I know that Jesus is the answer..but my question is....do they have to actually use the word Jesus? or like the old testament saints acknowledge that they need someone outside of theirselves...in other words looking for the Messiah? Laurel
Hi Laurel! :)
You know, I think we've all come to understand the bondage of words you've so well described in this question ... even though the very asking of the question might ruffle our feathers! :) I mean, let's face it, we have a world of people who claim a salvation by the word "Jesus" that has nothing to do with the freedom he brought.
The well-known verse says,
And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.Acts 4:12
It does NOT say that salvation comes by speaking the word "Jesus", but that it comes BY his name - which has to do with the reality IN him because of who he is and what he has done. The mention of "by no other name" has nothing to do with a magical incantation that includes the word "Jesus".
I would think that in our contemporary world many people may view the word "Jesus" as the epitome of a self-righteousness that is despicable to them. If the miracle of God comes upon one in the midst of the same desire for a savior that we found then might not his words really speak the same truth ours did? After all, how much did we actually understand of the "gospel" when we heard it?
What if the witness of God truly is as miraculous as Christ REALLY is? What if Jesus doesn't care - or even prefers - that some might despise the religiosity they have found connected with the word "Jesus" or even "Christ" or "Christian"? Maybe that is the very point of Paul's statement about having known Christ "after the flesh" ... for there was no salvation in THAT "Jesus" for any of them no matter how many times they repeated the empty word.
Here's the reality. When God miraculously delivers one from their former bondage they are truly free. Not because a religious thing happened but instead a living reality happened. Those who are born of God love the real Jesus Christ even if they have a problem with the word connected with him. But we have no cause for fear or worry over the matter. For as we come to understand that the Jesus presented by the religious world (the Christ of our fleshly perceptions) is indeed despicable we come to recognize that we have believed in a "different" Jesus than the Jesus of the religious world ... one who truly fits the story of death and new life!!
Haven't we been engaged in "redefining" Christ to the "Christian" world around us? I can't count the number of times I've had to steer clear of ANY of the usual "Christian" words in order to really describe Christ to those who profess his name. Seems rather contradictory, doesn't it? But it's the exact same issue that your excellent question poses. The truth of Christ has been buried under a mound of "Christian" terminology.
Religion deals in technicalities, God deals in truth and life.
Love, Jim :)