“Christ Is the Promised Name that Saves Us”
“Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12 NKJV)
Christ had recently been crucified, and reports were circulating widely that He had risen from the dead and had returned to heaven, where He had come from. The Apostle Peter had been an eye witness of these events, and was now explaining what they meant for people of his time, and what they mean for all of us today. Peter, along with the Apostle John, had just healed a lame man. The religious leaders were demanding an explanation of how this had happened. Peter explains that the lame man has been made well, that is, “saved” (Acts 4:9), because Christ was operating from heaven through Peter and John. In fact, this man who had been lame since birth was now able to walk and leap and praise God. My reading of the text is that Peter intentionally uses “saved” as a play on words to associate the physical healing of the lame man with the spiritual salvation by which Christ “heals” us. The miracle of the lame man illustrates for us the practical significance of Jesus’ death and resurrection. Each of us, apart from Christ is spiritually lame since birth. Spiritually, we can do nothing more than drag ourselves around in the dust and beg for charity. We are completely helpless to find God’s presence or to restore ourselves to Him. Peter explains in this verse that the good news of the Gospel of Christ is that because Jesus died and rose again, we are saved, made healthy, made whole. This is the healing miracle Christ performs in us.
The New Testament Scriptures teach us that if we are to be saved at all, it “must” be through Christ. This “Name” which God the Father has given us to save us is actually a person, a certain very special Person, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. The man Jesus, who is the divine Son of God, and who lived, died, and rose again, has become our Savior. He saves us from sin and death and every other kind of evil. He lifts us up on our feet, spiritually, to walk with Him. The Old Testament Scriptures had recorded all of God the Father’s promises to humanity to bless us in every way possible, and to give us the kind of life He has always intended to give us. Most importantly, His blessing is that we are to be with Him forever. This is in fact what heaven is, being with God forever. With the resurrection of Christ, it became perfectly clear that God has given us His own Son as the means to fulfill of all of His promises to us. God had always promised to redeem His people at the proper time. Now Peter explains that all the Father’s redemptive promises are fulfilled in Christ, through His death and resurrection. This is the consistent witness of the Apostles in the New Testament writings. Christ is the fulfillment of everything. The Father’s gift to us turns out to be Himself, in the Person of His own Son through His Spirit, bringing us forgiveness of sin and reconciliation with Himself. Now we truly will be with God forever. Forever with the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit in His eternal kingdom established in the New Creation, in the new heavens and the new earth.
The Bible is Christ’s book. He wrote it. It’s all about Him and what He means to us. My own identity and significance are related precisely to who He is and what He has done for me. We are His sheep that He has saved by giving His own life on the cross. We belong to a community of people grazing safely and contentedly in His pastures. The Scriptures are the story of our redemption in Christ, from beginning to end, from Genesis to Revelation. Every passage of Scripture contributes to this grandest of epic stories, the true history of humanity. The Scriptures from beginning to end call us to follow Christ as His disciples. The message of the Scriptures as a whole and in all of their parts is the Gospel. The Scriptures, rightly interpreted, are the Gospel and the Gospel is the Scriptures. Every time we see Christ in the Scriptures and hear the Gospel in them, they invite us to know Him ever more deeply. Every page, every passage, every verse, properly understood, points us to Him. The Old Testament continually prepares my heart for Christ’s coming to me, so He can sink in ever deeper into my heart. Through the New Testament, Christ continually comes to my heart, as I wait for Him to come again to me when He returns from heaven. Every single passage of the Scriptures has the potential to be a sacred place for me to be with Christ through His Spirit in the most intimate of relationships humanly possible. Eternal life is not just about living forever. It is about knowing Christ forever, being with Him forever, starting today and continuing every day. The Scriptures give us a taste of Paradise, a taste of heaven on earth. My Lord with His beloved. Me with my Beloved.