Center for Biblical Theology and Eschatology
There Is Only One Savior
by Tony Warren
s many unbelievers revile Christianity, there seems to be an inherent sadness in their voices, laced with anger. While we can readily recognize the anger in the charges they make, it takes careful observation to see that this anger is not so much directed at Christians, as it is toward God Himself. They most often say things like, "all religions are the same," or "If there is a God, why do children endure pain and die," or "why are there brutal wars, or why is there so much suffering in the world." Their logic being, if there really was a God, He certainly would not allow this. But what they don't realize is that they are trying to forge a god of their own design, fashioned after what 'they' think is best for Him to do. The simple truth is, that wouldn't be a sovereign God at all.
Of course this is man creating an image of a God after the imaginations of his own heart. It is an attempt to create god, rather than receive the God of the Bible. They fail to comprehend that man was created in the image of God, not the other way around. It is God who defines the character and nature of who He is, not man. It would be foolish of the thing created to say to the creator, "this is not how we think you should operate." God is the great "I Am," and so He is not subject to man's humanistic reasoning and sensibilities. Again, it is man who is subject to God, and God doesn't have to answer to man. Questions like, "why did God put me here if He's going to send me to judgment" are a product of the rebellion and arrogance in man's heart that is what is actually sending him to judgment. No one stands before God's judgment for any wrong doing on God's part, but for their own wrong doing (Ezekiel 18:20). Each man is judged for his own sin, and that judgment is righteous and deserved judgment.
Since by definition God is the divine creator of heaven and earth, holy, true, and trustworthy, it is utterly foolish for man to question Him as if He were the suspect of some kind of crime. Yet this is the warped way of thinking demonstrated in carnal man. An analogy would be a criminal arguing with a righteous judge, declaring:"Sure I killed someone and I know it was wrong, but that's the way I was born. Can I help it if I enjoy killing? That doesn't mean that I deserve to be punished because I enjoy killing, as I didn't ask to be born!"That's the same attitude and justification that the unsaved possess. Shall the righteous judge 'wink' at this reasoning and set him free without punishment? Shall the judge reply to the man:"Your objection is valid, you didn't ask to be born and so you're not responsible for having a nature wherein you enjoy killing people."Of course we know that this would not be righteous judgment, nor justice. On the contrary, it would be unrighteousness and injustice. Likewise, it is not God who is unrighteous in His judgments of man for his sundry transgressions, it is man who likes his lawlessness (sin), and doesn't want to have to pay for those crimes. How is the Christian religion different from all the other religions, and do they all basically worship the same god. To answer those question honorably, we must first examine the issue of "the sin question." How does each religion and each god that man serves, deal with the question of transgressions?
The fact is, it is not God who has caused all the suffering, wars and pain in this world, it is man himself. God is just a convenient and easy target. Mankind is naturally rebellious and so wants to be free to do whatever his imagination can conjure up. Then he rationalizes his own carnal nature by trying to blame God for daring to judge him, asking, "why am I judged because I sin?" The word of God declares, who is man to argue with God?
- "And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually."
In other words, who are we to think we can debate God's righteousness in allowing things, or his judgments, or argue about what He does or does not do? Who are we to reply against God? The answer is, we are nobody to be replying against or arguing with Him. We are no one to think we know what's right and decide God is wrong to allow sin or to judge us for it. Until we come to understand that we are nobody to argue against God, we have no chance of escaping His judgments. Indeed the road to salvation begins at 'that point' of realization. The point where we come to understand that we can do nothing to escape the punishment that we so rightly deserve, and that we can but 'confess' our sins before Him, 'agree' that we are guilty as charged, and 'throw' ourselves upon the mercies of the judge. If we do that, He (who cannot lie) has declared (Proverbs 28:13) that He will have compassion and forgive us.
- "Nay but O MAN, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to HIM that formed it, why hast thou made me thus?"
