For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, it is much more certain, having been reconciled, that we will be saved [from the consequences of sin] by His life [that is, we will be saved because Christ lives today].
God makes it quite clear in his Word that to every human need he has but one answer: his Son Jesus Christ. In all his dealings with us he works by taking us out of the way and substituting Christ in our place. The Son of God died instead of us for our forgiveness; he lives instead of us for deliverance. So we can speak of two substitutions: a Substitute on the Cross who secures our forgiveness and a Substitute within who secures our victory. It will help us greatly, and save us from much confusion, if we keep constantly before us this fact, that God will answer all our questions in one way only, namely, showing us more of his Son.
The simplistic approach to salvation offered by God and revealed through the Scriptures centers not around religious practices or rituals but around the person of Christ Himself. In his letter to Colossians, Paul tells us that everything in the universe centers around Christ.
“For He has rescued us and has drawn us to Himself from the dominion of darkness, and has transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption [because of His sacrifice, resulting in] the forgiveness of our sins [and the cancellation of sins’ penalty]. He is the exact living image [the essential manifestation] of the unseen God [the visible representation of the invisible], the firstborn [the preeminent one, the sovereign, and the originator] of all creation. For by Him all things were created in heaven and on earth, [things] visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities; all things were created and exist through Him [that is, by His activity] and for Him. And He Himself existed and is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. [His is the controlling, cohesive force of the universe.] He is also the head [the life-source and leader] of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He Himself will occupy the first place [He will stand supreme and be preeminent] in everything. For it pleased the Father for all the fullness [of deity—the sum total of His essence, all His perfection, powers, and attributes] to dwell [permanently] in Him (the Son), and through [the intervention of] the Son to reconcile all things to Himself, making peace [with believers] through the blood of His cross; through Him, [I say,] whether things on earth or things in heaven. And although you were at one time estranged and alienated and hostile-minded [toward Him], participating in evil things, yet Christ has now reconciled you [to God] in His physical body through death, in order to present you before the Father holy and blameless and beyond reproach— [and He will do this] if you continue in the faith, well-grounded and steadfast, and not shifting away from the [confident] hope [that is a result] of the gospel that you have heard, which was proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which [gospel] I, Paul, was made a minister.”
While all roads lead to Rome, only one leads to heaven and the only access is through Christ. This may sound narrow-minded to those in the world of attempted inclusion of every religion, but the Scriptures are clear and it will benefit us to pay attention to what Christ said about the matter:
“Jesus said to him, “I am the [only] Way [to God] and the [real] Truth and the [real] Life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.”
“I assure you most solemnly say to you, he who does not enter by the door into the sheepfold, but climbs up from some other place [on the stone wall], that one is a thief and a robber. But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep [the protector and provider]. The doorkeeper opens [the gate] for this man, and the sheep hear his voice pay attention to it. And [knowing that they listen] he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out [to pasture]. When he has brought all his own outside, he walks on ahead of them, and the sheep follow him because they know his voice recognize his call. So Jesus said again, “I assure you most solemnly say to you, I am the Door for the sheep [leading to life]. All who came before Me [as false messiahs and self-appointed leaders] are thieves and robbers, but the [true] sheep did not hear them. I am the Door; anyone who enters through Me will be saved [and will live forever], and will go in and out [freely], and find pasture (spiritual security). I am the Good Shepherd. The Good Shepherd lays down His [own] life for the sheep. I am the Good Shepherd, and I know [without any doubt those who are] My own and My own know Me [and have a deep, personal relationship with Me]— even as the Father knows Me and I know the Father—and I lay down My [very own] life [sacrificing it] for the sheep.”
John 10: 1-4, 7-11, 14-15
While we might want more complicated answers to life’s problems and questions, God only provides one, His Son Jesus. God didn’t send any help from heaven to deal with the sin issue except His Son. As early as the eviction of Adam and Eve from the garden as they sinned what has become known as the “original sin,” God revealed that the ultimate redemption of humanity would come only through His Son. The Old Testament sacrifices of sheep was always pointing to the sacrifice of the Lamb of God. Those sacrifices covered the sins of the people and stood between them and justice and punishment, but the sacrifice of the Lamb would not cover but to take away the penalty of sin. The Old Testament sacrifices alone weren’t sufficient to provide eternal redemption but when Christ was crucified and resurrected from the dead all the Old Testament believers were given eternal life through the sacrifice that God placed on the cross.
Today for any who wish to have their sins forgiven and to receive the gift of eternal life ,they have only to turn to Christ for He is God’s only answer to our questions and He is God’s only solution to the devastation of sin.
We first ought to turn our hearts fully to Him by faith and then we set ourselves to the task of giving others the wonderful news that they too can have this wonderful gift. It’s that simple, it really is!
Dr. John Thompson