridge only open to God’s elect, but the narrow bridge goes all the way across the river to the shore of salvation. Reformed Doctrine teaches that God only loves His elect and only wants to save them and that Christ died only for the elect.  In summary, God does everything necessary for the salvation of His elect.  Reformed Doctrine points out that Scripture teaches that man is “dead” in sin, hostile to God, cannot please God, cannot understand the things of God, and is in bondage to sin and Satan (which is summarized by the phrase “Total Depravity”, the “T” of “TULIP”, the Reformed Doctrine of Salvation), such that God must do everything for the elect, including making them alive (regenerating them), giving them faith, sanctifying them, and preserving them to salvation, so that all of God’s elect will be saved.  Accordingly, God’s elect have no reason to boast, because God provided everything needed for their salvation.  Thus, salvation is entirely in Christ and in no one else.

Third, “This is the LORD’s doing”.  This statement leads us to the following Scripture.  “But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption, so that, just as it is written, “LET HIM WHO BOASTS, BOAST IN THE LORD.”  1 Corinthians 1:30-31.


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