Gospel, Salvation, and Other Religions - Lesson 2
Exclusivity of Christ
This lesson explores the concept of the exclusivity of Christ and its implications for other religions. Through an examination of the biblical texts, it considers the challenges to exclusivity posed by other religions, including atheism and theological pluralism. The lesson then examines how Christians can engage other religions and live out their witness in a pluralistic world.
Exclusivity of Christ
A. The Definition of Exclusivity
B. Exclusivity in the Bible
II. The Problem of Other Religions
A. Challenges to Exclusivity
B. Models of Other Religions
D. Theological Pluralism
III. Exclusivity and Christian Witness
A. Engaging Other Religions
B. Christian Witness in a Pluralistic World
- This lesson provides an overview of the various aspects of Theology of Religion, and explores the complexities of engaging in dialogue with other religions.
- You will gain an understanding of the exclusivity of Christ and its implications for other religions, as well as the challenges to exclusivity presented by atheism, theological pluralism, and other religions. You'll also learn how to engage other religions and live out Christian witness in a pluralistic world.
- This lesson will provide you a deeper understanding of how Jesus is the central figure of Scripture, and how Old Testament prophecies are fulfilled in the New Testament.
- You will gain insight into the similarities and differences between the religions of the Ancient Near East and the religions of the Bible, looking at concepts such as Hebrew monotheism, the theology of salvation, and the theology of creation. You'll also explore how mythology and evil are portrayed in both the Ancient Near East religions and the Bible, as well as how the Bible incorporates cultural elements from the Ancient Near East religions.
- You will gain insight into the implications of polytheism from a biblical perspective and understand the nature of God and the roles of Jesus and the Holy Spirit.
- In this lesson, you will gain a better understanding of the New Testament and its relationship to other religions. You will gain insight into the theological messages found in the various books of the New Testament, and learn how the New Testament relates to other religions in terms of Jesus, salvation, evangelism, and relationships.
- This lesson you will receive an overview of universalism, its historical context, and its implications for the Bible and theology. You will learn the different types of universalism and examine the biblical passages related to universalism, as well as the theological perspectives on universalism.
- You will gain an understanding of what pluralism is and how it has evolved over time. You will also explore the challenges to pluralism and the implications it has for religious dialogue and multiculturalism.
- In this lesson, you will gain an understanding of inclusivism, its history and theology, as well as its application in missions. You will learn that inclusivism is an approach to theology that respects and works with different religious paths, and offers a robust theology of salvation that is both inclusive and faithful to the biblical message
- This lesson will teach you about the presence and role of the Holy Spirit in the Old Testament, including Ancient Near Eastern Religion, the Old Testament, the Pentateuch, Wisdom Literature, and Prophets.
- You will gain a comprehensive understanding of the person and nature of the Holy Spirit, the role and ministry of the Holy Spirit in the New Testament, the process of receiving the Holy Spirit, and the gifts and fruit of the Spirit.
- This lesson provides an overview of the critical questions related to the gospel, salvation and other religions, and the importance of asking them. It explores questions of homogeneity, essentialism and pluralism with definitions and examples.
With Todd Miles, Ph.D. Western Christianity’s interaction with world religions used to be, for the most part, overseas. Today, “religious others” often live next door. At a changing time when one public prayer spoken during the 2009 U.S. presidential inauguration festivities was addressed to “O god of our many understandings,” the evangelical Christian church should do more than simply dismiss non-Christian religions as pagan without argument or comment. The Church needs a theology of religions that is Christ-honoring, biblically faithful, intellectually satisfying, compassionate, and that will encourage Spirit-powered mission.
Dr. Todd Miles
Gospel, Salvation, and Other Religions
Exclusivity of Christ
[00:00:10] In next Chapter 16, where we're introduced to the story of Paul and Silas, who are in jail. And I know that you're familiar with that, but the walls of the jail have come down and the flippin jailer knows that the jig is up for him. He goes rushing into the jail, anticipating that all the prisoners have escaped. He's going to be held responsible for that. He knows that his life is in danger. And so he he he arrives, though, and he finds that the prisoners are still there. And I think that he is confronted with his own mortality. The spirit of God is working on his heart. And he asks the question that reverberates off the pages of Scripture. It echoes in the heart of every human being whom the spirit graces with this, this moment where you are confronted with your own mortality and the realization that you are not right before God. And He asks Paul and Silas in verse 30, Sirs, what must I do to be saved? He he recognized in that moment that the foundations of his life were crumbling faster and more completely than the jail walls that were surrounding him at that moment. Paul's response is uncompromising. Believe on the Lord Jesus and you will be saved. Verse 31 of 16 Paul is not ashamed of the Gospel. He knew that it was God's power for salvation to everyone who believes first to the Jew and then to the Greek. It's what he wrote to the Romans. And in chapter one, verse 16 of that epistle, Paul, the apostle of the Gentiles, he summarized the necessity of believing the Gospel of Christ, but by stating in Romans ten, This is the message of faith that we proclaim. If you confess with your mouth, Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.
