SALVATION BY FAITH
life in Jesus Christ begins with faith and continues for eternity. In this
initial step, we will explore the following key concepts that will provide the
ground for sinking your spiritual roots into God.
You, No Matter
Died for Your Sins
Must Receive the Gift
of Life by Faith
Because God loves the world,
He sent Jesus Christ, His Son, to die for your sins. We can always
count upon the love of God and His great compassion for us. The Bible
reveals the truth of God to us and we can completely rely upon everything it
"For God so
loved the world, that
He gave His only
that whoever believes in Him
not perish, but
have eternal life."
Notice in this passage that God loves people
and saves them from perishing. Listen to the clear message. God gave
His Son, Jesus Christ, so that I would not perish. I must believe that God
gave His Son for me, or I will perish. If I believe, then I will have
eternal life. Let us go through these concepts one by one.
"for all have
sinned and fall
the glory of God."
According to the Bible,
everyone has sinned. Let this concept sink in for a minute. Not only
you, but all of your family, friends, and everyone you know have sinned.
All of the people you care most about, including yourself, suffer from sin. Sin means that you fall short of the glory of God. You have done things
that shame you, or things that you know do not please God. Consider
the ten commandments. Have you ever told a lie?
Have you ever coveted anything? Have you ever dishonored your mother or
father by the things you did or said? If you answer yes to anyone of those
questions, then you are a sinner. Now let us see what the Bible says about
the impact of sin.
"For the wages of
sin is death,
but the free gift of God
is eternal life
Jesus our Lord."
Sin has a tremendous consequence: death.
Sin spiritually separates you from God's blessings forever, and condemns you to
eternal suffering. When you die in your sins, you receive the punishment
your sins deserve. People often make fun of hell, but God describes a lake
of fire that burns forever as the place where unbelievers will be condemned
Thankfully, God has a plan
to take care of your sin. In order for God to remain just, He must do justice regarding your sin. Justice requires the death penalty for all sinners, just like the verse above said: "the wages of sin is death . . . ." Because we are sinners, our death would only be justice. We sin so we should die. But now God's love enters the picture. Because He loves me, God decided He would pay the penalty of death for me. You see, Jesus did not die for His own sins, because He never sinned, not even once. Jesus died for my sins, and God laid the penalty of my sins upon Him. In other words, Jesus took my place on that cross where He died. God accepted the death of Jesus as if I had died. Jesus died so that I might go free from the penalty of death. Jesus told His disciples to spread that good news all over the world so that everyone would hear that Jesus died in the place of sinners. He paid the price for all of our sins.
I have a friend named "Ace." He likes to wear black leather, and sometimes wears even a black leather hat. He is not very big, and often wears his gray beard for a few days at a time. He lives outside most of the time. One day I told him about Jesus dying for him. He thought about it for a few minutes, and then said: "Well, I have never done anything so bad that someone would have to die for anything I have done." You see, Ace did not understand that the verse above means that just one sin requires the penalty of death. And all of us have done more than just one sin. We are sinners by nature and practice.
own love for us, in that while
we were yet sinners, Christ
died for us. Much more then,
by His blood, we shall be
saved from the wrath
God demonstrated His love even though we
are sinners. Many people think they have to make themselves good before
God will accept them. But this verse teaches us the truth that God loves
us while we were still sinners. Christ died for us. His blood has justified
us. Justification means that God takes away our sin by faith and calls us
perfect before Him. We no longer rely upon self-improvement, but rather we
trust that Christ paid the debt for our sins. God accepts the death payment of
Christ as if I had made that payment myself. Our faith brings God's
justification through the blood of Jesus. Up until now, you have only
heard about the plan of salvation.
I often use the illustration of the
keys in my pocket. Perhaps you have some keys handy and can look at them. I then tell them that I want to make a gift to them of my car ( I let them know it is just an illustration--o.k.).
I hold up the keys, and ask them when they would get the gift. They know that until they reach out and take the keys, they will not be driving that car anywhere. I liken the keys to receiving the gift of salvation from God. You may already know all the facts mentioned above. Until you reach out by faith and take the keys, you are
just looking at the keys. You have never received the gift of eternal
life, just like others have never reached out and taken the keys.
One day I explained the Gospel to my friend "Mike." He gladly reached our for the keys and prayed to receive Christ. A few days later, I asked "Ace" a question about why Jesus should let Ace into his heaven. Mike was sitting next to me and interrupted: "Don't ask him that question. I know the answer. I believe Jesus died for my sins." Mike was so happy about his new faith that he could not wait to let others know. But in this case, each of us must make a decision about those keys. Will you reach out in faith and accept the gift from Jesus? Will you believe that He died for you, and will forgive you because He died for you? Right now, you are either holding the gift by faith or still staring at the keys. You must make that decision right now. Merely postponing it will be a decision to reject. Right now, accept the forgiveness Jesus offers you and receive Him as Lord of your life because He died for you, and loves you completely, just as you are right now. Grab the keys by faith right now. Here is how you too can receive the keys to eternal life.
". . . if you
confess with your
mouth Jesus as Lord, and
believe in your heart that
God raised him from the
dead, you will be saved; for
with the heart a person
believes, resulting in
righteousness, and with
themouth he confesses,
resulting in salvation."
God offers you the gift
of eternal life, but you must receive that gift by faith. We accept the
gift by reaching out, just like taking the keys out of my hand. Reach out
to God by faith and believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died for you, and
rose from the dead, to live forever as your Lord. With your heart you
believe, and with your mouth, you confess Christ as your Lord, resulting in
righteousness. If you believe in your heart, then you can pray the
The Prayer of Peace with God
Lord Jesus, I believe you
for me. I accept your gift of
forgiveness. Please come
into my life and be my Lord
forever. Thank you for
loving me. Amen.