“For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time. For this I was appointed a preacher and an apostle (I am telling the truth, I am not lying), a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth.” 1 Timothy 2:5-7
Three Key Terms
1. Pluralism - posits that the divine, transcendent reality (God?) has many different faces revealed in the various religious traditions among mankind (all paths lead to the same destination). “The emergence of different religions out of isolation into a world fellowship into which each will find its appropriate place” Hocking Report-1932
2. Inclusivism - believes that everyone who is saved is saved only through the person and work of Christ (“the hidden Christ” of various religions); however, conscious faith in the finished work of Christ on the cross is NOT NECESSARY to appropriate this saving work.
3. Exclusivism - states that saving faith and the hope of eternal life can be found only through repentance and belief in the work of Jesus Christ on the cross as our substitute.
Jesus is the one Mediator between God and men because:
1. He alone is God in the flesh.
2. He alone lived a sinless life, fulfilling the demands of the Law.
3. He alone is the substitute for the sin of those who trust him.
4. He alone rose from the dead.
5. He alone ascended into heaven and has poured out the Holy Spirit.
“At that time Jesus declared, 'I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children; yes, Father, for such was your gracious will. All things have been handed over to me by my Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.” Matthew 11:25-27
“Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.’” John 14:6
“When Jesus had spoken these words, he lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, ‘Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son that the Son may glorify you, since you have given him authority over all flesh, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him.’” John 17:1-2
“And Jesus came and said to them, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.’” Matthew 28:18-20
1. We must always glory in, and make much of, Jesus.
In their own pluralistic world, the earliest Christians insisted that Jesus was the only Savior and that apart from faith in him, all would face eternal judgment. He alone is Lord and God. He alone is to be worshiped. (Matthew 11:25-27, John 14:6, John 17:1-2, Matthew 28:18-20, Luke 24:46-47)
2. Mankind intentionally suppresses the truth of the knowledge of God (Romans 1:18) because they do not know how to deal with their guilt/shortcomings/sin (Romans 1:30 and following). Conversely, those who see the goodness of the cross freely acknowledge the tender mercies of God extended to broken sinners.
3. When we do not embrace the authority of Scripture and its clear teachings we go “biblically and intellectually flabby.”
4. We should weep for our inconsistency and lack of energy in loving those without Christ.
5. We should live with deep resolution and heartfelt energy.
“I told them their books were like a loaf of bread, in which was a considerable quantity of good flour, but also a little very malignant poison which made the whole so poisonous that whoever should eat of it would die.” William Carey (1761–1834) responding to those who asked about Hindu Shastras and other holy books of India
1. Why is inclusivity (the “hidden Christ'') offensive to various religious traditions?
2. How can we grow biblically and “intellectually flabby”?
3. Why does man suppress the truth of the knowledge of the Creator and personal failure and shortcomings?
4. What should our understanding of the exclusivity of Christ mean to us in our circles of influence with co-workers, neighbors, family, friends, and men and women around the world?