Recently I was studying with my daughter a book from Kyle Butt of Apologetics Press titled A Matter of Fact. From the study questions listed at the end of Chapter 3, it was asked “what happens in religion when people decide to follow God in ways that “feel right” to them yet go against the Bible?” As we were discussing the importance of God’s word and living in accordance to His revealed word, I could not help but think of our own salvation and what God has revealed in His word concerning salvation. Have you ever considered what God’s word says about our (your) salvation?
In Proverbs 14:12, we read… “There is a way that seems right to a man, But its end is the way of death.” We hear a lot of different things concerning our salvation and what God expects (or in some cases does not) expect of us. There is a way that seems right to people but is this what God has revealed in His word?
Jesus says that God’s word is truth in John 17:17. When considering a question as important as our salvation, should we not consider the word of God - the truth? Should we expect to find in God’s word the answer to such an important question? The Lord in His word has revealed the answer to this question as well as others. We don’t have to rely on someone's opinion. We can open His word and find out directly from the pages of Scripture how God answers this question.
But some may ask what do I need to be saved from? This is a valid question. The apostle Paul writing in Romans 3:23 says “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” That is to say, we are all guilty - each one of us is guilty of breaking God’s law (His Word). We have all done something that is not right in the sight of God. And as those who are lawbreakers, we are deserving of death according to Romans 6:23. This is not something we can escape. We cannot do enough “good” to outweigh the “bad”. We can’t somehow “pay” our way out of this judgment.
There is good news for those who seek to escape this judgment! God did provide for us a way of escape through His Son (Jesus).
We read this in Romans 5:6-8 “For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” He did this out of His great love for us, John 3:16 says “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”
It was not something we deserved, it was not because we were so good; it was not because we somehow could please God of our own abilities. But it is because of God’s love for us that He sent His Son. God has paid the price for our sin through His Son Jesus. However, He still expects something of us. As we continue reading in John 3:18 we do find that there is something we must do.
“He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”
We must believe. Jesus also says in Mark 16:16 “He who believes and is baptized will be saved, but he who does not believe will be condemned.” We see in these verses as well as others that there is an expectation of something we must do to be saved.
The apostle Peter was speaking to a large crowd in Acts 2. As he was preaching the gospel of Christ, those who heard Peter’s words on that day were “cut to the heart” and asked, “…what shall we do?” Acts 2:37. Saul asked this very question in Acts 9:6 “Lord, what do You want me to do?” They understood there was something that was to be done. We need to understand this as well. The word of God teaches us that there is something we must do. We cannot be saved from the judgment of God without doing what He has said for us to do in His word.
Notice with me a few passages from the Bible:
Hear God’s Word
First, we must have faith, our Salvation is based in faith from beginning to end.
In Romans 10:17 we read “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”
We must hear the word of God, the word of God is to be taught / the gospel preached just as Peter did in Acts 2. In Hebrews 11:6 we read “But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.” We must have faith, and faith is developed through God’s word (the Bible).
Believe in Jesus the Son of God
Peter believed in Jesus and made a truthful confession of who He was in Matthew 16:16 Peter says…“You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” We also must believe in Jesus; as Jesus, says in John 8:24 “Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for if you do not believe that I am He, you will die in your sins.”
We need to repent of past sins
Acts 17:30 says… “Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent”. What is repentance? It is a turning in our minds and in our actions from things opposed to God and His word. We set for ourselves a new direction, a direction that leads towards God and not away from Him.
Confess our faith in Jesus Christ
Romans 10:10 “For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” We have the wonderful promise of Jesus in…
Matthew 10:32 “Therefore whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven.” If we are not ashamed to confess Jesus before men, He will confess us before the Father in heaven. What a great promise of our Lord!
We are to be Baptized
Mark 16:16 “He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.” There is a lot of confusion in the religious world about baptism. However, there is no confusion in the word of God concerning baptism. Jesus says we are to be baptized, that is (immersed in water) for our salvation. This is just as the apostle Peter said to those who heard him in Acts 2:38.
We need to continue to walk faithfully and in accordance with the word of the Lord.
1 Corinthians 15:1-2 “Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast that word which I preached to you—unless you believed in vain.” Paul instructs us to hold fast to “that word which I preached to you”. Paul teaches us to continue in the gospel - to continue to walk faithfully in the word of the Lord.
I hope you will consider God’s word when it comes to a question as important as our salvation. His word is truth and in His word is where we find truthful answers to the questions we ask.
Scripture, unless otherwise noted, taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Matter of Fact: More Evidence for Christianity; By Kyle Butt