[00:02:05] But what is salvation? What is salvation? This is a critical question to ask and then to answer. What do we mean when we say that Jesus saves? We have to wrap our arms around that question. We have to have an answer. Because when Christians speak of salvation with religious others, if you were talking to a muslim or a Hindu or a mormon or a Jehovah's Witness and you talk about salvation, you have to know what you are talking about and you have to know what your partner in discussion means when he uses the term salvation. Why is that? Because every religion has a particular and distinct understanding of what salvation is. And if you speak in language using the term salvation without having an idea of what each other is talking about, then you're going to be talking past each other. You'll be using the same language, but you won't be agreeing on anything. The Christian understanding of salvation is particular, and it is specific. It it flows from the Bible's description of the nature of God. It flows from the Bible's description of the human dilemma. And then the specific promises of God that find their fulfillment in Jesus Christ. We're going to find out in the in a few sessions in our discussion on pluralism that the Christian idea of salvation cannot be reduced to compatibility with the salvific concepts of other religions without fundamentally distorting the Christian faith in general and Christian salvation in particular. The Christian concept of salvation is absolutely irreconcilable with the conceptions of salvation of all the other religions of the world. The concept of salvation in the ancient Near East and the Greco-Roman Empire, it is within the cultural milieu. When the Bible was written, had a wide range of applications.
[00:04:11] But the notion of Jesus Christ as the Savior is developed from the biblical idea of salvation. You see, when the Bible calls Jesus the Savior. And so when we quote Scripture and we say Jesus is my Savior, we do not mean the Bible does not mean that in any generic or abstract sense. Jesus, in fact, is the Savior in the exact manner that is described in the Bible. Now, how which religion defines salvation is going to be particular to that religion and Christianity is no different. The question that we have to ask is does Christianity? Does the Bible accurately describe the human condition and does it offer salvation that is consistent with that dilemma? And I would challenge you that in your discussion with religious others to really bore in on that, ask your. Conversation partner. What is the human dilemma? What? What is your need? We're talking about salvation in some abstract sense. You tell me what your need is. What is it? The echoes in your heart. And then? Then ask the question. Does your sacred texts the sacred text of your religion do, though? Do those sacred texts accurately describe that which in your heart of hearts, you know that you need? I'm not talking about a felt or perceived need. I'm talking about a real need there. When the Spirit of God speaks to that individual begins to move in, in his or her heart, there will be a moment of clarity there. And then ask, then does your sacred text. Does your religion. Does your God offer a salvation that fully addresses that dilemma? So it's intellectually dishonest to ignore the Bible's presentation of the Gospel of salvation and then claim that the Christian salvation is no different than that of other religions.
[00:06:15] It would be intellectually dishonest for you to just assume that other religions offer a salvation that is somehow equivalent to the Christian concept of salvation. We need to get that straight in the Bible. Salvation is a comprehensive term denoting all the benefits, physical or spiritual, that are graciously bestowed on humans by God. To quote by by M.J. Harris in the new dictionary, Biblical Theology. This salvation expresses the idea, the concept of deliverance from danger into safety and the nature of salvation is best understood when we consider from what one is saved in the Bible, we can be saved from troubles. We see that in some 34 verse six, we can be saved from danger. Matthew eight, verse 25 We can be saved from illness in mark 534. We can be saved from oppression, political oppression, demonic oppression, human oppression. Acts Chapter seven, verse 25 speaks of that. But. But the Bible also speaks of salvation in a more particular way. It is God's work of rescuing His fallen and rebellious people. You see, God is absolutely holy. He is perfect in his character and in all of his ways. He is altogether righteous. He cannot stand in the presence of sin, nor can he leave it unpunished. Adam's fall has rendered every human a sinner by position, by nature and by action. And unless delivered by God, the sinner stands under the just wrath and condemnation of God. The sinner is overpowered by sin. We find that in Romans three. We find in Romans five that the sinner is condemned to die. And then Hebrews nine tells us will face judgment. The rebel, as he lives his life now, is harassed and controlled by the world. Galatians four tells us that controlled by the flesh.
