No Other Name

We live in an age of equality, in which everyone (supposedly) is equal to everyone else. That is true in religion as well, where the one offense seems to exclusivity. But Biblical Christianity does claim to be exclusive, though hopefully not in an arrogant way.

Salvation is found in no one else. The name of Jesus had brought healing. The commotion caused by the healing of the lame man and Peter’s sermon had caused the arrest of Peter and John. Now the Sanhedrin demands to know what authority or name lay behind their act, v.7. The way the question was asked was demeaning. “Men like you!” would be the force of it today. Peter responds with a bold affirmation that it is by the name of Jesus that this “act of kindness” had been done, v.9. (The words for healing and salvation 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.

There is salvation in no one else. Peter’s claim is offensive, 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. One of the functions of the law of God is to show you that you are a sinner in God’s sight. You do deserve his judgment. You need the salvation he alone provides. 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 see anticipations of that in the Levitical regulations which provided a right of redemption, and pointed to the Year of Jubilee as the great time of liberation. Yes, your individual salvation is vitally important. But don’t lose sight of the corporate character of your salvation. Keep in mind its universal scope. Your hope, in Biblical terms, is not to be raptured out of here, nor just to be absent from the body and present with the Lord (true and comforting though that is for the interim), but your hope is the renewal, the restoration of all things.

“The office of Redeemer was laid upon him that he might be our Savior. Still, our redemption would be imperfect if he did not lead us ever onward to the final goal of salvation. Accordingly, the moment we turn away even slightly from him, our salvation, which rests firmly in him, gradually vanishes away.” (John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion, 2.16.1)

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! Verse 10. Peter repeatedly emphasizes the uniqueness of Christ as Savior. “Salvation is found in no one else.” “There is no other name under heaven….” Search the religions of the world. Yes there are many different theories of how a person can be right with God, but none have a Savior like Jesus Christ. All other religions are at heart auto-soteristic. Christianity alone recognizes the problem of sin and provides the divine solution to that problem. The Protestant Reformation (like Paul writing to the Galatians) recognized that compromising the concept of trusting in Christ alone meant proclaiming another gospel. Much of American Christianity involves looking at salvation as in some degree, us cooperating with God.

“Biblically, saving grace is given and received only by faith in Christ—either by way of promise (Old Testament faith in the Messiah to come) or in light of its fulfillment (New Testament faith in the Messiah who has come)…. Without faith in Christ as the fulfillment of God’s promises to Israel, there is no salvation (cf. Paul’s sweeping declaration in 2 Cor. 1:20; cf. Acts 4:12)…. Conceiving of salvation by either human performance or ethic pedigree—projects in self-justification coram Deo—is the inevitable result when Christ is rejected as the meaning and fulfillment of God’s saving promises to Israel.” (Richard B. Gaffin Jr., In the Fullness of Time: An Introduction to the Theology of Acts and Paul, page 217)

A name identifies a person and his work: Florence Nightingale, Adolph Hitler, George Washington. In the Old Testament “the Name” referred to YHWH; here it is transferred to Jesus. It brings to mind his substitutionary work and his glorious person.

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.

“There is a note of severity in the mode in which he [Peter] declares it, for the occasion of its declaration was such as to call for assertion,—assertion in the face of hard unbelief, of persistent denial of the crown-rights of the King. But through all the severity there sounds also a note of exuberance…. The name of Jesus was inexpressibly precious to him because it was the saving name, nay we will not express it adequately until we say it outright—because it was the only saving name in all the universe.” (B. B. Warfield, The Saviour of the World, pages 34–35)

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, the name that is above every other because of his humiliation and exaltation for you.

“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. “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.”