Gary: In our next segment, Understanding the Scriptures, we continue our exploration of the Doctrine of Salvation, with a special emphasis on the subject of Why Did It Have to Be Jesus?
Tom: In this segment, our continual segment of Understanding the Scriptures, we’re looking at the Gospel of Salvation. Now, Dave, I know we’ve been at this for awhile, but, I’ll tell you, we’ve got a way to go, and it is a wonderful, wonderful journey for those who really want to know what the gospel is, want to understand better—and we’re learning as we go along as well, what the gospel of salvation is all about.
Why is Jesus our only Savior? I mean, why not someone else?
Dave: Well, first of all, we have to decide what we’re being saved from and on what basis could we be saved? And, I mean, we’re saved from a lot of things. He saves us continually from danger and problems and He’s our Lord, our Master, our Guide, and so forth. But, ultimately, what we’re talking about is being saved from sin: from the consequences of sin, first of all, and the Bible says “The wages of sin is death.” That means eternal separation from God.
God is the one who prescribed the penalty. He’s the one who said to Adam and Eve, “The day you eat of that, you will die.” He’s the one that put man out of the garden and kept the flaming sword to keep them from the Tree of Life. So, God is the one who has prescribed the penalty on the basis of His character and of His justice.
So, if I’m going to be saved, to be saved from the penalty that God has prescribed, I’m going to have to take God’s word for it. I’d better find out what He has to say about it.
Tom: Right. And we need His solution. He is the Judge. As we’ve talked about in programs in the past. He is the just judge. But He also is…in other words, the just judge—the penalty must be fully paid. But He’s also a God of love who brings us, gives us, the solution. And that’s really what I’m trying to get at, Dave. You know, Jesus is our Savior. And there are certain qualifications that come with being the Savior that God…that is God’s Savior.
First of all, Isaiah:43:11, it says, “I, even I, am the Lord, and besides Me there is no savior.
Tom: So, He’s got to be God.
Dave: That’s right. So, we’re going to have to see what God has to say about this, because He’s the one that prescribed the penalty, and the penalty is on the basis of His holy character. And His purpose and plan for mankind.
So, the question you’re asking is, “Well, why is Jesus the only one?” Well, you just gave a good reason. He has to be God! And the Old Testament prophets very clearly said that the Messiah would be God. Isaiah:9:6,7, you couldn’t make it any clearer: “For unto us a child is born [that’s the babe born in Bethlehem], unto us a Son is given [that’s the eternal Son of God], the government will be upon His shoulders [so He must be the Messiah],” and in the next verse it says, “And of His kingdom and peace there will be no end.” So we know that He’s the Messiah. “And His name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father…” So this is God himself who’s going to save us.
Now, how is God going to save us?
Tom: Well, Dave, let me underscore that just a little bit more in the New Testament. Titus—the book of Titus, it’s interesting as you go through chapter after chapter, it talks about God being our Savior, Jesus Christ being our Savior, God being our Savior, Jesus Christ… And it says, well, Titus:1:3-4: “…but has in due time manifested His Word through preaching, which was committed to me according to the commandment of God our Savior to Titus, a true son in our common faith, grace, mercy, and peace, from God the Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ, our Savior.”
So, we have God being our Savior; Jesus being our Savior.
Dave: Okay, so now the next step is, how is God going to save us? He alone can save us. Very clearly He says it: “I am the Savior. No one but Me.” Okay? So, how’s He going to save us? Well, I mean, He can just make a bookkeeping entry in heaven, you know, in the books of heaven, and just forgive us. No, He can’t! Because His justice will not allow Him to do that.
It’s like…I think we’ve used the illustration before, but it probably bears repeating. Here’s a young man, stands in front of the judge—he’s been found…all the evidence has been laid out, there’s no question about it. He’s been found guilty of murder. The penalty—well, you can pick the penalty whatever you want, whether it’s life in prison, or 20 years, or the electric chair. But anyway, there’s a penalty prescribed by the law. And a couple of men sitting in the back of the courtroom, and they say, “Yeah, but the judge is going to let him off because this is the judge’s son, and he loves him.”
No, love cannot overpower justice. You cannot separate the two in the character of God. So, because God loves us, and He’s all-powerful—all-powerful to do what? He is not all-powerful to abrogate His justice! So His justice requires the penalty must be paid, okay?
