HOW TO BE SAVED
All of us have probably had someone say to us, “I have good news and I have bad news.” At that we are asked which news we want to hear first. For instance, a doctor may sit you down in his office and say, “I have good news and bad news. The bad news is that you have a very serious disease; the good news is that we have a cure for it.” I myself would like to share with you some good news and some bad news, yet the good news far outweighs the bad.
In Romans 1.16, the Apostle Paul wrote, “I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile.” The word gospel means “good news.” It is the good news of the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. It is the good news that God sent his Son into the world that we might be forgiven and have eternal life.
The gospel of Christ has the power to save. Paul says the gospel is “the power of God to salvation.” What is salvation? To save means to rescue from harm or danger. It is to deliver someone out of a perilous situation. If someone is drowning in a swimming pool and a lifeguard rescues him, we say that he saved his life. If someone is caught in a burning building and a fireman rescues her, we say that he saved her life. To save is to rescue from harm or danger. When referring to Jesus Christ, we are saying that he saves us from sin. He rescues us from the consequences of our sin.
Now, what is sin? Sin is disobedience to God and his standard for living, a standard that is given to us in the Bible. Sin is rooted in an attitude of selfishness, in which we place our desires and interests before God and other people. Sin is also rooted in an attitude of defiance, in which we refuse to obey God and choose to live life outside of his influence and control. The following are some examples of sin: having sex outside of marriage, lying, taking things from work that don’t belong to you, abusing drugs or alcohol, cheating on an exam, etc. These are just a few examples of sin. There are many others we could mention as well.
The fact is we all have sinned; we all have failed God at some point in our life (see Rom 3.23). And sin, no matter what it is, has consequences. When we live life our own way and choose to disobey God’s standard, we face serious consequences. The main consequence is death—not just physical death but eternal death: eternal separation from God in hell (see Rom 6.23; Heb 9.27). Yet, through Jesus Christ we can escape this horrible consequence of sin. We can be rescued from the punishment of sin (see Isa 53.5-6; 2 Cor 5.21).
The gospel of Christ has the power to save everyone. Paul says salvation is intended “for everyone.” Jesus died for everyone, and he desires everyone to be saved. It doesn’t matter who you are or what you have done; God wants you to be saved. He desires to forgive you of your sin and to give you eternal life (see 2 Pet 3.9; John 3.17).
God really cares about you and wants to be reconciled to you. Yet, you may think that this is not the case for you. In your case you may think there is little hope. You say, “I wasn’t raised in church; I don’t know much about religion,” or “I’ve done a lot of bad things in my life,” or “I once served the Lord, but I gave up and turned away from him.” No matter what you have done or where you are in life, God still loves you and he is willing to save you. He is willing to save you right where you are.
Jesus once told a parable about a lost sheep (see Luke 15.1-7). A shepherd had a hundred sheep, yet one got lost. So the shepherd decided to leave the ninety-nine sheep safely in the fold and go search for the one lost sheep. He searched and searched until he found it. Then he rejoiced that his lost sheep was found. In the same way Jesus searches for those who are lost in sin. He searches for us until he finds us and saves us.
The gospel of Christ has the power to save everyone who believes. This salvation that Paul speaks of is for everyone “who believes.” To be saved we must believe. Yet, what are we to believe? Not simply that God exists or that Jesus was a great teacher or that the church is a good place to belong or that everyone ought to live by the golden rule. We must believe in the death and resurrection of Christ—that he died for ours sins and rose again the third day (see John 3.16; Acts 16.31).
To believe involves a commitment; it involves action. Faith is not simply a mental exercise; it is a life commitment. It is choosing to follow Jesus Christ and to do his will. Faith involves obedience. You will not fly until you buy your ticket and walk onto the plane. It is not enough to believe that the plane is operational or that the pilot can fly or that the flight is going in the direction that you want to go. You must actually board the plane to fly. The same is true with salvation. To be saved you must personally decide to believe in Jesus and follow him. Romans 10.9 says, “If you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” Why not turn from your sin today and receive Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior by faith?