SALVATION: GOD’S FREE GIFT
WHAT IS SALVATION?
Salvation is being saved from spending an eternity in hell, God’s punishment for our sins, including the sin of unbelief; and once saved, we receive eternal life as children of God.
What must we do to be saved? In simple terms, all we need to do is believe on Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior. That said, it’s important to know and understand the gospel so we can be sure of our own salvation, and also so we may carry it in our hearts, always ready to share it with others without hesitation.
Before looking at the specifics, let’s start with John 3:16 which shows the centrality of Jesus to salvation, through whose sacrifice we are washed clean of our sins, and that by believing on him we’re granted the gift of everlasting life.
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. (John 3:16)
What You Need to Know to Be Saved
As Paul refers to it throughout his epistles to the churches and the saints (the saved), here is the gospel of Christ, the everlasting gospel (with the words of Jesus in red):
The gospel is also known as the good news.
- We are all sinners
- The penalty for sin is eternal death, being cast into the lake of fire
- Jesus was crucified, buried and raised again for our salvationJesus is the only way to God the Father
- We are saved by grace through faith, not by living a good life
- Once saved, we have eternal life and our salvation is secure
- We must put all of our faith in Jesus Christ and call upon his name to be saved
We Are All Sinners and the Penalty for Sin Is Death
There is no way of getting around this as it’s clear in the Bible that sin includes not only lying (something we’ve all done) but unbelief itself. The Bible reads:
But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death. (Revelation 21:8)
The sins in this verse that most of us will relate to are those of fear, unbelief and lying. While they might seem to be minor transgressions to us, they are counted worthy of eternal damnation by God. And it only takes just one of these sins to be cast into the lake of fire.
This is the “bad news” that we all need to understand. We might think we’re living a good, moral life but that’s not the same as living a sinless life. Only Jesus lived a sinless life. If we convince ourselves that we are living a sinless life, the Bible tells us we’re deceiving ourselves:
Romans 6:23 concisely shows both the bad and the good news: “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
In addition to showing us the clear choice between death and eternal life, the above verse also tells us that we receive eternal life as a gift. This means that it’s freely given and will not be taken away; otherwise it would not be a gift but a conditional loan.
Jesus Was Crucified, Buried & Raised Again for Our Salvation
Jesus came into this world to lay down his life for our salvation: “As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep.” (John 10:15) “No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father.” (John 10:18)
Jesus, the last sacrificial Passover lamb, shed his blood on the cross for the salvation of all of humanity. When we put all of our faith in Jesus as our Savior we are cleansed by his blood and our sins are forgiven. As saved Christians, we are born again as children of God and, thereby, are spared from his wrath.
When Jesus died he went to hell for three days and three nights, a continuation of suffering to pay for our sins.
For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. (Matthew 12:40)
Jesus Is THE Way
Jesus is the only way to be saved, the only way to God. It is only through our faith and trust in Jesus Christ that we are saved, and it is only through him that we come to God the Father. We cannot say we have faith in God and not believe that Jesus is the Son of God.
Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. (John 14:6)
At this point it’s good to remind ourselves of John 3:16, this time reading it in context with verses 17 and 18:
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. (John 3:16-18)
He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him. (John 3:36)
Saved by Grace through Faith
A hugely important part of the gospel is understanding that we are saved by grace through faith, that salvation has nothing to do with us being a good person or living a good life. Or even doing great works for God. Once we know and truly understand that we all come short of the glory of God, we must also realize that there’s nothing we can do as human beings in this world that will cause us to be worthy to be saved.
We must take care not to be led astray by the incorrect notion of needing to “repent of our sins” in order to be saved, as repent in the Bible is always connected with reconsidering one’s previous position. When Jesus says in Mark 1:15 “repent ye, and believe the gospel” he’s talking about turning from unbelief to belief. The following passage from Matthew 7 shows that our works count for nought, and that what’s important is doing the will of the Father.
Some might assume that “the will of my Father” is referring to keeping the law, which is works, but read again John 3:16-18 which shows God’s will is that the world, through Jesus, might be saved. And further into the Book of John, Jesus states:
And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day. (John 6:40)
When we are saved we are born again spiritually, as Jesus explained to Nicodemus the Pharisee.
Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born? Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. (John 3:3-6)
Eternal Security & Everlasting Life
Not only is salvation as simple as wholehearted faith in Jesus but we can also rest in the knowledge that our salvation is secure. The moment we are saved we are sealed by God until the day of resurrection, and are given the Holy Spirit as the assurance of our future resurrection.
Now he which stablisheth us with you in Christ, and hath anointed us, is God; Who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts. (2 Corinthians 1:21-22)
In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory. (Ephesians 1:13-14)
My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand. (John 10:27-29)
The above verses clearly show we are given eternal life when we’re saved. In John 10:28-29 Jesus says two crucial things: that he gives his sheep eternal life and that no man is able to pluck his sheep out of his Father’s hand. Given that Jesus is both the Word (John 1:1) and the truth (John 14:6), we know that his words are true.
Knowing that we have eternal life — now, not at some point in the future — we must also understand that, while we cannot commit any sin that will cause us to lose our salvation, this is not a license to sin as God will punish us here on earth.
Call Upon Jesus Christ to Be Saved
Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this? (John 11:25-26)
PRAYER OF SALVATION
I know that I am a sinner.
I know I deserve to go to hell,
but I believe you were crucified, buried and raised again for my salvation.
Please forgive me of all my sin and give me the gift of eternal life.
I’m trusting only in you Lord Jesus.
Thank you for saving me.