God’s Word for You
Acts 4:12 No other name
by Pastor Timothy Smith on Wednesday, September 25, 2019
12 Salvation comes from no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.”
The name of Jesus is stressed throughout this trial. It would be good to remember that Jesus was given his name at the command of God through his angels: “You are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21; Luke 2:21). The name of Jesus is what the dogmaticians call the Gospel in nuce “in a nutshell,” since “Jesus” means “The Lord Saves.” Martin Chemnitz (1522-1586) stressed: “Not merely according to human intention, which might err, but on God’s authority and command we are to adore Christ as ‘Jesus.’”
Salvation by Jesus alone is a doctrine we can never surrender. If the Christian Church were ever to give up on Christ, God the Father would surely give up on us all. More than that, he would say as he said to Moses when the Israelites built the golden calf, “Leave me alone so that my anger may burn against them and that I may destroy them” (Exodus 32:10). Praise God forever and ever that his mercy is eternal; that he has covered over the guilt of our sins with Jesus’ blood.
There are Christians and whole Church bodies that discard this and other passages like it (John 14:6; Jude 4). They trade their Savior for a lie (Romans 1:25) and they have fallen into crass and asinine idolatry. They pretend they are throwing a life-preserver to drowning souls when in fact they are throwing out anchors and anvils so that the drowning will grab hold and perish. They are no different from the people of Jerusalem who said, “We have made a lie our refuge and falsehood our hiding place” (Isaiah 28:15), and this is the very statement that brought God to reply: “See, I lay a stone in Zion, a tested stone, a precious cornerstone for a sure foundation; the one who trusts will never be dismayed” (Isaiah 28:16). Whoever rejects the Cornerstone rejects the whole City of God, life, and salvation.
The name Jesus means “The Lord Saves.” There is no reason to look anywhere else for help or salvation. “Our help is in the name of the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth” (Psalm 124:8).
One last comment about the translation above. There is no verb in the Greek text of the first phrase except “is” (ἔστιν). One rule of translation is that when a verb occurs in the previous context, it may be brought forward for the sake of clarity, or that a verb of motion (coming or going) may be supplied. Here I have supplied “comes” in this way, since “is” might be difficult for some readers to grasp all by itself. The choice made by some other translations has been to supply “found,” but this does not occur at all in the context, and is easily misunderstood to imply that the believer “finds” Jesus. But the way of salvation is made clear by Paul: “When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins” (Colossians 2:13). Did the dead Lazarus seek out Jesus to raise him from the dead? Did the youth at Nain find Jesus? Did the daughter of Jairus seek Jesus? Everyone who is dead in their sins is completely under the power of the devil, and cannot by their own thinking or choosing believe in Jesus Christ.
Salvation is given to us; it is not found by us. We take hold of it by faith, but even our faith is a gift (Ephesians 2:8). As some of our Lutheran fathers have put it: “Faith justifies not as an act by itself, but because of the object which it grasps,” and “Faith justifies not as a work, but as an instrument.” Be thankful for the faith that was given to you, and especially for Jesus. Knowing his name means knowing who to thank, and we thank him with everything we say, think, and do.
Pastor Timothy Smith