So, if God alone can do it, then how’s He going to do it? Well, He became a man. It wouldn’t be just for God to pay it. How could He pay the penalty? Man deserves the punishment. So God became a man! That’s the wonderful difference between the God of the Bible and the god of Karma and reincarnation, where it doesn’t really matter. If you pull somebody out of the gutter in Calcutta and put him in a clean bed and so forth, you haven’t helped him. When they die, they’ll have to come right back to that same spot, because you’ve interfered with their Karma. And the God of Karma and reincarnation has no love and no basis for forgiveness.
But the God of the Bible became a man through the virgin birth—didn’t cease to be God, because He couldn’t possibly—God can’t cease to be God. He will never cease to be man—He’s the one and only God-Man. So because of who He is, He was able to pay the penalty required by His own infinite justice.
Tom: And going back to his qualifications, He not only had to be a man, but he had to be a perfect man. You know, I Peter 1:18-19 talks about the precious blood of Christ as a Lamb without blemish, without spot. He had to be without sin.
So that’s another qualification that is necessary for our Savior.
Dave: And only God is without sin. And God became a man, but He didn’t cease to be God. So He lived a perfect sinless life, as a man—our representative—the representative of the human race. He paid the penalty that His own infinite justice required. Now, on that basis, and only on that basis, God can be just and forgive the sinners.
If we will accept the penalty He paid, accept His forgiveness as a free gift of His grace, then we can have it. We’re saved. And this is why Jesus alone could be the Savior. There’s none other name—we quoted it earlier—under heaven, given among men, whereby we must be saved. There’s no alternative. It’s only in Jesus Christ alone.
Tom: Dave, we had, I think, just some wonderful programs going over Isaiah 53—just God laying out for us in His Word what Christ accomplished for us on the cross. Isaiah:53:6 says, “And the Lord has laid on the Him the iniquity of us all.”
Now, that really—that’s—you can only be God and be a perfect Man to really bear the penalty, pay the penalty, for us. Now we don’t fully comprehend—I mean, we can’t fully comprehend this. It’s just awesome to even think about! But He had to be God and He had to be man to pay that price.
Dave: Exactly. And that’s exactly who He is, and that’s the gospel message: Christ died for our sins. This is what Paul tells us, “This is the gospel that I preached unto you,” 1 Corinthians 15, “according to the scriptures.” So, Romans 1, Paul says he’s called to be an apostle, separated unto the Gospel of God. Now this is God’s gospel. This is His way. This is what God has prescribed, what He has said. “The gospel of God, which He promised before by His prophets in the Holy Scriptures.” So, God has even given us proof! Jesus didn’t invent Christianity. Paul certainly didn’t invent Christianity. This doesn’t just come out of nowhere! We have from Genesis to Revelation. We have, in the Old Testament, the examples of the Old Testament sacrifices, in detail! And it’s only because Christ fulfilled these sacrifices. It’s because He fulfilled the prophecies in the Old Testament. God has already told us what this would be. He’s laid it out for us. “And to Him give all…” (Peter, preaching to Cornelius, Acts 10)…”to him give all the prophets witness, that through Him, through faith in His name, we are justified from those things that we could not be justified by the Law of Moses.” So all the prophets bear witness, Christ comes at the very time that the scriptures foretold, and He paid the penalty.
I mean, the details! That he would be crucified, betrayed for 30 pieces of…on and on it goes, and He fulfills them all. Then we know that Jesus Christ is our Savior, and we have forgiveness of our sins through His blood—that is, through the shedding of His blood and death He died for our sins; He was buried to show that He really was dead, and the third day He came out of the grave, and Jesus himself on the cross said, “It is finished.” Tetelestai, a Greek term, accounting term, that means “Paid in Full.”
So, we have absolute confidence. We can say with Paul, “I know whom I have believed, and I am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I have committed unto Him against that day.” Nobody else could do it! Buddha didn’t even claim that he could. Confucius didn’t even claim that he could. Zoroaster didn’t even claim that he could. No one else died for the sins of the world. Nobody could! Nobody else rose from the dead. Only Jesus.
Tom: Yeah, let’s close with Hebrews:2:9: “But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honor that He, by the grace of God, might taste death for everyone.”