Is there any validity to the claim that we can only be saved if we accept Jesus Christ as our Savior?


Although the biblical answer to this question is highly controversial, the Bible teaches very clearly that there is no other way to eternal salvation than through Jesus Christ. Non-christian religions reject this claim outright, and even many Christian organizations and denominations feel uncomfortable about this and think that they must apologize for the Scriptures and offer “alternatives,” such as, “as long as we follow our conscience,” or, “as long as we believe in someone or something,” we are or will be saved.

Since we are not interested in humanly devised fables and interpretations, let us focus strictly on the clear teaching of the Bible.

First of all, we are taught that salvation belongs to the God of the BIBLE, and that we can only receive salvation FROM HIM (Revelation 7:9-10; 19:1). It is God the Father who is the “SAVIOR of ALL MEN, especially of those who believe” (1 Timothy 4:10).

The biblical teaching is equally clear that God the Father saves us THROUGH HIS SON, JESUS CHRIST, and that no one can come to Christ unless the Father calls and draws such a person to Jesus (compare John 6:44, 65).

We read Christ’s own words in John 3:16-17–including the famous golden verse of the Bible: “For God [the Father] so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes IN HIM should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world THROUGH HIM might be SAVED.”

Notice, too, this passage in 1 John 4:14: “And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son AS SAVIOR of the world.” Titus 2:13 confirms that Jesus Christ is “our great God and Savior.”

But don’t all of these passages only mean that Jesus is just ONE OF SEVERAL Saviors? Couldn’t there be additional “saviors” as well, such as Mohammed, Buddha, Krishna, or any of the other human beings who are considered as “saviors” by millions of people all over the world?

The biblical answer is that Jesus is the ONLY (potential) Savior for ALL of mankind. However, if and as long as we don’t accept Him as our Savior, we CANNOT be saved!

Notice the inspired words of Peter, as recorded in Acts 4:12: “NOR IS THERE SALVATION IN ANY OTHER, for there is NO OTHER NAME UNDER HEAVEN GIVEN AMONG MEN BY WHICH WE MUST BE SAVED.” Peter is clearly referring in this context to Jesus Christ of Nazareth, who was crucified and whom God the Father raised from the dead (compare Acts 4:10).

Jesus Himself confirmed that salvation can only be obtained through Him ALONE. He said in John 10:1, 9: “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door, but climbs up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber… I am the door. If anyone enters BY ME, HE WILL BE SAVED, and will go in and out and find pasture.”

He reiterated the same teaching in John 14:6: “Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father EXCEPT THROUGH ME.'”

According to the Bible, there is only ONE Mediator between God and men. This Mediator is not Moses, nor the “Virgin Mary,” nor Mohammed nor any other human being (whether still alive or dead and in the grave), but this Mediator is Jesus Christ. He is the ONLY Personage who has died and was resurrected to eternal life; who went to heaven; and who functions now as our LIVING and merciful High Priest.

1 Timothy 2:5 explains: “For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Jesus Christ.”

Hebrews 7:24-25 adds: “But He, because He continues forever, has an unchangeable priesthood. Therefore He is also able to SAVE to the uttermost those who come to God THROUGH HIM, since He always lives to make intercession for them.”

It is therefore absolutely necessary to believe in Jesus as our ONLY Savior, in order to be saved. Notice Acts 16:30-31: “And he brought them out [the Philippian jailer brought Paul and Silas out of prison] and said, ‘Sirs, what must I do to be saved?’ So they said, ‘Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household.'”

But just theoretically and intellectually “believing” on or in Christ is not enough. We cannot expect to inherit salvation if we “believe” in Christ, but continue to disobey Him. What is required is obedient or living faith, not dead faith (compare James 2:14-17).

We read in Hebrews 5:9: “And having been perfected, He became the AUTHOR of eternal salvation to all who OBEY HIM.”

We also read in John 3:36, in the Revised Standard Version: “He who believes in the Son has eternal life; he who does not OBEY the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God rests upon him.”

But what about those who died, without ever having heard of Jesus Christ, let alone having embraced the Christian faith and Jesus as their only Savior? Are they lost? Absolutely not! The surprising answer, giving real hope and meaning to the plan of God for ALL of mankind, is discussed in chapter 22 (“The Resurrections”) of our free booklet, “Is That in the Bible?–The Mysteries of the Book of Revelation!”

The Bible is clear on the issue of how to obtain salvation. However unpopular, controversial, explosive and “offensive” that teaching may be to some, we must not apologize for it or be ashamed of it, by choosing not to speak of it, when asked, or by trying to alter it in any way.

Luke 9:26 quotes Christ’s words, as follows: “For whoever is ashamed of ME AND MY WORDS, of him the Son of Man will be ashamed when He comes in His own glory, and in His Father’s, and of the holy angels.”

Paul was not ashamed of the gospel of Christ. He knew that part and parcel of the good news, which Jesus Christ brought and taught, was the truth that it is ONLY through Christ that man can have salvation and eternal life. Paul wrote in Romans 1:16: “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God TO SALVATION for everyone who believes…”

If the true biblical teaching offends others –including those who teach that “their” particular god is a way or even the only way to salvation–and if it prompts them to persecute true Christians for what they believe, then so be it. It is better to suffer for righteousness’ sake than to be ashamed of God’s words and to deny the Father and Jesus Christ (2 Peter 2:1; 1 John 2:22-23; Jude 4; Revelation 3:8)

Lead Writer: Norbert Link

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