Summary: Article XVIII : Of Obtaining eternal Salvation only by the Name of Christ: They also are to be had accursed that presume to say, That every man shall be saved by the Law or Sect which he professeth, so that he be diligent to frame his life according to th
I preached it @:
o Providence REC 08/25/02
Article XVIII : Of Obtaining eternal Salvation only by the Name of Christ
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God is Just not Fair
Gal 3:16-22: Promise to Seed. Purpose of Law. Faith alone.
Luke 10:23-37: Good Samaritan.
Does your faith make a damn difference?
Acts 4:10-12: let it be known to you all, and to all 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 stands here before you whole. This the stone which was rejected by you builders, which has become the chief cornerstone. Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.
The two NT readings today both contain the word or the concept of "only". Gal says that we are justified only by faith, and Acts says we are saved only by the name of Jesus. Depending upon how you look at it, "onlies" are a comfort or a burden. The are a glory to us or an embarrassment. They give us hope, or we rail against them as the highest form of evil. They refine us, or they make us into a clique. The Reformation gave us 5 such "onlies", or "alones", or if you prefer the Latin, "solis".
Who can name them?
They stand together like a great stone arch. Remove even one of them and the whole bridge collapses.
** SLOW. From the heart. **
We are embarked upon a study of Biblical doctrines thru the direction provided by the 39 Articles. Each Article, as it was written, was a statement of a truth that was held by the framers to be important. Each stood in contradiction against various errors. Some articles, such as those concerning the Trinitarian nature of God, referred to past controversies that had largely been settled, but needs restatement in each generation. Other articles refer to issues, which can still get us in trouble today, esp in the context of the whole world. I would like to refer us today to one that could in some circles be called the most controversial of all articles.
XVIII. Of obtaining eternal Salvation only by the Name of Christ.
They also are to be had accursed that presume to say, That every man shall be saved by the Law or Sect which he professeth, so that he be diligent to frame his life according to that Law, and the light of Nature. For Holy Scripture doth set out unto us only the Name of Jesus Christ, whereby men must be saved.
Paraphrase: If any teaches that it doesn’t matter what you believe so long as your are sincere and diligent in your faith, let him be damned, because Scripture says we can only be saved by Christ.
We might be tempted to not give this much thought. Indeed, my first reaction after being asked to present a sermon on this article was simply to read it, say that about sums it up, and sit down. However, knowing how disappointed my kids would be at such a short talk, I decided to ponder it some more and see if there was more to say. Fortunately, there is.
Only by the name of JC may we be saved... Not counting the eons that came before, do you realize it was 1500 years after the birth of Christ that His name was even breathed upon this continent? And a hundred years more until the gospel of grace alone by faith alone was taught? And yet hundreds of years later until there was significant penetration of native tribes with this message? And that even today there are people who have never had the chance to know Christ? Who can possibly believe this article when it says Christ alone? What would you say to a government that passed laws w/o telling anyone and then punished all those who disobeyed that law? How could God possibly condemn those who have never had a chance to hear Him? God is just not fair!
** PAUSE **
Contrasted to that is the great unwritten, but yet all-pervasive, American creed. It can be summed up in one word: Tolerance. This is both good and bad. It is good for us to live together in peace with those in our society who do not agree with us. Yet we must not be party with those who stand idly by and say that God sees us with this same benevolent "tolerance". He does not.
R.C. Sproul was once asked a very similar question. He relates this in his book, "Now, That’s a Good Question!". The question was "Are those who have never heard of Christ going to hell?". His answer is found starting on page 301. He says,