THEOLOGY & APOLOGETICS
What's in your wallet?
Of Works and Faith
By Beth Hyduke
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Continued from Page One
Though it is one of the most unpopular and hated doctrines, you cannot read the New Testament and escape the exclusivity of Christ as the only means of salvation; it is taught repeatedly throughout the New Testament. If Jesus was merely a good man or a good teacher as many people have postulated, we might expect the text to read something like influential philosopher and religious pluralist John Hick's declaration: "There is not merely one way but a plurality of ways of salvation...taking place in different ways within the contexts of all the great religious traditions." But we don't find anything so vague or nebulous or morally relativistic here. Jesus teaches in John 14:6 that coming to Him and through Him is the mandatory prerequisite to personal salvation. There are no indefinite articles to be found. Jesus does not say "I am a way, a truth, and a life" but "I am the way, the truth, and the life," making a pointed, theological lesson out of His selective and repeated use of the definite article the. They strike like a hammer, hard and clear and resounding with exclusivity. And just to drive home the point He emphasizes, "No one comes to the Father except through Me." In Acts 4:12, the Spirit-filled Peter restated Christ's exclusive claim to Saviorhood: "Salvation is found in no one else [but Jesus], for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved." John wrote, "He who does not believe the Son shall not see life but the wrath of God abides on him" (John 3:36). So crucial and central and foundational was the exclusivity of Jesus as the only hope of salvation that when the Apostle Paul distilled the entire gospel down, what it boiled down to was the Person of Christ and His work on the Cross: "For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified" (1 Corinthians 2:2); later, in his first letter to Timothy he wrote, "For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Jesus Christ" (1 Timothy 2:5). God has publicly designated, commissioned, and sent His Son as our substitutionary sacrifice (Isaiah 53, John 3:16, Romans 8:3, 2 Corinthians 5:21, 1 Peter 2:24), our gracious stand-in, our donation sufficient enough to cover in full the grand total of our sin-debt. Romans 8:2 says, "For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death." Since only Jesus Christ can atone for sin, only Jesus Christ can legitimately offer salvation and sufficiently provide it in the form of His lifeblood shed for us at Calvary. The blood of Jesus is the only acceptable form of payment for sin, and the only currency God accepts as legal tender.
Superficially, worldly currency might look and feel like God's currency. Self-righteousness, trusting in our own good works and deeds and merit to get us through checkout, might just be the Canadian penny of the money world — such a good impersonator that it slips unnoticed in and out of coin purses and earthly cash registers everywhere. Maybe you think you will get through checkout on charm alone; you have no money in your pockets other than the denomination of I'm-not-that-bad-a-person. Maybe you only have foreign currency in your wallet, or maybe you're one who, like I did the other day at the hardware store, got your currencies mixed together — a little Jesus and a little Buddha, or New Age spirituality, or self-help personal-power philosophies, health-and-wealth prosperity teachings...etc.
The checkout line is long and deep in waiting people who think they have enough in their wallet to cover the grand total. But when they finally get up to the register, receive the damage report, and open up their billfolds, many will only find foreign currency that God does not accept. The good news is that if you're reading this, you're still in the waiting line; you have time before you get up to the register. But now is the time to open your wallet and check your form of payment. This same urgency is what Paul was appealing to when he wrote in 2 Corinthians 6:2, "I tell you, now is the acceptable time; now is the day of salvation." When you get to the register it will be too late. So hold up your currency to the light, spread it all out on the floor, examine it closely. Cull what's counterfeit and false and replace it with the tender God's policy clearly states to be the only form of payment that He accepts.
To borrow a current advertising slogan, what's in your wallet?
Image Credit: epSos.de; "Exchange Money Conversion to Foreign Currency"; Creative Commons
Tags: Biblical-Salvation Biblical-Truth False-Teaching Witnessing-Evangelism
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