Salvation is the Gospel of Jesus Christ

Without a doubt the most important message of all times is the Gospel of Jesus Christ. There is no other name on Earth, beneath the Earth or in the Heavens above by which a person can be saved except through the name of Jesus.

What Happened That We Needed a Savior?

Man was originally created by God as a perfect being

God gave man all good things at creation including a free will to make his own decisions. In one instance of Satanic temptation, man chose to disbelieve what God had commanded him thus disobeying God and falling from his sinless state of perfection. The Bible says, Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned: (Romans 5:12).

Every man, woman and child has sinned. There is none righteous, no, not one. Romans 3:10. That day Satan was cursed by God for deceiving Adam and Eve: And the Lord God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life:

And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel (Genesis 3:14, 15). Verse 15 is the first verse to contain a prophecy of the coming Redeemer. The only way sin could be atoned for was through a perfect, sinless sacrifice. The events, sacrificial offerings and prophesies of the Old Testament looked forward to the day when Messiah would come and redeem the world from sin. Jesus Christ is that perfect, sinless Messiah; the Son of God born of a human virgin, the sinless God/Man.

There is only one way of salvation and it is through Jesus Christ.

Becoming a Christian is an act of faith. Jesus Christ willingly died for your sins and calls upon you to trust him as your personal Savior.

Knowing Jesus Christ as your personal Savior is the most exciting experience of life. Yet millions of people live today as if there were no God at all. They live as though the death and resurrection of Christ made no difference for them. He does not matter to them because they have never come to know Him as their personal Savior.

One does not become a Christian by merely attending church or religious services. Sitting in church will not make you a Christian any more than sitting in your garage will make you an automobile.

To become a true Christian believer, you must come to know Jesus Christ.

This involves a personal encounter with Christ. Such an encounter may happen anywhere: at a church altar, in your car, or at home. The place is incidental. The personal experience with Christ is what really matters. Jesus said, I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly (John 10:10). I want to introduce you to this abundant life.

We need forgiveness.

The Bible clearly teaches that we are all sinners by nature and by choice. Sin is the transgression of God’s law. To sin is to voluntarily disobey God’s law. The Scripture says, For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23).

Sin is a problem with which we all must deal because its consequences are so devastating. The Scripture says, For the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23). Spiritual death involves total separation from God for all eternity. It is the greatest of all the consequences of sin.

We are all guilty of sin.

The Bible does not teach that men are inherently good; rather, the Bible teaches that man is inherently sinful. David said in Psalm 51:5: Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.

The Bible teaches that we are sinners both by birth and by choice. Please consider the following verses:

  • Romans 3:10 “As it is written, there is none righteous, no, not one.”
  • Romans 3:23 “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.”
  • I John 1:9 “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.”
  • Isaiah 64:6 “But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousness are as filthy rags . . .”
  • Ecclesiastes 7:20 “For there is not a just an upon earth, that doeth good, and sinneth not.”
  • Romans 5:12 “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.”
  • Galatians 3:22 “… the scripture hath concluded all under sin…”

The degree or intensity of our sins may vary, but we are all guilty of sinning. The Bible reminds us, If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us (1 John 1:8). The prophet Isaiah illustrated it this way: All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way (Isaiah 53:6).

Doing the best we can or trying to “balance the books” is not sufficient to remove even one of our sins. That is why the payment for sin always involved a blood sacrifice. In the Old Testament, animals were sacrificed for sin. In the New Testament, Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God, became the ultimate sacrifice for the sins of mankind.

Sin is an offense against a holy God

It separates us from God and keeps us from experiencing all that God has for us in life. Since we cannot save ourselves, nor remove the fact of our sin, we need to be forgiven.

We need a Savior

A savior rescues someone else from dire consequences. Jesus Christ is called the Savior because He died to rescue us from the consequences of our sin. The Bible says, Christ died for our sins… was buried, and… rose again the third day according to the Scriptures (1 Corinthians 15:3-4). The apostle Peter put it this way: For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened [raised] by the Spirit (I Peter 3:18).

Jesus died in our place and took the punishment for our sins. Trusting Him as your personal Savior means that you accept his death on the cross as the sufficient payment for your sins. The Bible declares, The blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin (I John 1:7).

Christ’s payment for our sins is so complete and sufficient that we can add nothing to it. We cannot save ourselves, and we need not try, because He has already paid for our sins. That is why the apostle Paul said, For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast (Ephesians 2:8-9).

Salvation is a free gift of God made possible by His grace to undeserving sinners. It is not a reward for our good deeds. Nor is it something we must spend a lifetime trying to earn. It is a gift that we must receive by simple faith.

We need to receive salvation by faith.

Knowing that Christ died in our place and that God is willing to pardon our sins will not save us until we receive that pardon by faith. If a prisoner was condemned to die and was given a pardon, he would have to receive it in order to be set free. Saving faith is simply receiving God’s pardon for sin. That pardon was secured by Christ’s death on the cross.

