By salvation we refer to the forgiveness of sins whereby the sinner enjoys the grace of God and the hope of eternal life. Does God allow men their choice of saviors or other factors in their pursuit of salvation? The New Testament answers with a definitive “No.” Let us consider some elements without which salvation is impossible:
• Jesus, the Christ—He alone is “the way, the truth, and the life” and the avenue to God’s grace (John 14:6). This statement excludes all other systems of religion and the claims of their “saviors.” “In none other is there salvation” (Acts 4:12). Christ Jesus is the “one mediator…between God and men” (1 Tim. 2:5).
• The Blood of Christ—God’s plan for our salvation is rooted in sacrificial blood: “Apart from shedding of blood there is no remission” (Heb. 9:22). Jesus came as the only perfect sacrificial “Lamb of God” Who could “take a-way the sin of the world” (John 1:29). His blood alone could suffice because He was “without spot” of any sin (1 Pet. 1:18–19). Thus we “have our redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses” (Eph. 1:7). Salvation is impossible except through His atoning blood.
• The church of Christ—Beginning on Pentecost, the Lord has added only those who were saved to His church (Acts 2:41, 47). The church of Christ (Rom. 16:16) is the “body of Christ” (Eph. 1:22– 23), and He is the “Savior of the body” (5:23). Jesus “purchased the church”—and nothing else—with His blood (Acts 20:28), complementing the foregoing point. “Jesus yes, the church, no” is an anti-Scriptural concept if one has in mind Jesus’ church. Salvation is in His church; it is impossible to be saved apart from it.
• The Gospel—It is “the power of God unto salvation” (Rom. 1:16). In this fact we see the basis of Jesus’ order to “preach the gospel to the whole creation” (Mark. 16:15). He has invested the Gospel with the means of attaining the salvation He provides. Neither the Holy Spirit nor angels have ever directly told anyone how to be saved. It is impossible to be saved apart from the Gospel.
• Our obedience—The blood of Christ purifies one who obeys the Gospel (1 Pet. 1:22). The Lord saves and adds to His church those who obey the Gospel (Acts 2:37–41, 47). He saves those who obey Him (Heb. 5:9). At The Judgment, those who have not obeyed the Gospel will be lost (2 The. 1:8). It is impossible to be saved without obeying Jesus Christ, the Son of God (Rom. 6:17–18).