[00:08:18] Romans eight tells us that and controlled by the devil. Ephesians two tells us that the world of flesh and the devil, we need salvation from those things. We need saved from them. The sinner is a slave to fear. Romans eight. Without hope and without God. Ephesians two From all of this, Jesus, having been offered, wants to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him. Hebrews 928 It's critical to note that according to the Bible, all humans stand justly condemned before God because of their sin, and they stand condemned regardless of their access to the revelation of God. Talk more about this in a moment. That is a person is not condemn because he has heard and rejected the gospel. People are condemned. They stand condemned because of their rebellion. Regina three verses 16 through 18. The good news is that God has stepped into time and space and He has done for men and women what they could not do for themselves. God sent his son, Jesus Christ, to atone for human sin. There He satisfies His justice, His character demands, while at the same time demonstrating his love. Romans Chapter five, verse eight While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Distinctive part of the Christian gospel is that humans cannot effect this salvation. We can't bring it about. We're powerless to do that. But we have to accept this precious gift of God's grace by faith. Bible speaks of salvation in many ways with regard to timing as well. The Bible speaks of salvation as a. Deliverance that has already taken place. Romans eight and Titus three. You'll see evidence of that. That's that past deliverance is based upon the life, the death and the resurrection of Christ.
[00:10:21] But salvation is also a deliverance that is presently taking place. Seven Corinthians five, verse 15. First Peter, Chapter one, verse nine We are being saved because of the ongoing work of Jesus, who is our great High Priest. Finally, salvation is a future event that has not yet taken place for us. Audience five and Hebrews Chapter one, verse 14 speaks of a future salvation that awaits the believer. Because one day the believer will see Christ as He is and will be like him. First, John, Chapter three. Salvation is past, present and future. I have been saved. I am being saved and I will yet be saved. And all of Christian salvation is tied to the life, the death and the resurrection, the ascension and return of Jesus Christ. Another essential part of Christian salvation. The Bible's concept of how God saves us is is the truth that only God saves. I am the Lord and there is no other Savior but me. God says Through His Prophet Isaiah and Chapter 43, Jonah recognized this truth after being delivered from drowning, and he prayed while in the giant fish. Salvation is from the Lord. A better statement of how only God can save cannot be found in all the Scriptures. Find out that more will more about that in our next session. Throughout the Old Testament, only God or His anointed one is a savior than Jesus Christ shows up in the new cavern. He's described by the Samaritans as the savior of the world. In John Chapter four, the Apostles preached that God had exalted Jesus to His right hand as ruler and Savior, to grant repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins. In Acts Chapter five and the Apostle Paul declared Jesus to be our great God and Savior.
[00:12:28] In His letter to Titus. Peter declared that believers in the God in the Gospel will be richly supplied entry into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Second, Peter, Chapter one The Greek Term for Savior. So Tear is used in the New Testament eight times of God, 16 times of Jesus, but it is never used of anyone else. One of my favorite writers, Christopher Wright, explains. Nobody else deserves even the vocabulary of salvation, let alone the reality of it. Only God saves. Only Jesus saves. Okay. What's the case for the necessity of conscious faith in Jesus for salvation? I've been talking in Attack two spoke in the first session about the exclusivity of Christ. In this session, we're going to look at why the Bible says that you must hear the Gospel and believe it in order to be saved. I think the case for salvation by grace through faith in the Gospel of Jesus. It's not difficult to make. It really is not. You just kind of have to open your Bibles. The biblical testimony is consistent all the way through. The urgency with which the gospel is proclaimed in the New Testament is absolutely compelling to me. The Apostles went with the message. Yes, because they were obeying the command of their Lord. But they also did it out of the conviction that unless that message was given and it was believed, no one could be saved. It was a message of hope in a dark, dark place. Before we get into some of the explicit texts that that demand belief in Christ for salvation, what's the biblical logic? What is the biblical logic behind the exclusivity of Christ? Well, let's start at the beginning. There's only one God and that God created everything and everybody.