1st John 1:8-10
If we are obstinate and so prideful that we deny we are sinners deserving judgment, then we have no reason to expect compassion and mercy from the Judge. However, if we confess our sins or crimes to God, He will be merciful and abundantly 'pardon' us through the shed blood of Christ. If we just ask (Luke 11:9-10), this pardon (Isaiah 55:6-7) will be given us. If we don't ask for amnesty for our crimes, then how can we complain when we don't get it? The whole "blame God" position actually makes no sense to anyone but the angry and obstinate. Man should blame himself as the sinner or unlawful transgressor who has brought death, pestilence and wars into the world. If we are too proud to humble ourselves and beg forgiveness for our crimes, then why grumble when God has warned us of His retribution. The prideful, self-centered sin of arrogance is like a pus filled, bacteria laden, festering, sore that will never heal. Without a counter-acting solution, it will eventually destroy you. The Lord has declared unambiguously that He resists the proud and favors the humble.
- "If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.
- If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
- If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us."
We have the sure promise that if we "honestly" submit ourselves before God, get down on our knees (humble ourselves) and in supplication confess our guilt asking, "Lord forgive me, a miserable rotten sinner," the Lord is faithful to answer our prayers and to forgive us our sins. The question for the unsaved is not, "Why am I judged for my sins," the question should be, "God has made the promise of forgiveness, why don't I receive it?" That is the only pertinent question for lawbreakers or transgressors. Our God is a God of mercy, so why aren't we open to that promise of mercy?
- "But He giveth more Grace. Wherefore He saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble.
- Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the Devil, and he will flee from you,
- draw near to God and He will draw near to you..."
We should not be mistaken, just as the Lord is merciful, He is also a God of wrath. If you truly seek Him, you will find pardon, if you don't seek Him, then don't complain when you are judged of Him. He's said it and He will not go back on His Word. If any should doubt that, then they've never picked up the Old Testament Scriptures to read. There is no 'new and improved God' of the New Testament, what we read there is the exact same God as is found in the Old Testament. He will bring righteous judgment upon the unrighteous still. Christ Himself made it abundantly clear that there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth come judgment day. Some people are just not listening to His Words, choosing instead to mentally edit Holy Scripture with their own desires and beliefs.
Likewise, the idea in some church circles that God will save everyone in the world is just as foolish and carnal as the idea that there is no God. They both stem from that same rebellious nature and desire of man to remove himself from responsibility to the law, or to create a god in man's own image. Many desire to create a god who acts the way man claims He is, not as God says He is. Nevertheless, the God of Christianity is recorded on the pages of Scripture, not fashioned from man's carnal imagination.
We know from His Word that man loves his sin, but he also intuitively knows (it's inherently instilled within us) that there is a God who hates lawlessness or sin. Man wants to escape judgment by not being accountable, so in his mind he has devised two ways he thinks he can accomplish that:
#1. Declare there is no God.
#2. Make his god in his image.
In other words, deny Him or make Him after the imagination of his own heart so that He allows him to both sin, and be saved. A god where all he has to do is say, "I believe," and that makes him and God friends. In either of these options, man has deceived himself because that type believer really no believer at all. To know God and be truly known of God, one has to be actually be subject to the authority of that God. Without reverence and the earnest desire to do His will, where is there evidence of true regeneration in Christ? A church preaching that type of "any spirit gospel" is not really a true church of Christ. It's an anti, counterfeit or false Christ, and taking on the name Christ does not change that. This is what God says of those who profess to know Him, but in reality are not under His authority:
1st John 2:4
Not to put too fine a point on it, "you're a liar" is exactly what God says to those who go their own way and do their own thing. Who then will we listen to; our church, our pastor, our religious leaders, traditions, ourselves, or to God's Word? The Christian minister cannot save us and neither can any of the other religions of the world that many people find so fresh, exotic and mind expanding. Religions or religious people don't save anyone, only God can.
- "He that says he knows me and keepeth not My commandments is a Liar and the truth is not in him."
