Salvation is God’s greatest gift to mankind. It not only affects the life you live now but it impacts your eternity and there is nothing more important than that. As Christians, we know that salvation is through Christ alone. There are many people in our world who would struggle with that statement and not understand why salvation is through Christ alone. To fully understand this requires an understanding of the sinful condition of mankind and the requirements necessary to obtain salvation. Knowing this will help you understand why salvation is through Christ alone. I pray by doing this it will solidify the hope you have in Christ and let it strengthen the love and confidence you have in your savior.
What Does the Bible Say about Salvation through Christ Alone?
The word salvation means to be saved or can also mean preservation, deliverance or safety. For our salvation to be complete there were two things required. Perfect fulfillment of the law and payment or judgment for sin. In the Old Testament whenever there was sin committed there needed to be a sacrifice or shedding of blood to cover that sin. However, the sacrifice of the animal was not sufficient to pay the full price for the sin of the people. This is where Christ comes in. Jesus did two things to secure our salvation.
1. He fulfilled the requirements of the law.
He lived a perfect and sinless life. This made him eligible to be the sacrifice for our sins.
“Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.” – Matthew 5:17
"But you know that he appeared so that he might take away our sins. And in him is no sin." – 1 John 3:5
2. He met God’s requirement of justice under the law.
“‘He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth.’ When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly. ‘He himself bore our sins’ in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; ‘by his wounds you have been healed.’” – 1 Peter 2:22-24
This is the plan of salvation that God has established. Our salvation comes when we put our trust in this Jesus who died for our sins.
Why Is Salvation through Christ Alone?
There are three reasons I want to give you why salvation is through Christ alone.
1 – We couldn’t do it.
As I said mentioned earlier to earn salvation it would require you to perfectly obey every law of God. Clearly, none of us can do that. The Bible clearly tells us that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. (Rom. 3:23). Because we have all sinned that means we are disqualified from meeting the requirements of the law.
2 – God knows we can’t do it
The plan all along was never for anyone to obtain righteousness by way of the law. In fact, God knew that we would never live up to the standard because of our sinful nature. The law made us aware of our sin and more importantly helped us understand the need for a savior.
“The law of Moses was unable to save us because of the weakness of our sinful nature. So God did what the law could not do. He sent his own Son in a body like the bodies we sinners have. And in that body God declared an end to sin’s control over us by giving his Son as a sacrifice for our sins. He did this so that the just requirement of the law would be fully satisfied for us, who no longer follow our sinful nature but instead follow the Spirit.” – Romans 8:3-4 (NLT)
3. Christ did for us what we could not do for ourselves.
“Yet we know that a person is made right with God by faith in Jesus Christ, not by obeying the law. And we have believed in Christ Jesus, so that we might be made right with God because of our faith in Christ, not because we have obeyed the law. For no one will ever be made right with God by obeying the law.” – Galatians 2:16 (NLT)
“God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” – 2 Corinthians 5:21
In the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, we find God’s justice, God’s mercy, and God’s grace extended for the sole purpose of offering you and me salvation.
Is 'Christ Alone' Exclusive, Inclusive, or Both?
If you talk to someone who is not a believer, they may say that way of salvation is too exclusive. It is too restrictive to say that salvation is through Christ alone. Is this true? Is Christ alone too exclusive? Well, the reality is that salvation through Christ alone is both exclusive and inclusive. Let me explain.
Christ alone being exclusive:
There are many verses of Scripture that point to the exclusive nature of Christ alone but let me give you two.
“Jesus answered, ‘I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.’” – John 14:6
“Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.” – Acts 4:12
In reading those verses . . . that is about as exclusive as it gets. This leaves absolutely no room for there to be any other way for salvation or being re-established in relationship with the Father. For many this is not only exclusive, this is downright offensive. This presents one of the many problems people have with the gospel. It is offensive by nature. Coming to Christ requires two things. Admitting you were wrong which is repentance and acknowledging there is no other way. In order to receive Christ as Savior, you must see him not as a way or a hope but you must see him as the hope. This is why salvation in Christ alone can be seen as exclusive.
Christ alone being inclusive:
The beauty of our salvation is that it is not reserved for just a few. The door is open to anyone who would believe.
“Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.” – John 1:12
“For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile—the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, for, ‘Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’” – Romans 10:12-13
If Christ came to die and offer salvation only to a minute segment of the population that would be a problem. But the truth is that God so loved the world. There is no discrimination in how you come to salvation (we all must come the same way) or who salvation is offered to (everyone who calls on the name of the Lord.) While Christ is the way and the only way and hope of salvation this hope is offered to everyone.
Hope That Extends beyond the Grave
The hope in Christ alone is not just reserved for this life. In fact, if it was then as Paul said we are to be pitied more than any others.
“If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied.” – 1 Corinthians 15:19
The great joy and hope of why we trust Christ alone for our salvation is because this hope extends beyond the grave. The true hope of salvation and why salvation through Christ alone makes complete sense is because of the empty tomb. Had Christ not been raised then we have no hope, and we are still dead in our sins. But he did rise, and we do have hope. Consider this verse in John,
“Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you.” – John 14:19-20
We don’t see Jesus now but one day we will. Because he is risen and alive and well, we will be too. This is the hope of every true believer in Jesus Christ and why we put our hope in Christ alone. There is a wonderful song written by Stuart Townend and Keith Getty called In Christ Alone. The song is a reflection of the hope we have in Christ. I want to share with you one stanza of this song.
No guilt in life, no fear in death,
This is the power of Christ in me
From life's first cry to final breath,
Jesus commands my destiny
No power of hell, no scheme of man,
Can ever pluck me from His hand
Till He returns or calls me home
Here in the power of Christ I'll stand.
Be encouraged today your hope is in Jesus. Your eternity is secured, and you are safe in his hands. This is the hope we have in Christ alone.
Photo credit: ©GettyImages/mbolina
Clarence L. Haynes Jr. is a speaker, Bible teacher, author and co-founder of The Bible Study Club. He has spent more than 30 years serving the body of Christ in various capacities and has just released his first book, The Pursuit of Purpose. If you have ever struggled trying to find God’s will, this book will help you discover the different ways God leads you into his perfect will. To learn more about his ministry please visit clarencehaynes.com.