[00:14:29] And because of that, He owns everything and everybody. And this one, God, is not this abstract, amorphous, God like substance that we fill up with meaning. Rather, he is particular and he is personal. And when I say he's particular, I mean by that, that he's one way and not another. We can predicate true things of God and we can say false things about God. I can be wrong about God because he is one way and not another. Remember God saying things like my ways are not your ways. My thoughts are not your thoughts. Left to our own devices. We cannot know anything of this God. Why is that? Because he's the Creator and we're the creature. There is a fundamental distinction. We call it in Christian theology, the creator creature distinction. And it is huge. When we begin to deny the creator creature distinction, you might hear that out in the streets. Oh, I think I'm God or I think the trees or God or I think God is part of me or I'm part of God. When we deny the creator creature distinction, we're going to go sideways really quickly. One implication of this creator creature distinction is we are completely dependent upon God to reveal himself to us. He has done that through creation, though he hasn't left us on our own. He's revealed himself to us through our conscience and also in the way that he governs. We can learn things of God's faithfulness and of His loving care just by observing how God takes care of birds and trees and plants and and also also people, more particularly God has revealed himself. He's revealed who we are to us, and He has revealed his plan of salvation for us through prophets whose words are contained in Scripture.
[00:16:21] More particularly still, God has revealed himself ultimately through his son. The Bible tells us, and we know from our own experience, that we have rebelled against God and we have been justly separated from Him, and we are justly deserving of condemnation and death. That's kind of the biblical storyline, isn't it? Therefore, and this is critical to understand as we talk about this topic, we are not neutral. Now, we might wish that we were neutral. We might assume it to be so, but wishing does not make it so. We are not neutral. Not one of us. We have to understand that we often look at the exclusive claims of Christ and we feel God is being stingy with his salvation. Because what about all those innocent people over there who have never heard the gospel? The Apostle Paul, I think, would scratch his head and he'd say, What innocent people are you talking about? Oh, all those people over there who are seeking God. And the apostle Paul who wrote Romans three would say, I don't know where those people are. Who are these innocent people who are seeking God? Read, read Romans three and you'll see God's indictment of humanity. No one seeks God. No one does. Good. No, not one. We have to have a radical perspective change here. The wonder is not that. It is not that all are not saved. Okay? We are not. I can't believe that all are not saved. Rather, when we realize that we're not neutral, humanity is not neutral. The wonder is that any are saved. How great a god to save those people who have rebelled against him. We're told in Scripture that the response of sinful humans to God's revelation of who we are, who he is, what our dilemma is.
[00:18:19] And the solution to that dilemma is we suppress that truth of God in unrighteousness. You see, just like the Bible does not know of any innocent people out there, the Bible also doesn't know of any true atheists. We all have knowledge of God, Romans one tells us. And what do we do with that true knowledge of God unless the Spirit is working in our hearts? We suppress that truth of God in unrighteousness. This particular God has set in motion a particular plan that is consistent with all of His particular attributes and satisfies all the demands of his particular character. You see, God does not act in an ad hoc way. God does not send Jesus and just wonder how things are going to turn out. He does not see Jesus pinned up on the cross and say, Well, how am I going to make lemonade lemonade out of these lemons? But what can I do? Oh, I know. I'll put the sins of the world on Jesus. You know, the the Bible is very clear that that this was the plan of God from the beginning. It was ordained by him. Jesus Christ, in fact, is the lamb of God crucified before the foundations of the world. This plan of God is is invested with his character and wisdom. It's particular to his own demands. We cannot intuit our way to God. Only the Lord can give us a path back to himself that satisfies who He is. And it's consistent with the with what he wants to do with humanity. What we'll find out in the next session is that Jesus comes as the critical figure in that plan. He He becomes the focus and the fulfillment of the biblical storyline. All the covenants revolve around and they all anticipate him.