Many have asked me, "What's the difference between one religion and another," or "arenít all religions basically the same?" The answer is no, all religions are not the same. The difference between religions is that only one religion effectively answers the sin question.
- "The soul that sinneth, it shall die."
Since everyone commits at least some transgressions or sin, and the wages of sin is death, how is man going to stand before a holy and righteous God? Will it be in his sin to face retribution, or will it be in the righteousness of Christ. Let me say up front that I judge no man in that way, as I leave that all up to He who is qualified to judge. Nevertheless, putting our faith the sundry religious leaders, spiritualists or even the corporate church is folly of the highest order. It's the indivisible church (which is the body of 'true' believers ruled over by Christ), that is the true body of Christ. I have no doubt that there are many denominations with true believers in them. There may be believers in this church, or that other church, we don't truly know. Although some corporate churches may have things wrong, it's possible some members trust in Christ as their Savior even though their church may be somewhat unfaithful. Again, it's not our job as Christians to judge other professing Christians on the point of "whether they are truly saved or not." On the Other hand, other religions cannot save, and we know this not because we arbitrarily reject them, dislike them or we're biased, but because no other religion deals with the question of how man can escape the wrath of a righteous God when he is inherently adversarial and unrighteous. God has said that there is "only one way to salvation," and that is through Christ. Redemption cannot come by any other way. Not from Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, Confucianism or Judaism. Not from the Baptist, Presbyterian, Reformed or the Catholic church. That 'one way' for man to redeem himself to God through Christ Jesus.
- "For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord."
Sin must be punished and the penalty for sin is death. Since we all sin (1st John 1:8-10), no one will escape without the propitiation of the Savior. God the Judge is not unjust as the judges who are mere men. In God's economy, justice "must" be served, and thus the wages or penalty for sin must be paid. There is no probation, there is no time off for good behavior and there is no suspended sentence. A holy and just judge demands that justice be served and the sentence carried out.
- "How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him;"
Consequently, there is only one religion or one faith that effectively answers "the sin question." The faith of Christ bestowed on the Christian church. There is only one name that man can trust wherein the punishment of death "that justice demands" for sin, may be be satisfied. That name is the Lord Jesus Christ. No other god, religion or philosophy takes away man's sin. Whether it be Far East, Near East or Middle East, there aren't any that answers the dreaded "sin question." Only one exhorts man to seek the way wherein the payment for sin that God unambiguously requires, may be found. Christianity is the divine revelation of the God-man, the heavenly substitute that has come to take upon Himself all our sins (Isaiah 53:5-6) that He might leave us clean (without sin) in the eyes of God. There is one deliverer who was laden with our sins and who willingly suffered the death we deserved, that we might have so great salvation. There is no winking at sin as is implied in other religions, because the justice of God demands payment.
The wages or payment for man's sin is death. It is not purgatory, it is not not reincarnation, it is not that we're made to stand in the corner, it is death! No mere man (as is often alleged that Christ was) could pay such a price for all God's people, and come out unscathed and without sin. No amount of worldly penance, good works or philosophical rhetoric could change what Scripture requires for the act of sin. Nor could any man pay what was owed (Romans 6:23), and live. It would take a "God-Man" to stand in our place, receive the death we owed, and pay the price for it in full. Indeed only a man could pay because man owed, and only a God could suffer that type death and yet rise up afterward free from it. In order to redeem man from his sins, God would have to come down from heaven as a man, and be the Savior.
- "For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord."
Clearly, that scripture says that I am Jehovah, and beside me there is no Savior. Perfect agreement with all of scripture that man's deliverer has to be God Himself, and yet has to be man because man is the one who sinned. It took the first Adam to bring sin and death into the world, and it would take a heavenly Adam to restore righteousness and life to man. As indeed the Apostle illustrates in Corinthians.
- "Ye are my witnesses, saith the LORD, and my servant whom I have chosen: that ye may know and believe me, and understand that I am he: before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me.
- I, even I, am the LORD; and beside me there is no saviour."
