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TLH 383 “Seek Where Ye May to Find a Way”

Hymn 383 is referenced to 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.”
Clearly, this Bible passage teaches that only Jesus saves. Numerous other Bible verses teach the same thing. However, many today strongly object to that truth. They find it offensive. They acrimoniously challenge us by asking, “Do you really think it’s fair that only Christians are saved? What about those millions of others who are just as faithful and devout in their religions as you are in yours? Or what about all those who have never even heard the Gospel? Would a just and loving God really condemn all those people to eternal hell, just because they don’t believe in Jesus?”
Yes, He would and He does. We know this because He tells us so, and “His Word is sure” (verse 1). After all, the only way man can know truth about God, especially the “mysteries” of the Gospel, is through God’s self-revelation. So, for example, in 1 Corinthians 2:7 we read, “But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God ordained before the ages for our glory.”1 Therefore our hymn enjoins, “Seek where ye may / To find a way/ That leads to your salvation; / My heart is stilled, / on Christ I build, / He is the one Foundation.” (verse 1)
Those who reject the truth that only Christians are saved usually start with false presuppositions. They begin with the idea that salvation is a result of our own good works and merit, and that God “grades on a curve,” so that “good” people go to heaven and “bad” people to hell. They think that it’s behavior, and not religion, that makes the difference. That’s why they think the exclusivity of salvation being only for Christians is unfair.
The only “unfair” thing, if you want to look at it that way, is not that so many will be damned; but rather than so many are saved. After all, judging by the only true standard—God’s—no one deserves salvation. The “mystery” of the Gospel is that Jesus Christ, true man and also true God, has lived the perfect life that we cannot, and has suffered the punishment for all our sins. Because Jesus is true God, the magnitude of His perfect life and sacrificial death is infinite, and thus sufficient for all people; and as true man, He was perfectly obedient “under the Law” and also able to suffer death. So Galatians 4:4-5 reveals, “But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.”
That understanding of the mystery of the Gospel is reflected also in the words of this hymn: “Seek whom ye may / To be your stay; / None can redeem his brother. / All helpers failed, / This Man prevailed, / The God-man, and none other. / Our Servant-Lord / Did help afford; / We’re justified, / For He hath died, / The Guiltless for the guilty.” (verse 2)
Yes, it is true indeed, only those who believe in Jesus will be saved. “Seek Him alone, / Who did atone.” (verse 3) Only Christ can save; none other. He alone is the proper object of our seeking for salvation, because He alone atoned for our sins. All religions other than Christianity posit that man must in some way earn God’s approval through good works and avoidance of sin. However, God is holy and just, so His approval is pronounced only upon those who are perfectly without sin. It is through the total forgiveness of our sins for the sake of the perfect life and substitutionary death of Jesus—and that alone—that any person is pronounced perfect.
When confronted with objections to the truth that salvation is found only in Jesus Christ, let us remember that “In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace.” (Ephesians 1:7) In Him, and in Him alone. Amen.
Craig Owings is a retired teacher and serves as assistant editor of the Lutheran Spokesman. He lives in Cape Coral, Florida.