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.”
The Greek word for “name”, onoma, has several different meanings, of which we have been exploring through God’s word this week. The next definition that I want to share with you this morning is the definition of “in acknowledgment or confession of”. In order to fully understand the scriptural meanings of certain words in the Bible, as written in context of the scriptures, it is sometimes helpful to look at the meaning from the original Hebrew or Greek word. The language of the Old Testament is Hebrew and the New Testament is written primarily in Greek. Many words in these two languages have different meanings than what we would understand from the English language defintions. It is for this reason that it is helpful to look at the original language and ascertain what the definition of the word was in that language.
In Acts 4:12 when using the Biblical definition for “name” of in acknowledgment or confession of”, which is the definition used for that word in this verse, it would read, “Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other acknowledgment or confession of under heaven given among men by which we must be saved. When you look at the previous verses you will see that this verse is referring to Jesus Christ as being the only way to salvation.
Acts 4:10-12 “let it be known to you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead, by Him this man stands here before you whole. “This is the stone which was rejected by you builders, which has become the chief cornerstone.’ “Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”
Now looking at the word “name” in verse 10 we see the Greek word “onoma” with the definition of “in the power of”. So even though it is the same English word used in both verses, the Biblical definition of the Greek word “onoma” renders two completely different definitions for the same word. In verse 10 the proper definition would cause the verse to read, “let it be know to you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the power of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead, by Him this man stands here before you whole.” Then the 12th verse, according to the proper rendering of the word “name”, “onoma”, would read, “Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other acknowledgment or confession of under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” It is through acknowledging and confessing that Jesus Christ is your Savior and Lord that you are saved according to this scripture and as instructed in Romans 10:8-10:
But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart: (that is, the word of faith which we preach): that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
It is through believing in your heart that Jesus died for you, that God raised Him from the dead and He will live in you as you confess Him as your Lord and Savior that you become saved from your sins and set apart unto God as His child to live for eternity in His presence. There is no other way that salvation as entering into the family of God can come into a person’s live but through acknowledgment of who He is to you and confession of His saving grace and Lordship of your life. There are no “closet” Christians. We must come out in the open and confess Him as Lord for salvation to be ours.
So you can see from the Greek rendering of the word “name” that there can be different meanings based on how it is used in the scriptures. The English translation may say “name”, but the Greek definition can mean something completely different from our English understanding.
Another example of this definition of the word “name”, “onoma” is found in Acts 9:27, 28:
But Barnabas took him and brought him to the apostles. And he declared to them how he had seen the Lord on the road, and that He had spoken to him, and how he had preached boldly at Damascus in the name of Jesus. So he was with them at Jerusalem, coming in and going out.
Here Paul was speaking of his conversion to Christianity when Jesus appeared to him on the road to Damascus and changed him completely from being a hater of those who were followers of Jesus to proclaiming that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God and that the only way to reach heaven was through a relationship with Him. He preached boldly at Damascus in acknowledgment or confession of Jesus Christ. This was Paul’s testimony that he was giving to the apostles. They were afraid of him because of his former life, but they couldn’t dispute what God had done in his life just as no one can take my testimony away from them. What God has done in my life is my testimony. It reflects on what and who Jesus to me and when I tell people about His goodness in my life they can’t dispute it because it is based on my experience of what God has done for me.
Acts 9:29 And he spoke boldly in the name of the Lord Jesus and disputed against the Hellenists, but they attempted to kill him.
There was a definite difference in Paul, who was previously known as Saul, when he met Jesus on the road to Damascus. That encounter changed his whole life. That’s what happens to a person when they meet Jesus and acknowledge or confess Him as Savior and Lord. They are changed completely! When we boldly proclaim who Jesus is and that people need Him in their lives for them to be able to meet their heavenly Father and spend eternity with Him it will stir up some religious spirits. That’s what happened here to Paul.
The Hellenists were Greek-speaking Jews. Stephen had encountered this group of people and wound up getting stoned to death because he had upset their way of thinking so badly that they became enraged at him. It is recorded in Acts 6:9 that they were from what is called the Synagogue of the Freedmen (Cyrenians, Alexandrians, and those from Cilicia and Asia). They had come to live in Jerusalem and established their own synagogue. The center of worship in Jerusalem was the temple. That was where the focus of Jewish ritual such as sacrifice took place. But synagogues were local places of worship and each one had its own government, led by elders who were empowered to exercise discipline and punish members. The tradition of the synagogue worship was to meet on the Sabbath, and a typical service consisted of the recitation from the Shema, a confession of faith in one God (Deut. 6:4-9), prayers, Scripture readings from the Law and the Prophets, a sermon, and a benediction. The religious instruction for the Jews usually came through the traditional teachings at the synagogue. Paul didn’t reject his Jewish faith but rather saw Christ as the fulfillment of all that he had been taught in the synagogues. But the Hellenists didn’t see Jesus as the Messiah, or the fulfillment of their Jewish faith and thus became enraged at Stephen and Paul for challenging their beliefs with the truth of who Jesus really was.
Have you come to the place where you acknowledge and confess Jesus as you own personal Savior and Lord? As we’ve seen this morning, that is the only way you will be accepted into heaven when you leave this earthly existence. It will not be asked of you if you attended every church service your church had or if you have done enough good works or prayed enough or read your Bible every day. All that will be required of you is that you have put your trust in Jesus as your own personal Savior and confessed Him as Lord while living on this earth. Once you die there are no second chances to make that decision. It must be made while living. If you have never done that and would like to, please repeat this prayer after me and sincerely mean it in your heart:
Father, I come before You this morning recognizing that I need to acknowledge and confess Jesus as my own personal Savior and Lord in order to be saved. I acknowledge that I am a sinner and cannot save myself. I need the saving power of Jesus in my life. I ask You to forgive me of my sins. I believe that You gave Jesus to die for me and that He now lives in heaven with You as a result of You raising Him from the dead. I believe and confess Jesus as my Savior and Lord and I thank You for saving me. I receive Your salvation and vow to live each day for You from this moment on. Thank You, Lord Jesus, for saving me. Amen.
Welcome to the family of God! You are now “born again”, born in the Spirit as well as the natural. Your spirit has been regenerated or reawakened so you can now hear God’s voice and interact with Him on a spirit to Spirit basis. According to 2 Corinthians 5:17 you are now a new creation in Christ Jesus.
2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.
You will begin to notice that your desires are changing as you spend time in God’s word and speaking with Him through prayer. Old habits will fall away as He changes you. His Spirit within you will teach you things through His word and assure you of His love for you. Your life has now been redeemed from the grip of the enemy who comes only to steal, kill and destroy you. The devil no longer has a legal access to your life. It is as you develop in your relationship with the Lord that He will teach you what to do and say throughout your life. There is nothing impossible with God. Your whole life has now taken a new direction. Congratulations! You have made the most important decision of your life in following Jesus!
Father, I thank You for those who have come into Your family this morning after praying with me to receive Jesus as Savior and Lord. I pray that You will draw them closely to Your side, teach them more about who they are in their new life in You and show them the good plan that You have for their lives. I pray for those who are learning to apply Your word through the “name” of Jesus in their daily walk with You. I pray that You will enlighten the eyes of our hearts to see all that is in the “name” of Jesus and how it applies to us personally as we walk out our faith. Thank You for showing us the Biblical meanings of this word that is used in the Greek manuscript for the New Testament. May we apply it’s Biblical meaning to our own prayer lives. For we come before You acknowledging and confessing our faith in Jesus as the basis of our petitions to You. Amen.