[00:20:05] And another thing we find in scripture, and this is just and this is due to the hardness of human hearts, is that despite God's wonderful grace and this so great salvation, humans try to find their own path. Biblical authors recognize this. Jesus understood this. And what we find in Scripture is there is a great hope, but there is, quite frankly, a pessimism that the majority will be saved. Listen to the words of Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount Matthew seven, verses 13 and 14. Enter by the narrow gate, for the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few. That's the biblical logic of the exclusivity of Christ. Let's look at some explicit biblical statements that support this. When the Apostles were commissioned to take the good news of Jesus Christ from Jerusalem to the entire world, they did so with the conviction that that apart from the proclamation of the gospel, there's absolutely no hope for humanity in the economy. The early church. There was a direct correlation between the preaching of the gospel and salvation. When gospel proclamation was hindered, then others could not be saved. And those people went out preaching to those who had never heard, those who had never heard could not be saved. For its first Thessalonians chapter two, verse 16 speaks to this The Apostles commitment to the Great Commission. It was based on obedience to Jesus explicit commands and the certainty born of three years of walking with and being taught by Jesus. There are statements that affirm the necessity of belief in Jesus for salvation all through the Bible.
[00:22:06] Take a look at the Gospel of John, for example. The right to become children of God is given to those who receive Christ. John Chapter one Verse 12. Everyone who believes in God's one and only Son will not perish but have eternal life. John 316 That passage goes on to teach that belief in Jesus is the only way to escape the condemnation that everybody rightly deserves. It's the will of my father. Jesus said that everyone who sees the son and believes in him may have eternal life and Jesus will raise him up on the last day. Jesus said in John, Chapter six, Jesus Christ, Who is the light of the world? John eight has come so that others may have life. John, Chapter ten, Verse ten Jesus described himself as the resurrection and the life, and He promised that the one who believes in me, even if he dies, will live. John Chapter 11, verse 25. So Christ centered is that life that is promised that Jesus described eternal life as knowing Him and his Father the only true God. John Chapter 17. Ultimately, the purpose of John's gospel was that those who read it may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing they may have life in His name. John Chapter 2431 The Apostles were commissioned with a message the fulfillment of the Scriptures to preach the death and resurrection of Jesus and the good news of repentance for forgiveness of sins to be proclaimed in His name. Luke 24. All the Gospels have a great commission at the end of them. From Peter to Paul, the Apostles were faithful to preach the simple gospel message that Jesus died for sins and rose again. First Corinthians 15.
[00:23:56] We looked at that last session. The Book of Acts, it records the Apostles consistently calling upon all to believe in Jesus in order that they may be saved. In Peter's sermon at Pentecost. He identified Jesus as the object of saving faith necessary for those who would call upon the Lord in order to be saved. Chapter two We looked at that last session also, and at the conclusion of that sermon, remember that Peter asked all who heard to repent and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. Other clear statements that forgiveness of sin is made possible by Christ are found all through the Gospel or all through the Book of Acts. Perhaps the strongest statement of the exclusivity of Christ in the entire Bible is found in chapter four, verse 12. Why don't you turn there with me? Chapter four. Peter has this to say. I'll begin in verse eight. Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said of them, rulers of the people and elders. If we are being examined today concerning a good deed done to a crippled man, by what means this man has been healed. Let it be known to all of you and to all the people of Israel that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead by Him. This man is standing before you. Well, this Jesus is the stone that was rejected by you, the builders, which has become the cornerstone. And here's the verse, verse 12. And there is salvation in no one else. Four There is no other name under heaven given among men by whom we much must be saved.
[00:25:39] Four aspects to this, to this verse. Chapter four verse 12 That speak. They emphasize the teaching and exclusivity of Christ. First in the Greek, the phrase There is no one else. It precedes the subject salvation. Literally, a beginning Greek student would translate this way and there is no. But in another No. One salvation. I think this this makes the point emphatically there is no one else at all other than Jesus who has the means to provide salvation. Second, the phrase under heaven. It demonstrates just how extensive Peter's exclusion of all other names actually is. There is no other name under heaven. No matter where you are, there is no other name available at all anywhere. It's also instructive that the Peter doesn't localize the statement. There's no other name given to you this day, but there might be other names some place else. Or he doesn't say there's no other name given to Jews, but. But to those in eastern parts of the world, there's names given to Buddhists or Hindus or what have you. Rather, there is no other name given to generic people. Third, it says here there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved. That word we must. It's emphatic and it is necessary. And there is no other name that speaks to the total degree of the exclusivity in view here. Any other name presented cannot save. And finally, the use of the word name points to far more than just the ontological source of salvation that the God provided salvation through Jesus. But you don't necessarily have to believe in him. But a name has been given. Now, the authoritative fullness of the being in the work of Jesus is in view here.