Faith is the placing of one’s trust in someone or something. It is believing a chair will hold you up when you sit on it. It is believing the word or promise of someone when he gives it to you. Saving faith is believing in the promise of God. It is accepting the offer of salvation as a free gift from God to you personally.

The Bible is the instrument of our faith.

It is the inspired Word of God, which declares the message of God to mankind. The apostle Paul said, Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God (Romans 10:17). The apostle Peter describes this process as being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God (1 Peter 1:23).

The Holy Spirit is the agent of our faith.

He is the one who convicts us of our sin and causes us to see our need of a Savior (John 16:8). He is also the one who guides us into all truth (John 16:13). The Holy Spirit initiates conviction in our hearts and draws us to the Saviour.

Jesus Christ is the object of our faith.

Having faith alone cannot save anyone. It is the object of one’s faith that really matters. In relation to our salvation, our faith rests in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. He alone is the object of our faith. To trust Him as your Savior means to believe by faith that He died for your sins and that the price has been paid.

We need a spiritual rebirth.

The New Birth is not an improvement on our old nature. It is the imparting of an entirely new nature. By the creative act of the Holy Spirit at salvation, the believer becomes a new creature in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17). When we trust Christ as our personal Savior, the Holy Spirit enters our lives and causes us to be born again with spiritual life.

Jesus said, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God (John 3:3). The New Birth is not just a nice idea, it is an absolute necessity. The unanimous testimony of the Bible is that one is born again when he receives Jesus Christ as his personal Savior.

Spiritual rebirth occurs when God is born in us and unites His Spirit with our spirit. The marvelous truth of Scripture is that God lives within your soul. When you receive Jesus Christ, He comes to live within you forever (John 14:20).

In the last night of His earthly ministry, Jesus prayed for all who would come to believe in Him: That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us (John 17:21). Our union with Christ is to be exemplified by our unity with other believers. The New Birth makes us children of God and adds us to the family of God. By the New Birth we actually receive the divine nature of God Himself.

Where Does the Bible Mention Being “Born Again””

Nicodemus Visits Jesus At Night (John 3:1-21)

This incident occurs early in the public ministry of Christ during AD 27. Nicodemus is introduced, he makes a statement, he asks three questions and receives three answers:

Statement: “We know thou art a teacher from God.”

  1. “How can a can be born when he is old?”
  2. “Can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb and be born?”
  3. “How can these things be?”
Nicodemus: The Pharisee

Greek name meaning “victor over the people.” Yet, he was also a Pharisee (“separatist”). While they were right on many points of doctrine, they were guilty of a tragic error: externalized religion. Their constant emphasis on obedience to the Law tended to produce an outward conformity without an inward change of heart. By coming to Jesus, Nicodemus was offering his “approval” of the young rabbi as a seasoned member of the Sanhedrin. Other references (1:10; 7:50; 19:38) indicate he was also a scribe and had become a secret follower of Jesus. Here was the elder statesman of the salvation by works party facing Jesus Christ the Author of new birth.

New Birth: Regeneration

The term “born again” (anothen) may also be translated: “born from above,” indicating the supernatural origin of regeneration. Heavenly birth is a new birth. It is the infusion of spiritual life into a man who is naturally “dead” in trespasses and sins. It is the initial stage of conversion. It is synonymous with having everlasting life.” The new birth is contrasted to physical birth (“of water”) as being “of the Spirit.” The limitation of sinful human nature is that it only produces sinful human nature. Only God can produce eternal life.

Illustration: The Wind

Jesus used the sovereign blowing of the wind to illustrate the sovereign and spiritual nature of the new birth. Just as we cannot see the wind (only its results), so we may not observe the new birth itself, but we can certainly see its results. Nicodemus’ questions indicate his total lack of understanding the saving power of God. At this point their dialogue turned to discourse as Jesus explained the plan of salvation.

Analogy: The Serpent in the Wilderness

Next Jesus pointed to the analogy of Moses’ lifting up the serpent in the wilderness to illustrate His being “lifted” (eventually) on he cross. Thus, Christ uses Numbers 21 as a type of Himself. Only here the antitype far exceeds the type. Whereas the look of faith to the serpent on the pole could deliver from physical death; the look of faith to Christ on the cross will deliver from eternal death.

Two “Musts”:

1. “You must be born again” (v. 7). This is not merely an invitation. It is a command! It makes regeneration an absolute necessity for eternal life.

2. “Even so, must the Son of man be lifted up” (v. 14). This is not a remedy; it is the only possible remedy for sin. It is the divine necessity to activate the plan of redemption. In John’s Gospel “lifted up” (huphoo) always refers to the Cross (cf. 8:28; 12:32, 34).

We need to call upon God to save us.

The invitation of the gospel is clear. The Bible says, Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved (Romans 10:13). I want to personally invite you to call upon God, by faith, to save you. Ask Him to save you and believe that He will do it. Do not hesitate. The Scripture urges us, Seek ye the Lord while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near (Isaiah 55:6).

Freedom means we are responsible for where we spend eternity.

Total Depravity?

