Category Archives: Salvation

What Must I Do To Be Saved?

We currently live in a society where sinful conduct is actually glorified and rationalized. Satan tempts us through these views in addition to deceitful lusts and he is called “the god of this age who blinds the minds of those who do not believe” (2 Cor 4:4; Heb 3:13; 1 John 2:15-17). Yet Almighty God who is called the “God of truth” gives us a clear view of the effects of sin” (Isa 59:1-2; 65:16; John 14:6). Sin not only separates us from God, it leaves us “without hope and without God in the world” (Eph 2:12).

The good news is that God has made known the wonderful promise of forgiveness and salvation available to every person (John 3:16; Acts 3:19). It is unfortunate, however, that there is so much adverse teaching on how forgiveness comes. Religious feelings and prejudice can cloud human minds to the beautiful truth of God about forgiveness and any other Bible subject for that matter.

For example, you may have seen one or perhaps someone gave you a tract entitled “God’s Simple Plan of Salvation.” One such tract said one should pray the sinner’s prayer and ask Jesus to come into your heart. It is interesting to note that in the Bible, there is not one single person who was commanded to “pray the sinner’s prayer.” What is also interesting is that nearly all the conversions in the New Testament records people who were already religious. Consider these Bible examples: the birth of 3000 [spiritual] babies on Pentecost (Acts 2:37-41), others at Jerusalem (Acts 4:4; 5:14; 6:7), Samaria (Acts 8:5-13), the Eunuch (Acts 8:35-39), Saul of Tarsus (Acts 9:1-30; 22:1-21; 26:12-18), Cornelius (Acts 10:34-48), at Antioch where the disciples were first called Christians (Acts 11:19-26), Lydia and her household (Acts 16:13-15), the Jailor and his family (Acts 16:30-34), the Corinthians (Acts 18:8), and the Ephesians (Acts 19). These examples suggest that one can be religious and yet not saved.

On baptism, the tract mentioned above stated, “You should be baptized in obedience to the Lord Jesus Christ as a public testimony of your salvation, and then united with a Bible believing church without delay.” Nowhere in the Bible do you read that people were baptized or told to be baptized “as a public testimony of one’s salvation.” You do read in the Bible that baptism was for the remission of sins (Acts 2:38), to wash away sins (Acts 22:16), to put one into Christ (Gal 3:27; 1 Cor 12:13), to put one into the kingdom (Col 1:13), to unite the sinner with the death of Jesus Christ (Rom 6:3-4), and for salvation (1 Pet 3:21; Mark 16:15-16). So, is baptism necessary to obtain forgiveness? Of course it is! The fact that it doesn’t fit into the doctrine of other religious bodies doesn’t change the Lord’s will and teaching.

The answer to the question, “What must I do to be saved?” is clearly set forth in Acts 16:30-34. Here is the phrase “to be saved” used in the sense of being rescued – rescued from sin and from Satan. Jesus did not come just to make the world a better place or to simply raise the standard of mankind’s moral concepts. As the Savior, Jesus came to rescue people from sin and the horrible punishment of hell! (Mat 1:21; Luke 19:10; 1 Tim 1:15; 1 John 4:14). Thanks be to God “that Christ died for our sins” (1 Cor 15:3) and that we have “redemption through His blood” (Eph 1:7). – By Joseph Casimier

Saved Like Naaman

Naaman had a serious need that he could not take care of himself (2 Kings 5:10-14). He was a leper. Leprosy was a terrible disease that had dreadful effects. Surely if Naaman could have relieved himself of this problem he would have done it.

He heard some good news! His wife’s Hebrew maid told them of a prophet in Israel that could help. So off he went to seek help from the Israelites of all people, the enemy. After a brief interlude with the King of Israel, a messenger was sent from one of God’s prophets, telling Naaman: “Go and wash in the Jordan seven times, and your flesh shall be restored to you, and you shall be clean” (2 Kings 5:10). God was the only one who could take care of his need.

