No Other Name!

In our pluralistic culture any view, any religion, any opinion is tolerated—except the position that Peter proclaims in Acts 4:12 as he speaks about Jesus: there is no other name under heaven by which we must be saved.

Salvation is found in no one else. Peter is explaining the healing of the lame man, and before the Sanhedrin repeats what he had said in the temple the day before: it was through the name of Jesus that the man had been healed. He explains who that name belongs to.

They demand to know by what authority Peter had acted. He responds with a bold affirmation that it is by the name of Jesus that this “act of kindness” had been done, v.9. (The word translated as “healing” and “salvation” in our English Bibles are the same in Greek.) The name of Jesus had given a holy boldness to Peter, who had denied his Lord a few weeks earlier.

Salvation” delivers you from the wrath of God and restores all things. Peter’s claim is offensive in his day and today, not only because it is exclusive, but also because of the implication that you need salvation. “Salvation” is not merely deliverance from some problem, but from the righteous wrath of a holy God. The lame man needed healing, but as he had faith in the Name, he received far more than restored limbs. You share the basic problem the lame man had: how you as a sinner can be reconciled to a holy God.

Peter has just described the suffering of the Servant, suffering made necessary because of your sins. Salvation is found in no one else than the Lord Jesus Christ. In Biblical terms salvation includes the redemption of the individual, and the seeping, renewing, re-creating work of Christ.

You must be saved in his name. Jesus is the exclusive Savior. He is the rejected stone. Peter’s reference to Psalm 118:22 had been used by Jesus with clear Messianic implications, Luke 20:17. God’s evaluation differs from men’s! v.10. Peter repeatedly emphasizes the uniqueness of Christ as Savior. “Salvation is found in no one else.” “There is no other name under heaven. . . .”

The Name” here used of Jesus, is used of Jehovah in the Old Testament. Peter’s use shows his clear understanding that Jesus is truly God.

God commands you to trust in Jesus’ name. Do not misquote the text. It is “must” not “may” be saved. Of all the proposed ways to God, the only one which saves is the Name! Trust him! That note of exclusiveness was offensive in Peter’s day. It continues to offend would-be autonomous man.

B. B. Warfield writes: “There is a note of severity” in the way Peter declares it, but “through all the severity there sounds also a note of exuberance.” This is the Name above every name, the Name to which every knee will bow, the Name that is precious because of the nails through his hands and feet for your sake.

“No other name!” The claim offends some, but to those who know it is true, how precious to hear that glorious name! He calls you to himself. He summons you to honor that name with your confession and with your life of obedience.

About jwm

I serve as pastor of Trinity Presbyterian Church, Newberg, Oregon.
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