1st Corinthians 15:45-47
The second Adam/Man is Jehovah God, the God who humbled Himself to come down to earth "as a man" to redeem him from the curse of death brought about from the first man.
- "And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit.
- Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual.
- The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven."
Arenít All Religions Basically The Same? Don't we all worship the same God? Not on your life. There is only one name, one God, one religion that has God come down Himself to redeem man from His sin. Not a holy man, not a mere prophet, it took God, because no mortal could suffer on the cross with the sins and corruption of the world and be raised up without seeing that corruption Himself. No man is qualified for such a task. That is what so many miss in seeking out mystic answers, foreign religions and tranquil spiritualists. When we read that God himself sent His Spirit to the virgin Mary to bring forth the prophesied Savior (Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:22-23) in the form of the God man Christ. In other words, God taking upon Himself the flesh of man through Mary so that he could take in His body the sins of man. Since it was man who sinned, man had to be the one to pay the wages. The first man (Adam) brought sin into the world, and the second man (Christ) had to come to take sin away from man. As it is written:
- "Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:
- Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:
- But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:
- And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross."
2nd Corinthians 5:21
Dwelling in paradise, God made left the honor of heaven to take on the form of a servant, made in the likeness of man (Philippians 2:5-8), that He could suffer death for us, and be raised from the dead free from sin. Thus in Christ our sins are passed away with His resurrection without them. Being the Firstborn from the dead means that all those raised up to life in Him are raised up to new life without sin. And it should be self-evident that such a task requires a God-man to see it through to consummation.
- "For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him."
In the history of the entire world, there has only been one recorded God-Man who answers the sin question. The Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. For besides God (Hosea 14:4), there is no Savior. If Christ was not God, then how then could He be the prophesied Savior?
Pick a name, and if it is not Jesus Christ then he is no Savior of man. The Savior must be man and God and able to impart His Spirit within you. A trinity of one.
- "Neither is there Salvation in any other: for there is none other Name under Heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved".
Without our sins being paid for by the work of the Lord Jesus Christ, they must be paid for by us in the judgment of the last day (John 12:48). Right now the opportunity is there to find the righteous way (John 14:6) to escape judgment, but one way or another the wages of sin must or will, be paid.
- "...before Me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me.
- I, even I, AM the Lord; and beside Me THERE IS NO SAVIOUR!"
When anyone asks me, "why believe in Christianity over all other religions," or "what's the difference between the Christian religion and all others religions," the clear answer is that it is the only religion wherein there is the required payment for sin or lawlessness is made. It is the only religion that effectively and truly answers the "sin question." Only through Christ's payment for sin are we justified and made sinless before God.
He satisfied the payment for our iniquity by bearing them in His body in death. Without this faithfulness and obedience of Christ unto death (Philippians 2:8), no one could be righteous enough to enter into the Kingdom of Heaven. That is why Scripture clearly states that, "there is none other name under Heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved. -Acts 4:12." The religions of the world may argue that on a philosophical basis, but Scripture is the authority. Without the penalty of death being satisfied by a Savior, no one could stand before God without being condemned. There has only been one God-Man, which is the Lord Jesus Christ. And though others will protest in the sin of the flesh, no one will have a legitimate excuse for their crimes against God come judgment day. Not Atheists, not Gnostics and not false or substitute religions. God knows the heart, and has put there a inherent knowledge of Himself so that we are all without excuse for rejection or rebellion.
- "He shall see the travail of His soul and shall be satisfied; by His knowledge shall My righteous servant justify many, for he shall bear their iniquities."
There is no one, whether in unbelief or in a false belief, who will have any excuse for not recognizing that there is a God. He has put that inherent knowledge within our minds that we might understand, and in the revelation of creation that we might ponder it. Mankind is in denial where he believes that he is wise when he is actually foolish understanding nothing. God knows everything, including the difference between the soul and the spirit (Hebrews 4:12-13), between one star and another, and between all the things of creation that mankind can merely theorize about.