Sadly, this leper was at first unwilling to put away his pride and just submit to the clear instructions that had been given him. Looking to his own wisdom, he questioned why it had to be done that way (v. 11). He wondered why “water” would have to be part of the plan. If he did have to wash in water, why would it have to be the waters of the Jordan River?

Eventually, Naaman was persuaded to be humble enough to submit to the very simple instructions that had been given through the messenger of God (v. 13). “So he went down and dipped seven times in the Jordan, according to the saying of the man of God; and his flesh was restored like the flesh of a little child, and he was clean” (v. 14).

Naaman was saved by grace through faith. Grace is “unmerited favor.” No one of sound mind would conclude that this leper “merited” his cleansing by performing a good work about which he could boast. His cleansing was not of himself (didn’t come from his own power). It was the gift of God. This, no one can doubt.

The case of the sinner:

We have a serious need that we cannot take care of by ourselves. We are sinners. Sin is likened in Scripture to a terrible disease and it has dreadful effects (Psalms 38; Matthew 9:11-12). Surely, if we could relieve ourselves of this problem we would do it.

We’ve heard the gospel (“good news”)!  A messenger (Ananias) was sent from one of God’s men telling Saul of Tarsus: “Go and wash!” Acts 22:16 says, “And now why are you waiting? Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord.” God is the only one (through the blood of Jesus) who can provide for our need.

Sadly, some are unwilling to put away their pride and just submit to the clear instructions. Looking to their own wisdom, they question why it has to be done that way. They wonder why water would have to be part of the plan.

Others are humble enough to submit to the very simple instructions that have been given through the messengers of God. What was Saul’s response when he was instructed to “arise and be baptized, and wash…”? “He arose and was baptized” (Acts 9:18).

Sinners are saved by grace through faith (Eph. 2:8-9). No one of sound mind would conclude that this sinner (Saul) merited his cleansing by performing a good work about which he could boast. His cleansing was not himself (of his own power). It was the gift of God. This, no one should doubt.

By Mike Pittman

Early Training in Salvation

Salvation is a central truth in Scripture (Matt 1:21; Heb 5:9), but can our children explain it (cf. Rom 3:25; Matt 20:28; Eph 5:23)? Salvation is at the center off all we do as Christians; it is the theme of the Bible. Talk to your children early and often about salvation (Deut 6:7).

I. BAD NEWS: SIN

A. Disobedience (Gen 3:1-6)
B. Lawlessness (1 John 3:4)
1. Breaking God’s rules
2. Making up your own rules
C. Iniquity (Isa 59:1-2)

II. SAD NEWS: RESULTS OF SIN

A. Spiritual death (Rom 6:23)
B. Satan’s hell (Luke 12:5)
C. God’s rejection (Gen 3:24)

III. GOOD NEWS: GOD’S GIFT FOR SINNERS

A. Eternal life (Rom 6:23)
B. God’s presence (Luke 15:20-24; Rev 19:7-9; John 14:1-3)
C. Free gift (Rom 6:23; Eph 2:8; 1 Pet 2:24-27)
D. Obediently accepted (Mark 16:16; 1 Pet 3:21)

IV. APPLICATION: SALVATION MOTIVATION

A. Not human perfection (1 John 1:8; 1 John 1:9; Eph 2:4-6)
B. Fear of Hell (Matt 25:45-46; Matt 25:30)
C. Love of God (John 3:16; Rom 5:8-9)
1. Pearl of great price (Matt 13:45-46)
2. Granted to few (Matt 22:14)

Salvation is God’s will for everyone, but first He will honor the sacrifice of His Son that purchased our right to receive salvation (2 Pet 3:9; 1 Tim 2:4). If we will honor the Son, the Father will honor us!

Answering the Charge of Intolerance

Acts 4:12; John 3:16

Today, the charge of intolerance is leveled at anyone who does not respect with quiet acceptance the perversion of our culture.  Peter paid no heed as to how his culture might respond to the truth about Jesus.  What should we think when accusations of intolerance are made?

