WHAT MUST I DO TO BE SAVED?
The million dollar question, right? Well, it's really not so difficult to understand nor to do!
I can best explain it with a simple story from my own childhood: My sister and I were younger, preteen to teenage years, and on this particular summer day we were at home enjoying our summer vacation. We were told NOT to drink all the Coca-Cola. One simple instruction. Well, we drank ALL the Coca-Cola! More accurately, I drank all the Coca-Cola! When my parents arrived home we were, of course, questioned about this. My parents were not opposed to using the belt on us, so how we answered this question was very important to the both of us! Long story short, before I could answer and confess that I had done it, that I was the guilty one, that I had drank all the Coke, my sister steps in and says, "I did it. I drank all the Coke". Needless to say, with that confession, she took the subsequent punishment (I wasn't brave enough or fool enough to confess!).
In this little story from my history, we find the gospel message! A God who loved us too much to leave us without a way of escape, even when we were the framers and forgers of our own hellish destinies! You see, God laid out some commands to humanity, a list of do's and don'ts if you will. This list of commands can be found in a book called the Holy Bible. If you take a little bit of time to open up the Book, you will, no doubt, see some of these commands and will soon begin to recognize as I did and still do, that I have not kept all of these commands. Whenever we break a command of God as found in the Bible it is what the Bible calls "sin". Well, the Bible says that ALL have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (ROMANS 3:23). That means me and that means you. That means the pimp right up to the preacher...ALL have sinned!
Having established that you and I have sinned, the Bible says that because we have broken the clear commands of God, now appropriate justice must be dispensed and God's definition of appropriate punishment is...DEATH! The Bible says the wages of sin is death (ROMANS 6:23)! The Bible says that the soul that sins shall DIE (EZEKIEL 18:4)! So, basically, apart from Jesus Christ, we ALL are awaiting execution on death row! The Bible says that it has been appointed unto men once to die and then the judgement (HEBREWS 9:27). The Bible says that whosoever was not written in the Book of Life (the Book of Life contains the names of those who have received Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord) was cast into the Lake of Fire (REVELATION 20:15)!
Now, if this were the end of the story and that was all there was to it we would be a most miserable bunch indeed! But in steps my sister...I mean my Savior...and your Savior if you will allow Him to be! You see, Jesus did for you and I on a much larger scale than what my sisiter did for me when we were kids and I broke the clear command of my parents and was facing judement. Jesus stepped in and took the blame for something He didn't do knowing full well what the punishment was! The punishment wasn't three swats with the belt. The punishment wasn't being grounded for a week. The punishment was DEATH! That's what Jesus did for us on a Roman cross two thousand years ago! He stepped in and took the penalty of death for us so that we wouldn't have to experience it (death being far more than a physical, natural death but a seperation from God for an eternity in a place the Bible calls Hell)!
Not only did Christ take our punishment for us, placating the wrath of God toward sinful humanity once and for all, but He also gave to us His righteous standing before God! The Bible says that Jesus was tempted in all points like we are yet without sin (HEBREWS 4:15)! So on the cross, Jesus not only took all of our sin upon Himself and thus incurred the wrath of God for us, but He also gave us His righteous standing before God so that when God looks at us now, if we have believed that Jesus is the Son of God and did this for us, He does not see a sin-soaked person against whom His anger rages and He must dispense appropriate justice, but He sees His sinless Son, in whom He is well pleased! This idea is called "justification" in the Bible, that we have been declared just by God not because of the righteous things we do nor because of the unrighteous things we avoid doing but because now, being in Christ, God chooses to see not us, but Christ's righteousness! As a matter of fact, if you are in Christ, the Bible says that we are now the righteousness of God IN Christ (2 CORINTHIANS 5:21)! Wow!
So, my question to you is, "Are you still on death row waiting execution?". Or have you taken advantage of the fact that the Governor of governors has extended a pardon to you and stayed permanently your execution? You don't have to accept His offer of pardon that He extends to you through Jesus Christ, but it would be a foolish thing not to. As a matter of fact, the Bible says that those who have chosen not to believe in the Son of God, Jesus Christ, that the wrath of God STILL ABIDES on them (JOHN 3:36)! Oh, what a scary thing! It will be a fearful thing to leave this life and step into eternity without Jesus and fall into the hands of the living God (HEBREWS 10:31)! This is something you don't want to play around with! The Bible says that there is only one name under heaven, given among men whereby we must be saved (ACTS 4:12)! Salvation, my friend, is only found in Jesus Christ. Won't you receive God's offer of pardon today?
If you're ready, let's pray: God in Heaven, I come before You now recognizing that I have broken Your righteous commands as found in Your Word, the Holy Bible, and admit that I have sinned. I realize that my punishment for sinning against You is death, eternal separation from You in a place the Bible calls Hell. I realize that my only hope of pardon and my only escape from the iminent judgement that has been pronounced against me is found in Jesus Christ. So right now I believe in my heart that Jesus Christ is Your Son and that He died and rose again from the dead. I confess with my mouth right now that Jesus is Lord and I receive Your free gift of salvation , for the Bible says that if I confess with my mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in my heart that God raised Him from the dead that I shall be saved! Thank you, Savior, for saving my soul! Thank you, Jesus, for Your provision of pardon! Show me how to walk with you, oh God! In Jesus' name I pray, Amen!
If you prayed that prayer, I want to congratulate you and welcome you into the family of God! I encourage you to find a local church that preaches and teaches the Word of God and begin to faithfully attend. Begin reading the Word of God, the Holy Bible, on a regular basis. This is food for your soul and a must if you want to know God and grow in God! Take whatever steps you need to take to begin to develop a dialogue with God. This is what we call prayer! Finally, know that Jesus has promised to never leave you nor forsake you...never, ever, ever...so never fear to call upon Him! He loves you and we do to! God bless you as you begin and remain in a life-long journey with Him!