- "For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:
- Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.
- Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools,"
It is a matter of Christ giving us saving faith to believe, because the Spirit to believe is what saving faith is. When the Spirit of God is in us, we have been resurrected from spiritual death to newness of life (Romans 6:4-5) in Him. Many unbelievers (and indeed some unbelieving, yet professing Christians) pull out their hair claiming that they are sick of religions claiming to be the only true religion. My question would be why? Can there be more than one God when they all have different views, doctrines and judgments? Does God have a dissociative identity disorder or does speak with multiple personalities. If not, then at best there can only be one "true" God and religion. God's Word says there can be no salvation by any other name (Acts 4:12), so can a Christian servant of that God say anything less and still be His servant? The claim of there only being one true religion has to be examined in light of Scripture and considered in the reality of what it takes to be saved. That means each and every sin has to be examined in light of the holy Scripture and every one has to be accounted for (Matthew 12:36). If not by by Christ standing in your place, then it is you who will stand before God for an accounting. That should be the end of any debate about the efficacy of different religions for any God fearing conscientious Christian. All other religions come up short in answering the sin question when compared to the Christian faith.
It is distressing to hear of proponents of other religions deceiving people into thinking that if they worship a cow, they'll be at peace on earth and happy in the hereafter, or if they slaughter people in a holy war, they'll please their god and be welcomed into paradise. We're mournful when we see people worshiping stone statues, smoke hallucinogenic leaves, talking to supposed spirits, praying to the dead, chanting in vain repetitions, drinking blood, getting in touch with their Psychic hot line, arming themselves and going up to a mountain to wait for God, etc. All in the name of some god that will supposedly welcome them with open arms when they die. We are encouraged of God to prove the spirits (1st John 4:1), and by that methodology we can surely tell that none of these religions is the gospel truth. Our job is to be a witness and spread the gospel of truth concerning man's lawlessness (sin) that some might at least hear the word and be forewarned. We are witnesses testifying to what the Lord God has said, which is our great commission. If some will hear, then well and good--if they will not, then it is on them, and their fate all in God's hands. The worst and the best that we can tell them is what God says. For the witness of the Word is their judgment and their salvation. There is no other name whereby men may be saved. If they will not hear, it is the the Word itself that will condemn them (John 12:48). Every man is responsible for his own desires and will, his own obstinate heart and his own transgressions. The Lord knows those who are His lost sheep, and He seeks them out and bring them in, one way or another.
Aren't al religions alike and don't we all worship the same God? Absolutely not! There is no question that all true Christians will be spoken against and reviled because of these faithful stands, but that has always been the case. Did the Lord Jesus Christ warn us of this in His ministry?
If we are hated for telling the truth when mankind doesn't want to hear it, then we'll count it a blessing of the Lord. For it is the Spirit of truth that teaches one and hardens another, not us. It has been said, "The same sun that softens the butter, hardens the clay."
- "Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.
- Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.
- Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men."
1st Corinthians 2:12
Some are given to know God's Word of truth and some will argue illogically and incessantly against it and rationalize it away so that they may continue on in their sin. Indeed, scripture tells us that this is a given. Our job is not to judge, but to bear witness to this testimony that there is only one Savior. Only one way. Only one God-Man who qualifies as deliverer. The time for the salvation of the world is now (2nd Corinthians 6:2). The time to make our calling and election sure is where the light of the candle is still shinning in the earth. There is only one Savior and only one name whereby we may do this. The God man, the Lord Jesus Christ, who is the only way, truth and life.
- "Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit which is of God; that we might KNOW the things that are freely given to us of God."
May the Lord who is righteous and merciful above all, open our hearts and guide us into all His divine and unadulterated truth.
Copyright ©1994 Tony WarrenFeel free to copy, duplicate, display or distribute this publication to anyone who would like a copy, as long a copyright notice remains intact and there are no changes made to the article. This publication can be distributed only in its original form, unedited, and without cost.
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