The idea that there is another way to salvation, other than through Jesus Christ and that we can be saved today and continue business as usual tomorrow, can’t be further from truth. My concern, as it refers to our churches, is that they are watering down the truth of the Gospel trying to accommodate a more secular and less “offensive” approach.
The following twelve points should challenge all of us, as Christians and leaders, to review our own salvation and how we define and present the Gospel to a lost humanity. I should also add that the Holy Spirit play a center role in every step:
1. You must come to the realization that you are a sinner in need of salvation.
Sin entered humanity in the Garden of Eden through Adam and Eve. From that very moment we stand in need of salvation. As long as we continue to see ourselves as good because we don’t drink; we don’t smoke and we have not killed anyone; we obviously have not come to the revelation of the reality of our condition as sinners.
2. You must repent of your sins before God. (Luke 3:1-3)
Repentance is a MUST; without it there is no salvation. John the Baptist preached, as we can clearly see in these verses, “…a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.” To ask Jesus to come into your heart, without repenting of your sins is a Biblical error and an inexistent gospel.
3. You must believe in Jesus. (John 3:16)
The Bible states in this verse, “…whoever believes in Him shall not perish.” We will not perish if we believe in Jesus. There must be a deep revelation that Jesus is what the Bible says He is.
4. You must confess with your mouth and believe in your heart that Jesus is Lord as you place your trust in Him. (Romans 10:9-11)
As you confess with your mouth and as you believe in your heart that Jesus is Lord and that God raising Him from the dead, your trust in God is activated. Verse eleven tells us that “…anyone who trusts in Him will never be put to shame.” Now we realize that this is not a far away God. Now we know that it is personal, and that God is someone we can trust. This process of trusting is on-going, as we grow in our relationship with God and as we develop a history of testimonies of His faithfulness.
5. You are now a new creation. (2 Cor. 5:17)
Your nature has change. It used to be your nature to sin, now it is your nature to please God. Yes, we will struggle with sin, the desires of our flesh, etc. Yet, in our new nature we desire to please daddy. We may stumble into sin, but we no longer live a life style of sin.
6. Your love for God is activated in your heart, soul and mind. (Revelation 2:1-7) (Matt 22:37-38)
Nothing will be more challenged in your Christian walk like your “first love” for God. The Devil will come at you to take that excitement of that first love away. We must give God, not only our hearts, but also our soul and our mind. This is very important, because if we only give Jesus our hearts, we are giving Him our emotions. There is much more to us than our emotions. Our soul is our personality and our mind is our thoughts. Our personality and thoughts should also be given to God. It is then appropriate to ask Jesus to come into our hearts, our souls and our minds as we begin the pursuit of making that first commandment a reality in our lives with the help of the Holy Spirit (Romans 5:5)
7. You start loving your neighbor. (John 13:34-35)
This is the greatest evidence we can show the world that we are followers of Christ. Jesus said in verse thirty five, “By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” A born again believer’s love for others must experience an on-going increase.
8. The Bible now becomes your final authority. (John 1:1)
That same Jesus that you call into your life is the Word. Therefore, the Bible must be the final word in your life; not your opinions. There are no “buts” after what God has established. Your sins; the culture you grew in, your ideas and opinions, etc; are not substitutes to the Bible. The same Bible that applies to Americans applied to Chinese, Latinos, Europeans, etc. We are all subject to the culture of the Bible. If you continue to insist in your ways above God’s ways; perhaps you need to check your salvation!
9. We are now in position to bear fruit. (Matt. 7:16-20 12:33-34)
Jesus stated in Matthew 7:17-19 that, “…every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus by their fruit you will recognize them.” Bearing good fruit for a Christian should be normal. Not bearing fruit is then evidence that a person who claim to be a Christian is not; therefore, their destination is the Lake of Fire. Just as we are able to confirm physical healing; the fruit of a person’s life allow us to confirm if that person is saved or not. This is not religion; this is Bible truth!
10. Our new faith involves action. (James 2:26)
“As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.” We do not get saved by works. However, we can’t call ourselves Christians and do nothing for God. Good deeds must follow our faith; it is just part of who we are.
11. Fellowship with your brothers and sisters. (I John 1:6-7)
“If we claim to have fellowship with Him yet walk in darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.” I am particularly interested every time I see the word “If” (A conjunction used to indicate the circumstances that would have to exist in order for an event to happen) If we are in the light; if we are in Jesus, then it is expected that we will enjoy fellowship with one another.
12. We must be ready to share our testimony of when, how and where our salvation took place. (Revelation 12:11)
Testifying of our salvation is crucial in order to be able to overcome. Paul, in all his insight, always went back to his testimony, “On his way to Damascus…”
Without salvation everything else will fall; we need a solid foundation. Also, as you can clearly see, salvation involves a tangible transformation of the human heart, soul and mind. Let’s go back to preaching the purity and reality of the Gospel without shame and without fear. The Gospel is the only hope of the World!