[00:27:49] Jesus is identified as the name given to people. You have to know Him who is also the means by which they are saved. Further evidence Turn your Bibles to chapter 13 and Chapter 13. Paul has delivered an evangelistic message in a Jewish synagogue in Antioch. There, he argues from the law and the prophets that Jesus is the Christ. And he called on everyone to believe in Jesus for forgiveness, justification. And this is in verses 16 through 41. Notice the response. Paul comes back the next Sabbath. Many Jews opposed to the insulted Paul in verse 45 because they rejected the message of Christ. Paul rebukes the Jews. He states that he's turning to the Gentiles, and there is something very odd. He quotes Isaiah 49, verse six, and this is a messianic prophecy. You read it in Isaiah. It is speaking of the anointed one, the Messiah, who is to come, who's going to bring salvation. But Paul applies it to himself. I've appointed you as a light for the Gentiles to bring salvation to the ends of the earth. Well, who can do that? Jesus does that. Jesus does that. Clearly, this is the Messiah who does it. And and what we find here is that those Gentiles who believed in the language of Acts 13, verse 48, those Gentiles who were appointed to eternal life, they believed in context, though Paul's quotation was a prophecy of the servant of Israel, referring to Jesus, his work on the cross. I believe that provides salvation for all who would repent and believe in him. But Paul applies it to himself as the one who takes the message of salvation to the Gentiles. See, here we have that ontological necessity. Jesus is the one who can save.
[00:29:44] Jesus, accomplishes salvation through his work on the cross, His resurrection, his ascension, his his present work on our behalf. But there's an epistemological necessity as well. You have to believe it. You have to. You have to know Jesus. See, by Paul's way of thinking, the link between Christ's saving work on the one hand and the proclamation of the Gospel by him, that link is so strong that Paul is able to apply a messianic prophecy of hope to himself. Paul did not see any separation, any radical bifurcation between Jesus providing salvation and then that epistemological necessity of believing in him. When you take the gospel to the nations, you are a light to the Gentiles. A few more narratives in acts. They bear directly on this Christian theology of religions. The Story of Cornelius and Chapter nine. Turn back in your Bible, Chapter nine and ten, and then we'll look at the Jerusalem Council in Acts 15. Cornelius And Acts nine is described as a devout man. Chapter ten We find out he feared God. He did many charitable deeds for the Jewish people, always prayed to God. I mean, notice what's being said of Cornelius. He's a devout man. He's a God fear. He has aligned himself with the covenant people of God through angelic mediation. Peter is summoned to preach the Gospel to the Gentile Cornelius, and to all of his household. Peter He summarized his gospel message when he when he meets with Cornelius of the death and the resurrection of Christ by saying that Jesus commanded us to preach to the people and to solemnly testify that He is the one appointed by God to be the judge of the living and the dead. All the prophets testify about him that through his name, everyone who believes in him will receive forgiveness of sins.
[00:31:37] Acts Chapter ten, verses 42 and 43. You see, Cornelius was a man. Think about who he was and what he had done. He had responded to the revelation of God to Israel. He had aligned himself with the covenant people of God, though he had remained uncircumcised. It seems he is attempting to worship the one true and living God. If Cornelius had lived 30 years earlier, if he had lived before Christ came, I would suggest you. He is doing everything necessary to be considered just like Abraham, just like David, just like Elijah, these Old Testament saints. But things have changed. Jesus has come in fulfillment. He is the one who saves now. Peter's message, therefore, was that Cornelius had to believe in Jesus in order to be forgiven, see, despite his religiosity. And it was profound. The Bible describes his prayers to God, his acts of charity towards God's covenant people. Despite that religiosity, Cornelius had to hear and believe the Gospel before he could be saved. How do I know that? Actually, Chapter 11, verse 14. In Peter's retelling of the story to the Church of Jerusalem, he goes back to Jerusalem, tells this mainly Jewish group of believers at this point in redemptive history that God has appointed salvation to the Gentiles now. He describes how an angel had gone to Cornelius and told him that Peter, quote, will speak words to you by which you and all your household will be saved at chapter 11, verse 14. The Greek word there, translated will be saved is a future tense verb. Language is clear. Cornelius, despite his piety, despite his charity, despite his aligning himself with the covenant people, despite his going to the temple to worship, he was not saved until he heard the proclamation of the Gospel and believed.
