Years ago, my husband and I went to an All-Inclusive resort in the Dominican Republic with some friends. The beaches were pristine and the sand felt like flour between our toes. I had never seen such turquoise water in my life! Inside the resort, we didn’t have a care in the world; it was “All-Inclusive” after all. When we were hungry, we ate. When we wanted a tropical drink, we had one. If we were thirsty while swimming, we just swam up to the bar and ordered a drink- a non-alcoholic one, in case you were wondering. It was glorious!
But, life isn’t “all-inclusive”. However, this idea pervades our culture and many have adopted it as truth. Have you ever heard this? “Well, how can you say that there is only one way to God? I mean, that just seems so exclusive. What about the Buddhist or the Muslim? I think that if you just do more good than bad, you should be able to earn a spot in the Kingdom of God.”
It sounds so nice, doesn’t it? Every one’s invited; find your own way and you get in.
But the problem is, it just isn’t true.
Far greater than our minds can fathom, is the God of the universe, whose plan for salvation included his own Son bearing the weight of the world’s sin. His grand plan changed everything known to humanity and rocked even the most “spiritual” of people, who at that time, had read the Torah and knew it word for word. His plan was exclusive, in that not everyone would choose to follow Jesus, but His forgiveness was offered to all.
In Acts 3 and 4, Peter and John had just been used by God to heal a man, lame since birth. This didn’t go over well with the Sanhedrin, a group of 71 “ultra-religious” Jewish men. After all, these men were speaking of Jesus’ resurrection from the dead and this idea wasn’t included in the Torah. Were they a political threat to the Sanhedrin or just grossly mistaken?
Peter and John found themselves being confronted by this large group of men, as they stood defending by what name and by what kind of power they had healed this man.
Their response (Acts 4): “Rulers of the people and elders, 9 if we are being examined today concerning a good deed done to a crippled man, by what means this man has been healed, 10 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. 11 This Jesus is the stone that was rejected by you, the builders, which has become the cornerstone. 12 And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”
Did you catch that last verse?
“There is No other name by which we must be saved.”
So, it’s not “all-inclusive-everyone find their own way-salvation”. It is through one name: Jesus. But as Peter says, “Repent and turn back so that your sins may be blotted out and times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord.”
Your “refreshment” comes from His very presence. And I don’t know about you, but I’ll take the Lord and all of His promises over a simple guess and a hope that we all “find our own way” any day! But, that is life-change; the same life-change that this lame man had just experienced.
If you stood before a council and had to answer the questions, “by what name and by whose power do you live?” I pray you would be able to answer with boldness, “by Jesus, because salvation is found in no one else!”