I.    GOD OFFERS SALVATION from sin TO EVERY SOUL

A.    He has a tolerant side (John 3:16; 1 Tim 2:3-5; Luke 15:1-2; Matt 7:12; 2 Pet 3:9)
B.    His purpose is not advanced by violent force (Matt 26:55, 52)

II.    MANY ARE CHRISTIANS IN NAME ONLY

A.    Anyone can call himself a Christian (3 John 9-10)
B.    Christ knows those who belong to Him (2 Tim 2:19)

III.    MANY MISREPRESENT CHRIST’S PURPOSE

A.    He did not come to make the world a happy place.
B.    He came to save spiritual lives (John 3:16; Luke 19:10)
C.    His gospel deals with real problems (Rom 3:23; 6:23)

IV.    JESUS CHRIST STANDS ALONE IN HIS UNIQUENESS

A.    He brought eternal life (John 3:16; 1 John 4:9)
B.    He is full of grace and truth (John 1:14)
C.    He explained the Father (John 1:18)
D.    He is the only begotten of God: unique in every way
E.    He spoke the truth of God; exposed and rebuked sin
F.    He was killed, in innocence, to fulfill God’s purpose (Eph 3:4-6, 11)
G.   He has redemptive power by His blood (1 Peter 1:18-19)
H.   He was raised to be a sympathetic High Priest (Heb 4:15; Rom 1:4)
I.    His gospel explains His uniqueness to save from sin (Rom 1:16)

The uniqueness of Christianity (the true religion of Christ) is not based on the perfection of its adherents, but on the uniqueness of the Lord Jesus Christ

Is Salvation By Faith Alone?

When it comes to salvation from sin, no one is saved by any ONE thing alone.  We are saved by God, Christ, Gospel, Grace, Mercy, Christ’s Blood, Confession, Baptism, Obedience, Works, Hope, Effort, & Enduring Faith.  The New Testament will verify these facts.

I.    ORIGIN: saved by faith alone

A.    Augustine, a bishop in Africa (4th and 5th century).
B.    Martin Luther, a catholic monk in Germany (16th century).
1.    He added the word “alone” (Rom 3:28; cf. Prov 30:5-6).
2.    He said Paul & James were in conflict (Rom 3:38; James 2:20-21, 24-26).
a.    Paul refuted … meriting/earning salvation.
b.    James refuted … salvation without obedience.

II.    INCONSISTENCY: saved by faith alone

A.    Repentance is necessary for salvation (forgiveness, justification, eternal life).
1.    Luke 13:1-5; Acts 17:30-31; Matt 21:28-31
a.    All are sinners.
b.    All must repent.
c.    Regretting sins can result in repentance & doing the Father’s will.
B.    Loving God is necessary for salvation.
1.    1 Cor 16:22; John 14:15; Luke 10:27

III.    FALLACY: saved by faith alone

A.    Everyone in Hebrew 11 did something “by faith”.
1.    They trusted God’s promises (Rom 10:17; Gen 12:2-3; 13:14-17).
2.    The complied with God’s will (Heb 11:20-26).
B.    Justification & Salvation are “by faith” (John 3:16; 3:36; Acts 16:31; Rom 5:1-2; 3:26-28; Eph 2:8).
1.    “Saved by faith” does NOT mean saved “at the point of faith”.
2.    We are saved when we carry out His will by faith (Jas 2:14-26).

Do we live by faith, or are we practical atheists when it comes to God’s commands (Heb 11:24-25; 1 Pet 1:22; Mark 16:16; Col 2:12; 1 Pet 3:21; Rom 6:3-4)?

One who claims to believe in Christ & yet will not obey Him does not have a faith that pleases God (cf. John 12:43).  The Scripture nowhere speaks of “faith only” salvation; salvation is not by “faith alone” (James 2:24). — Boyd Jennings