The RADIUS Initiative Applied, Part 3: What Do We Do with the Gospel?
(This is part 3 of a series of posts that draw applications from my novella, The RADIUS Initiative. It’s a Jack Bauer-style, action-packed book! You can purchase the book here for only $7.99.)
How is a Person Saved?
So Christ died for our sins and rose from the dead. That is a statement of fact. But what must one do with this truth in order to be saved from sin and obtain everlasting life? Paul uses the word “believe” in verse 2. Let’s look at a book of the Bible that was written for the purpose of telling the whole world how to be saved from sin and obtain everlasting life. That is the Gospel of John. Check this out:
“Jesus did many other miraculous signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. But these are written that you many believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.”
John 20:30-31 makes the purpose of his book clear: that the world would believe in Jesus for everlasting life. John proves in his gospel that Jesus is the Son of God by recalling the miracles Jesus performed. He emphasized the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus. And he states what one must do with this gospel in order to be saved: believe. In fact, John uses that one word—believe—98 times throughout his book to portray what one must do to be saved.
It is the same word translated from the original language of the New Testament (Greek) as is the word faith. Believe and faith are synonymous in the New Testament. In order for a person to be saved from sin and have everlasting life, he must believe in Jesus. Jesus paid for the entire penalty of sin for each person by dying on the cross and rising from the dead. Each person must believe in Jesus, alone, to be saved from his sin.
It’s Not Jesus and…
The gospel is a statement of fact: Christ died for our sins and rose from the dead. Each person must believe in Jesus Christ, alone, to be saved from sin. The word alone is important. We are not told by John’s Gospel to believe in Jesus and our good works, or Jesus and our baptism, or Jesus and our commitments in order to be saved. We are told to believe in Jesus. That’s it.
I love to persuade people that they can believe in Jesus alone for their salvation from sin. I was sitting across from Damon at my favorite Chinese restaurant (I love Chinese food!). When asked what he was believing in to get to heaven, Damon replied that he believed in God and was trying to be a good person.
I asked him if he believed Jesus died on the cross and rose from the dead, and he said he did. Then I asked, “If we were to believe in our good works alone, what would that say about the death of Christ?” He thought for a minute and replied, “It seems we would be saying that His death was useless.” I agreed.
Then I asked, “If we were to believe in Christ plus our good works (like trying to be a good person), what would that say about His death?” Again, Damon sat and thought for a moment. Suddenly, it was as if that light bulb flashed above his head. He replied, “If I were to believe in Christ plus my good works, then I am saying that His death on the cross was not good enough to save me!”
I agreed. So I finished with this question, “What if we were told to believe in Christ, alone?” Damon sat back in his chair, and his face grew a bit somber. He said, “Chad, I get it, now. All this time, I have been believing in Christ plus my good works to get me to heaven. I have been telling God that His Son’s death was not good enough to save me—that I needed to help out.” Damon became a Christian that day.
Either Christ paid it all, or He didn’t pay at all. But before He hung His head and breathed His last, He said, “It is finished.” Another way to translate that sentence is PAID IN FULL. In order for one to be saved from sin, he must believe in Christ, alone.
Tomorrow’s Post: How Do I Best Share the Gospel?
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