[00:33:38] Turn to chapter 15 Next. Chapter 15 Paul's Speech at the Jerusalem Council also decisive for the necessity of faith in Jesus for salvation. Remember that, Peter? I know. I can't believe I did that. Is that going to pick up? Oh, was the back end. I mean, I don't know if it will or not. Unbelievable. It was. Go back to that 1530. Okay. Yeah. Let me turn this off here. Come on, Come on, come on. Yeah. Sorry. All right. Okay. All right. Okay. Peter, Speech at the Jerusalem Council was also decisive for the necessity of faith in Jesus for salvation. Peter recalled that he had been sent to the Gentiles so that they would hear the gospel message and believe in verse seven of Acts 15. In response to the Gospel, the Gentiles have been given the Holy Spirit, just as he had been given to the believing Jews in Acts chapter 15, verse eight. On this basis, there ought to be no distinction between Jews and Gentiles. Why? Because the Jews were saved. Quote, In the same way that the Gentiles were enacted. Chapter 15, verse 11. In other words, the hope of salvation for Gentiles was exactly that of the Jews in the Jerusalem Church. How would Peter and his Jewish colleagues been saved? They were saved by grace through faith in Jesus. In Peter's reckoning, surely, thinking back to that encounter with Cornelius, there was no second category for those who were saved by Jesus without believing in him. Jews are saved by faith in Jesus. Gentiles are saved by faith in Jesus. The New Testament writers, they continued the proclamation of salvation by grace, alone through faith, alone in Christ, alone in Romans Chapter ten versus nine through 18. The last text that we'll look at in any detail.
[00:36:04] Romans Chapter ten versus nine through 18. In this passage, Paul taught that salvation comes through confession, that Jesus is Lord and through belief that God raised him from the dead. That's in versus nine and ten. Jesus is the object of saving faith, the saving Lord of all, whether Jew or Gentile. We find that in verse 12 for everyone who calls on the name of the Lord that is the Lord Jesus will be saved. Verse 13. And here Paul is quoting an Old Testament passage from Joel, chapter two, verse 32, and Paul equates Jesus Christ with the Lord, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. This this Lord is humanity's only savior. But we find out it's impossible to call upon the Lord in order to be saved if the Gospel is not preached so that it can be believed. That's the logic of verses 14 through 16. It's faith that saves through hearing the Word of Christ, verse 17, it's holding to the message of the gospel that saves those who are perishing, identified as those who do not believe the gospel saying, Paul says. And so Corinthians four they cannot see the light of the Gospel, the glory of Christ. Who is the image of God? Paul He adamantly denied to the Galatians that there is any other gospel and reminded them that it was only through hearing combined with faith that they had received the spirit in a demonstration that they were saved. Galatians Chapter three, Verse two He wrote to the Ephesians Gentiles that they previously had been dead in trespass since in chapter two, verse one, until they had been brought near to God through the blood of Christ. And this salvation was appropriated how by grace through faith, Ephesians chapter two, verses eight and nine, Jesus is the supreme revelation of God.
[00:38:01] The author of Hebrews described him as the radiance of the glory of God. It was the Lord Jesus and then the Apostles who declared the message of the Great Salvation in Hebrews two. But the good news that is preached, it has to be combined with faith, if it is to be of any benefit. Hebrews Chapter four. Those who would enter the sanctuary of God, they can do so only by the death of Jesus and through the high priestly work in full assurance of faith. Hebrews ten tells us that this faith, without which it's impossible to please God. Hebrews 11 is focused on Jesus, who is the source and perfector of our faith. In Hebrews Chapter 12 verse to the Apostle Peter was likewise clear that it was through the living and enduring Word of God, which is the word that was preached as the Gospel, that His hearers were born again. First Peter 122 through 25 A lot of biblical texts I just ran through culminate in this one. First, John, Chapter four, verse six. The Apostle John taught that listening to the Apostolic witness was the prerequisite to fellowship with God. Those who repudiated the eyewitness message of the Apostles, that is the Gospel. They did not listen to God. I think the biblical logic is clear. The explicit statements are clear. You have to believe the gospel in order to be saved. We'll start looking at some implications for that in the next session.