The greatest concern every person on earth ought to have is where they will spend eternity.
In light of that, no question ought to arrest a person’s attention more than the one asked by a Philippian jailor in Acts 16:30, “What must I do to be saved?” No answer ought to make a person pause and think harder than the one given to him, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved.”
Why though is Jesus Christ alone sufficient for our salvation? The answer lies in who God is, who we are, and who Jesus Christ is.
Who God Is
Not only is God a holy God, He is not a hypocrite. He cannot allow sin in His presence. The Scriptures say, “Be holy, for I am holy.” (1 Peter 1:16) If God were to allow sin in His presence it would be a contradiction of everything He is and claims to be. A holy God cannot justify or excuse sin. Sin, being offensive to a holy God, has to be punished. The smallest sin cannot be overlooked or excused. That very fact is what presents a problem for all mankind.
Who We Are
Although we may do many good things and seek to live the holiest life possible, every single one of us has sinned. The strong words of Psalm 14:2–3 tell us, “The Lord looks down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there are any who understand, who seek God. They have all turned aside, they have together become corrupt; there is none who does good, no, not one.” Whether it be through what we call a “little white lie”, an unkind thought, a selfish deed, we have missed God’s standard of perfection. Since a holy God has to punish sin, that means we are facing death and eternal separation from God. God declares, “The soul who sins shall die” (Ezekiel 18:4).
Our only hope is if someone else would take our punishment and die in our place as our substitute. That someone has to be absolutely perfect. One human cannot die for another human any more than one criminal can pay for another criminal’s crime. That is where Jesus Christ comes in.
Who Jesus Christ Is
Not only is He God’s Son, He is God’s perfect son – one hundred percent holy. Even His enemies said of Him, “I find no fault in this Man” (Luke 23:4). In the greatest demonstration of love ever expressed, God allowed that perfect Son to take our place on a cross. We are told in Romans 5:8, “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” It was the innocent dying for the guilty. The third day Jesus Christ arose from the grave proving His victory over sin and the grave. His death and resurrection provided a way whereby sin past, present, and future can be forgiven.
Three words Jesus Christ declared on the cross proved our debt of sin before a holy God has been paid. Those three words were, “It is finished” (John 19:30). “Finished” means “paid in full”. His death was not the down payment for our wrong, but the full payment. It was not Jesus Christ plus our good behavior that paid our sins before God, or Jesus Christ plus our baptism, church attendance or taking of the sacraments. It was Jesus Christ alone that paid the debt. Jesus Christ forever satisfied the wrath of a holy God against our sin by taking the payment we deserved. “For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Corinthians 5:21).
That is why we have to come to God through Christ trusting Him alone as our only way to eternal life. Romans 4:5 assures us, “But to Him who does not work but believes on Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness.” The moment we trust Christ alone to save, we are agreeing with God that His Son’s death on the cross is our only means of salvation. As God looks upon us, He no longer sees our sin but sees the perfection of His Son Jesus Christ. At that moment of simple faith we are forever accepted by God, not based on what we have done for Him, but based on what His Son did for us on a cross. Someone has well said, “When you can say, “Christ died” that is history, but when from your heart you declare, “Christ died for me and I am trusting Him alone to save me, that is salvation.”
Why is Jesus Christ alone sufficient for our salvation? He and He alone was qualified to pay the debt for our sin, and He paid that debt in full. Hence, we are told in Acts 4:12, “Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”