Fixing our eyes upon Jesus ... Hebrews 12:2
The Gospel Invitation
HOW TO BECOME A CHRISTIAN or HOW TO BE SAVED
1. Each individual is a sinner and therefore stands separated from, and condemned by God (Rom 3:23; 5:12; John 3:18).
2. Christ died in the place of each individual sinner to pay for their sins (1 Tim 2:6; Mark 10:45; 2 Cor 5:21).
3. Each individual must personally believe (trust) in Christ's payment for their sins in order to be saved (Acts 16:31; John 5:24). Salvation is by grace alone through faith alone and not by any human works (Eph 2:5, 8, 9).
CLARIFICATION OF THE TERMS OF THE GOSPEL
Above is a typical gospel presentation that is often misunderstood in our postmodern culture. The following is an explanation for what some of these words mean as defined in the Bible. Just what is sin? How did all men become sinners? What does it mean to be separated from and condemned by God? Who is Jesus Christ? Why did He die in my place? What does it mean to believe? What does it mean to be saved? And what am I being saved from?
WHAT IS SIN?
Sin is anything that is not compatible with the character of God. God’s character has many aspects, all of which are infinite. Let’s review some basic attributes of God. God is sovereign; He controls, but is not held responsible, for all that comes to pass. God is righteous; His moral character is the absolute standard for what is right and wrong everywhere in the universe all the time. God is just; His attitude toward evil is uncompromising regardless of who might be involved. God is love; He unconditionally gives Himself to those whom He loves. God is omniscient; He has total knowledge of all things actual and possible—even the what if’s of history. God is omnipotent; He can do anything compatible with His character. God is omnipresent; He is completely present at every point in space. God is immutable; His character never changes, His character is perfectly stable. God is eternal; He has always existed, He does not have a beginning or end. Anything that is not compatible with God’s character is sin. Are you a sinner?
Rom. 3:23; 5:12; Prov. 16:9, 33; Rev. 16:5-7; Rom. 2:11; 1 John 4:16; Matt. 11:21-23; Ps. 33:6-9; Ps. 139:7-12; Mal. 3:6; Rev. 1:8
HOW DID ALL MEN BECOME
All men became sinners by two mechanisms. First, all men are born sinners because Adam, the first man, represented the entire human race. When our representative sinned, all those whom he represents somehow also sinned. This, of course, is not talking about personal sin, but that when Adam sinned the human race sinned “in him”. Second, all men are born sinners not only because Adam was our representative but also because we somehow participated in the sin of Adam, albeit unconsciously. This is because all men are natural descendants of Adam, all men were seminally in Adam so that the sin nature of Adam is passed on from parent to child from generation to generation. The fact that we sinned in Adam and that the sin nature of Adam was passed on to us from our parents results in our separation from and condemnation by God. Are you a part of all men?
Gen. 3:1-7; Rom. 5:12
WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE
SEPARATED FROM AND CONDEMNED BY GOD?
To be separated from God means to not be able to have relationship or fellowship with God. God cannot have a relationship or fellowship with sin because sin is anything that is not compatible with His character. Since all men are born sinners then no one has a relationship or fellowship with God. As long as we remain out of a relationship with God we are condemned by God. Since God cannot have fellowship with sin then He must prepare a place for those who stand condemned. This place is eternally separated from God and the Bible calls this place Hell.
1 John 1:5; Mark 16:16; 1 Cor. 11:32; Matt. 25:31-46; John 3:18
WHO IS JESUS CHRIST?
The Bible teaches that Jesus Christ died in the place of each individual sinner to pay for their sins. But who is Jesus Christ? Jesus Christ is not a persons first and last name. Jesus is a man’s first name. The Jesus we are speaking about is the name Mary gave to her son. Jesus means “God saves” Christ is the title of the Jewish Messiah, which means “Anointed One”. So, his name and title mean “the Anointed One of God saves”. Jesus Christ is therefore a person, both God and man who was sent to save (a word we will explain below). He is God come in human flesh. He was 100% God and 100% man, untainted by sin because of the virgin birth. I know this is hard to imagine because we have nothing in our world that corresponds to this by which we can draw an analogy. He had to be God so that the payment He made would be of infinite value to pay for the sin of every individual. He had to be man so that He would be able to sympathize with human weaknesses and be tempted to sin. Yet He was without sin.
Mark 10:45; Matt. 1:21; Titus 2:13; Heb. 4:15; Isa. 7:14; Matt. 1:20-25; 2 Cor. 5:17-21; 2 Peter 2:1; 1 John 2:2
WHY DID JESUS CHRIST DIE
IN MY PLACE?
Jesus Christ died in your place because He loved you. He wants to have fellowship with you but since you are a sinner and condemned because you are a sinner He cannot have fellowship with you unless your sins are forgiven. Remember God’s character? He has to deal with sin justly, He cannot overlook evil, evil must be judged. God’s character is immutable, it never changes, so that He cannot compromise His character and forgive sin arbitrarily. Sin must actually and objectively be dealt with in reality if we are to have fellowship with God. God loves us so much that He sent His one and only Son to die in every individual’s place and to make full payment for all sins past, present and future. He did this so that we could have fellowship with Him. That is how much God loves us, that He would give Himself for us.
John 3:16; Rom. 3:21-26
WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO
According to the Bible, believing or having faith (the same Greek word) means to be fully convinced and assured in one’s mind that something is objectively true. It does not mean that something is unreasonable or that there is no evidence for a thing. It is not a weak knowledge of something. It is sure knowledge that you have been convinced of in your own mind that Jesus Christ died in your place to make full payment for all your sins.
WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE
When we say the word “saved” we are talking about being restored to relationship with God. We are born in sin out with no personal relationship with God. To be saved means to be restored to that relationship with God. The moment we believe the good news we are brought into relationship with God. Jesus Christ imparts eternal life to the one who believes at that very moment. This relationship is secure forever no matter what sin we may commit after we believe because Christ died for all sins past, present, and future.
John 5:24; 1 John 5:13; Rom. 8:31-39
WHAT AM I BEING SAVED
Some ask, what am I being saved from? We are being saved from eternal separation from God. Man is not purely material. He is composed of both material (body) and immaterial parts (spirit and soul). The material part of man is mortal but the immaterial part of man is immortal. From the moment an individual is born the immaterial part of man lives forever. Every individual, whether saved or not will be given a newly transformed body along with his spirit and soul which will live forever either with God or in eternal separation from God.
Gen. 2:7; Matt. 25:31-46
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