7. How To Be Saved
The Way of Salvation
Salvation is one of the simplest teachings in the Bible. It’s so easy a little child can understand it, and so deep that the greatest theologians have never been able to wrap their minds around it. Salvation is a loving God’s answer to the greatest tragedy of all time—SIN.
Sin entangles every man, woman, and child from birth to death, and if left to ourselves our selfishness would eat us up and leave the globe filled with babbling idiots. (Example: The demon- possessed men and women of Christ’s day.)
But Jesus has made a way of escape for us. He beat the devil at every turn, and finally rang the death-knell of Satan’s kingdom for good. Jesus won the victory on the cross! He rose from the tomb, and now lives to give us salvation and continuous victory over sin.
WHAT IS THE SINGLE REQUIREMENT FOR SALVATION?
1WS John 3:16 God doesn’t ask us to do anything to be saved. There is no work, nor amount of money, nor position that will get us to Heaven. All God requires is that we believe that Jesus died, and rose again.
ISN’T THERE SOMETHING WE CAN DO TOWARD OUR OWN SALVATION?
2WS Acts 2:38 Well, yes. There is something we can do: repent of our sin.
Repentance is a genuine sorrow for the sins we’ve done, and a deep desire to stop sinning. We realize that our sins were responsible of nailing Jesus to the cross just as much as the priests, rabbis, and Romans did. We were there—jostling Jesus in the crowd, hitting Him with our fists, scourging Him with the whip, holding the hammer, driving the spikes through His tender palms, nailing Him to the cross . . . . We were there because Jesus bore the penalty for our sins just as much as for the sins of the whole world!
What does that do to you to know that your sins killed Jesus? Does that make you feel good? Of course not. But how does that make you feel? Sorry for what you’ve done? Of course. And that sorrow for sin, and the desire to stop sinning—stop hurting Christ—is repentance. And that’s the second thing we can do toward our own salvation: repent.
OH YES, THERE’S SOMETHING ELSE WE CAN DO. WHAT’S THAT?
3WS 1 John 1:9 Confess. Confess what? Our sins. All the things that we’ve done that nailed Jesus to the cross: selfishness, pride, vulgar language, Sabbath breaking, dishonoring our parents, murder, adultery, cheating, stealing, lying, envy—and a variation of all these things. (Most of these will be discussed in future lessons.) Whatever the sin, God requires that we confess them—insofar as we can remember—and realize that there are thousands of which we’re not even aware.
HOW CAN I KNOW WHAT SIN IS?
4WS 1 John 3:4 Sin is breaking God’s law—the 10 commandments (listed in Exodus 20:1-17). The commandments will be discussed in a future lesson, but we need to know right now, that God, in reality, has described what He is like in these, what we call the 10 commandments. They’re not negative at all: they’re showing us how to live a pure life, a life like Jesus lived. If we transgress, or break, or disobey any of these commandments, we’re sinning. So if we know we’ve done something by which we’ve disobeyed God, we’ve broken His commandments—His law—and in so doing, we’ve sinned, for sin is breaking (transgressed) God’s law.
WHAT HAPPENS IF I DON’T REPENT OF, OR CONFESS MY SIN?
5WS Romans 6:23 Remember John 3:16? Jesus said that if we believe in Him we would not “perish.” That’s the alternative to eternal life. Paul said that death is the wages of sin. We’ve earned it by sinning. We’ve worked for it, and death is our pay-check. Every sinner must pay the price for his/her sin: death. If left to ourselves, we would all die without any appeal, without hope. Zap! Nothing!
But the “gift of God is eternal life—never, ever dying! Notice the word “gift.” We’ve already discovered that eternal life comes from believing in Jesus, repenting and confessing our sins. That’s all we can do. That doesn’t earn eternal life. It only makes it possible for God to GIVE us eternal life.
ETERNAL LIFE IS A GIFT! We can’t earn it by doing something, we can’t buy it, we can’t get it by some position we have or some important person we know. God gives it to us as a gift. It’s that simple.
HOW CAN I GET THIS GIFT?
6WS Ephesians 2:8-10 We get the gift because of the grace of God, not because we deserve it. And we receive this grace by faith—believing. We ran into this word before, in John 3:16. God keeps emphasizing faith/belief (they come from the same Greek word), because there is just no other way to get it. It’s a gift. We get it by believing that Jesus is our Savior.
“But wait a minute,” I can hear you thinking. “In verse 10 it says that we have to have good works. Isn’t that a way of earning salvation?”
No. Look where works comes in. It comes after we’ve received the Grace of God as a gift because we believed in Jesus. When we get the gift, we become so grateful for the peace and happiness that it brings—and the hope of eternal life—that we would do anything to serve a God who’s that loving. God knew that would be the way you’d feel, so He made provision for it. He’s made it possible for us to work for Him—sort of a way of giving us a way to demonstrate our thanks for His great gift.
HOW COULD GOD GIVE SUCH A GIFT TO A SINNER LIKE ME, EVEN THOUGH I’VE BELIEVED IN JESUS, REPENTED AND CONFESSED MY SIN?
7WS 1 Peter 2:24 Jesus took our sins—and the sins of every man, woman, and child who has ever lived, who is alive now, or who will ever live—into His own body when he went to the cross. It was as though we were there—not only crucifying Him, being crucified for our sins as well; because our sins were in Jesus when He hung on the cross.
Not only were our sins in Him on the cross, when Jesus died He took upon Himself the penalty for our sin. He died the death that we should have to die. He justified us and gave us a chance to live—forever and ever and ever.
Read the story of Jesus at the Last Supper and Gethsemane (Matthew 26:28-46). You’ll notice that as Jesus reached Gethsemane, already He was feeling the weight of the sin of the world upon Him: “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death.” (verse 38, NIV) As Paul explained: “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” (2 Corinthians 5:21, NIV) “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” (Galatians 2:20)
So, HOW CAN I BE SAVED?
1. Believe that Jesus died for you.
2. Repent of —be sorry for—your sins.
3. Confess your sins to God (not to any man).
4. Receive the gift of eternal life
Won’t you pray to Jesus right now? Just tell Him: “Jesus, I believe that you died for me. I’m sorry that my sins killed you. I’m sorry that I (here’ you tell Him all the sins you can remember). Please give me the gift of eternal life. In Jesus Name, Amen.”
And at this point you must believe that God has given this gift to you—because He HAS given it. He has given you eternal life, so that (even though you will die at the end of this life) when He comes again at the end of the age (future lesson), He will make you immortal and you will live forever.
All because He died for you and you accepted His gift of life by faith.
ISN’T JESUS WONDERFUL?!