“And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12)
The early church expanded rapidly due to the action of the Holy Spirit through the disciples. His work convicted people of sin, healed people of sickness and disability, and created a compassionate and loving community. The Jews who were brought to faith in Christ experienced the power and love of God as never before. Naturally the religious leaders of the Jews did not like what was going on. They viewed these apostles of Jesus as unschooled troublemakers who threatened their power, so they had them arrested.
The apostles received great courage and wisdom from the Holy Spirit to confront these rulers. They proclaimed that Jesus is God. And, in addition, they maintained that not only had Jesus risen from the dead, but that salvation was to be found in Him alone. This was an incredible and dangerous statement to make to a person of any other religion or belief system because it maintains that all other religions are worthless and ineffective, that those who profess to worship a God other than the one revealed in Jesus Christ are hopelessly lost and bound for hell.
In the spiritual pluralism that existed in the ancient world and exists in our own this is quite a radical and dangerous claim, one which many find offensive. Consequently, many label Christians as intolerant. Because of this, we may be tempted to soften this dynamic claim, as many do, by allowing for truth in other faiths or by maintaining that God speaks to different cultures in differing ways. We fear antagonizing people or making them feel bad about themselves. We also fear persecution. Yet such persecution is happening now throughout the world. Many of our brothers and sisters are suffering economic and legal sanctions as well as imprisonment, torture, and death because they believe and proclaim that Jesus is God. Such persecution is only beginning here in the United States with the enforcement of laws and cultural values which are antithetical the word of God.
But we must continue to preach the gospel in word and deed even if others find it offensive. The fact is, the fact is they ought to feel offended, they ought to feel guilt, because they are sinners. Unless they feel guilt over sin they will never know they need a savior. They will never be led to faith in Jesus alone. So, therefore, we ought to pray for the boldness of the Holy Spirit who will enable us to speak the truth in love.