Companies spend thousands of dollars advertising their brand. It seems to have become a necessity although most of the “brand names” are easily recognizable. But with the introduction of “generic” brands the manufactures want to be sure people are aware of “the real thing.” These generic brands are like their name brand counterparts, but you don’t generally see or hear the generics advertised. The greatest appeal of generic brands is that they do not cost as much. While the generics may be like the name brand, they are not identical, and the careful consumer can distinguish easily between “the real thing” and the imitations.
If we take the principle, the same could be said in the religious world. There is the “real thing” and the “generic.” While on the surface they look the same, a close examination shows the differences.
The Real Thing
After being arrested for healing a lame man and preaching the gospel, Peter and John were asked on trial before the Jewish council, “…By what power, or in what name, have you done this?” (Acts 4:7). Peter had already answered this question at least twice before they were arrested. To the lame man at the gate of the temple he had said, “In the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene–walk!” (Acts 3:6). Later, when they were preaching on Solomon’s porch, Peter had proclaimed, “And on the basis of faith in His name, it is the name of Jesus which has strengthened this man whom you see and know” (Acts 3:16). So, when the Sanhedrin asked, “By what name,” the answer had already been given, but Peter was not ashamed to announce it again—“let it be known to all of you and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead–by this name this man stands here before you in good health.” (Acts 4:10). Notice that Peter did not offer some generic response of a power or name that was like “the real thing.” He didn’t point to some imitation that was close.
Then, Peter concluded his remarks with this definitive statement, “For there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12). In that one affirmation of divine truth, the Scripture condemns all religious groups, “churches” and doctrines that do not conform to the name, authority and pattern of Christ.
Would you trust your soul’s salvation to some imitation or generic brand? Or is Christ your only authority?