One God, One Salvation for All

The oneness of God means that there is one way to salvation, not the way of works, but the way of faith. And because it is a way of faith, it cuts across all ethnic and political and language and cultural barriers. Verse 30: "God will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through faith." "Circumcision" stands for any religious or ethnic trait that you might think would commend you to God. And "uncircumcision" stands for any trait, or missing trait, that you think might keep you from God.

The gospel of Jesus Christ comes and says, "Justification (getting right with God) is by faith, not works. Therefore, having certain ethnic or religious advantages proves to be of no advantage. And not having certain ethnic or religious advantages proves to be of no disadvantage. The reason is that faith in Christ, by its very nature, looks away from distinctives (positive or negative) that you have in yourself, and looks to God's free grace in order to be justified and have eternal life.

God's oneness means that there is one way of salvation for all. And, because this one God is the great sovereign, self-sufficient God who can't be worked for, but overflows in grace, the one way of salvation is by grace through faith, and that is not of ourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone -- any culture or race or ethnic group -- should boast (Ephesians 2:8-9).

That's the second step: since God is one, he justifies Jews and Gentiles in the same way, not two different ways. He justifies the circumcised (Jews) by faith and the uncircumcised by faith (Gentiles).

He Is the God of the Nations

Finally, the third step: since God is one, and justifies all peoples in the same way -- by faith alone in Christ alone -- not different ways, therefore, he is not the God of the Jews only, but the God of the nations as well. Verse 29: "Is God the God of Jews only? Is He not the God of Gentiles also? Yes, of Gentiles also." And "Gentiles" refers to all kinds of ethnic groups.

So what does it mean for us today to say, God is the God of the nations, the God of every ethnic group that you will ever see in Elliot Park and Phillips neighborhoods? It means four things, at least.

1)   That God is the God of the nations means that God created all the nations. Acts 17:26: "He made from one every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth." Ethnic differences are God's doing. Beware of your prejudices. Go to God for the love that he has for the nations.

2)   That God is the God of the nations means that he will redeem a people for himself out of every nation. Revelation 5:9: "They sang a new song, saying, 'Worthy are You to take the book and to break its seals; for You were slain, and purchased for God with Your blood men from every tribe and tongue and people and nation.'" God means to have a redeemed people from every ethnic group. Therefore, none is to be despised, but loved and pursued with grace.

3)   That God is the God of the nations means he is ready to justify anyone, anywhere, from any nation through faith alone in Jesus Christ. There is one way of salvation for all the nations. God is God of the nations because he has made a way for them all -- the same way and it is a way of grace.

4)   That God is the God of the nations means that God aims to be known by all the nations. Psalm 96:1-4: "O sing to the Lord a new song; sing to the Lord, all the earth! Sing to the Lord, bless his name; tell of his salvation from day to day. Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous works among all the peoples! For great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised; he is to be feared above all gods."

This is where the text is leading us for this afternoon. "Declare his glory among the nations" -- and the neighborhoods. That is what the banners are for and the leaflets and the songs and the prayers and your presence. Stay with us and let your march be part of the fulfillment of this text today.


This article first appeared here, and similar resources can be found at

For more articles like this, see the Patheos' Evangelical Portal.


John Piper pastors the Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and has published numerous bestsellers.

2/16/2010 5:00:00 AM
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