The Bible teaches that man is totally depraved. That means that every part of his life is infected with sin, which, like cancer, has influenced the five senses, the bodily functions, the walk, speech, and thought processes of man. Depravity means every aspect of man is influenced by sin and as a result all are condemned. Total depravity means there is nothing a person can do to save himself or gain merit before God.

But total depravity does not mean that every person is outwardly as sinful as he could be. Some live “moral” lives, while others live evil lives, but such persons, who have rejected salvation, gain no merit before God.

Total depravity does not mean that a person cannot respond to the gospel. “Total depravity” does not mean total inability. The doctrine of freedom teaches that every person in whom the Holy Spirit brings enlightenment has the freedom to receive Jesus Christ and be saved. God offers salvation to all because of what Christ did. God will judge all who do not respond to the Holy Spirit’s urging to receive Jesus Christ by faith.

Freedom means we are responsible for our daily lives

Wrong ideas about human responsibilities keep many believers from growing in Jesus Christ. Some blame their lack of joy or spirituality on someone else, while others just sit in a spiritual rocking chair, waiting for God to do all the work in their lives. The Bible teaches that freedom coincides with responsibility. A Christian is responsible to read the Scripture and claim the blessings of God. The Christian is responsible to witness, to be a responsible person (whether single or married), and to provide for his earthly needs. Man has the freedom to accept his responsibility to grow in Christ. But freedom to others is followed by failure because they reject their spiritual resources of God. And those who make unwise choices for their lives will be judged when they stand before Christ.

Freedom unlocks vast possibilities

Man is the greatest potential on earth. He has been given the freedom to subdue the whole earthly creation within the bounds God sets, as we see exercised at the tower of Babel (Gen. 10). We have seen man walk on the moon and split the atom. Man, the magnificent creation of God, is reflective of God the Creator. Man’s freedom is his greatest attribute, but when he makes himself equal with God, or even tries to supplant God as man did at Babel, then his freedom leads to the bondage of ignorance and sin.

Freedom should be reflected in government

History has witnessed every type of slavery possible. People have been mental, physical, emotional, and religious slaves. But every time one person enslaves another, the basic drive for freedom is rekindled in the heart of the slave, because a person must have liberty, an attribute he gets from God.

“How can I be saved?”

The Bible tells us that God has a special plan of redemption whereby you can know you are saved and on your way to Heaven with your sins forgiven.

The Bible tells us salvation is a free gift and it cannot be earned (Ephesians 2:8, 9; II Timothy 1:9; Romans 4:16). The entire book of Galatians was written to warn us that you cannot mix faith and works as the grounds for justification. Galatians 2:16 tells us: Man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ . . . The last portion of this verse also tells us: . . . for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified. Galatians 2:21 tells us: I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain. Forgiveness of sins and justification come from Jesus to all who believe (Acts 13:37-39).

Under the law, God demanded righteousness from man; under grace, God gives righteousness to man (Romans 3:21, 22; Romans 8:4; Philippians 3:9). The law is connected with Moses and works, while grace is connected with Jesus and faith (John 1:17; Romans 10:4-10). Legal obedience is no longer the condition of salvation, but now the condition for salvation is acceptance or rejection of Christ, with good works as a fruit of salvation (John 1:12 and 3:36).

The Bible says, But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name (John 1:12).

If you have never really accepted Jesus as your personal Savior, would you do it right now? Do not delay or put it off. If you would like to receive Christ by faith, pray this simple prayer in your heart:

Dear Lord, I acknowledge that I am a sinner. I believe Jesus died for my sins on the cross, and rose again the third day. I repent of my sins. By faith I receive the Lord Jesus as my Savior. You promised to save me, and I believe You, because You are God and cannot lie. I believe right now that the Lord Jesus is my personal Savior, and that all my sins are forgiven through His precious blood. I thank You, dear Lord, for saving me. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

If you prayed that prayer, God heard you and saved you.

That prayer did not save you, but faith in Christ alone.

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Dr. Elmer Towns is a college and seminary professor, an author of popular and scholarly works (the editor of two encyclopedias), a popular seminar lecturer, and dedicated worker in Sunday school, and has developed over 20 resource packets for leadership education.His personal education includes a B.S. from Northwestern College in Minneapolis, Minnesota, a M.A. from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas, a Th.M. from Dallas Theological Seminary also in Dallas, a MRE from Garrett Theological Seminary in Evanston, Illinois, and a D.Min. from Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California.He is co-founder of Liberty University, with Jerry Falwell, in 1971, and was the only full-time teacher in the first year of Liberty’s existence. Today, the University has over 11,400 students on campus with 39,000 in the Distance Learning Program (now Liberty University Online), and he is the Dean of the School of Religion.Dr. Towns has given theological lectures and taught intensive seminars at over 50 theological seminaries in America and abroad. He holds visiting professorship rank in five seminaries. He has written over 2,000 reference and/or popular articles and received six honorary doctoral degrees. Four doctoral dissertations have analyzed his contribution to religious education and evangelism.

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