Strength For The Day
Isn't It Time To Emphasize the Uniqueness of Jesus?
“Let it be known to you and to all the people… that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead, this man is standing before you. This Jesus is the stone that was rejected by you, the builders, which has become the cornerstone. And there is salvation in no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” The Apostle Peter, Acts 4:10-12
Christianity Today-Online polled its readers last week on what theme they thought the magazine should address most in 2009. The choices were evangelism, catechesis (the church’s teaching responsibility), the uniqueness of Jesus Christ, abortion, and persecution. 1822 readers responded to the poll, and the winner by 11% over 2nd place (35% overall) was “the uniqueness of Jesus Christ.” Undoubtedly some of these themes overlap and all of them have an importance and urgency to them, but why is “the uniqueness of Jesus Christ” a theme worthy of theirs or anyone’s greatest attention?
Simply, because the message of the whole Bible from Genesis to Revelation never fails to emphasize it! Jesus declared it over and over that it might get through our thick skulls. None of the other themes have any validity, relevance or authority if Jesus, the One who commands us to do something about these themes, is not who He says He is. Paul declares Jesus’ essential uniqueness and exclusive place in our salvation, as well as the only reason for the existence of the universe, when he wrote to the Colossians, “by [Jesus Christ] all things hold together.” (1:17)
“All things” refers to more than the created, material universe. It also means society, civilization, justice, goodness and truth; everything that exists. Jesus Christ not only brought all things into being, but He holds it all together; including the mouths that denounce Him with obscenities, the hands that perpetrate every type of evil, the minds that devise lies and fraud to their own aggrandizement, the proponents of each and every other religion who in their man-made idolatry seek to nullify Him in subverting the truth, which He is. After all He said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.” (John 14:6)
The second reason to emphasize Jesus’ uniqueness in 2009 is that apparently, if you believe recent polls, a remarkable number of professing Christians, even Evangelicals, have caved to the intimidation of being considered intolerant and a bigot to admit they believe that Jesus, as He Himself testified, is the ONE and ONLY way to salvation. Who is at fault here; pastors, ill-taught, ignorant Christians, pervasive pluralism in our culture, seeker-friendly churches offending no one while teaching and preaching “mush?” I recently read over Christmas that 70% of Britons today do not believe in the historicity of the account of Jesus’ birth. This is the nation of John Wesley, George Whitefield, and Charles Spurgeon.
Yet America is hard on Britain’s heels. A non-vague, specific poll by the Pew Research organization this past summer produced results that 54% of professing Christians in America who attended church at least weekly believed that Jesus was NOT the ONLY way to salvation. There were other paths that were equally valid. 37% of white Evangelicals admitted they believed this; 75% of mainline Protestants; and 85% of non-Hispanic white Catholics.
Let me ask a question; would you rather be called a bigot and intolerant by an ignorant world now; or told by Jesus at the most important time in your life, “Depart from me, I never knew you?”
May the theme of the Apostle Paul’s life also be yours in 2009: “I am not ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ, for it is the power of salvation for everyone who believes.” (Romans 1:16) And if that is your confession, may you also be ready to “always give an answer for the faith which is in you,” when someone asks, how can you believe Jesus is the ONLY way to salvation?
“Heavenly Father, I know I will be tested in this; give me courageous, steadfast faith to confess Jesus before men, that He might confess me before Your presence in the courts of Heaven. Amen.”
by Stephen Leonard