In a word, there is only one thing you must do to be saved: you must believe.
|Acts 16:31 –
||Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved.
To “believe” means to trust in, to put your faith in, or to count on as being true.
But let me caution you. Anybody can say, “I believe.” In fact, the Bible says, “Even the demons believe—and tremble!” (James 2:19) I want you to understand the kind of belief that leads to salvation.
- To begin with, believing is always believing in something. To “believe on the Lord Jesus Christ” means to believe in or trust in what Christ did for you as your only hope of salvation. It means to be under the conviction that, if you do not trust in Christ alone, then you will be lost forever. It means to believe in the “gospel.” The term “gospel” means the “good news” about what Christ did to save you.
The apostle Paul talks about the Christian gospel in 1 Corinthians 15:1-8.
Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand, by which also you are saved….
What is that “gospel” which Paul preached to them, which they received (believed in), and by which they were saved? The gospel is four statements about Christ. These statements represent the very truth which you must believe in order to be saved:
Statement #1 – Christ died for our sins (1 Cor 15:3)
Every one of those five words is important. The expression, “Christ died,” by itself is not the gospel. The gospel is why Christ died; it is the meaning of His death. He didn’t just die, He died “for our sins.” He paid our penalty.
Statement #2 – He was buried (1 Cor 15:4)
The burial of Jesus is proof of His death. Jesus didn’t just swoon on the cross and later resuscitate. He was sealed in a tomb for three days.
Statement #3 – He rose again the third day (1 Cor 15:4)
Jesus came out of the tomb. He did what no other person in human history has ever done: He came back to life, never to die again. In coming back to life, He broke the power of death that held humankind in bondage because of sin.
Statement #4 – He was seen (1 Cor 15:5)
The witnesses of Jesus are proof of His new life. In fact, verses 5 through 8 are taken up with the subject of the various ones who saw Christ after His resurrection.
- Secondly, to believe that Jesus Christ died for your sins means that you are repenting of your sins and turning to Christ. To “repent” means “to change your mind.” The only reason for you to believe in Christ is if you have changed your mind about your sin. You are ready to believe in the gospel only if you are convicted by the realization that your sin offends the holy God of heaven and you want to be rid of it forever, choosing rather to follow the paths of righteousness as expressed in the Bible.
|Mark 1:15 –
||Repent, and believe in the gospel.
|Luke 24:46-47 –
||Then He said to them, “Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day, and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.”
|Acts 3:19 –
||Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out.
- When you truly believe the gospel, God saves you through a wonderful transaction that has two parts:
First, God removes the guilt of your sins. Just like a financial debt that is paid in full, your sin debt has been transferred to Christ who died in your place. You are completely free from the guilt of your sins. No matter how many, no matter how awful those sins, Christ has paid the debt in full.
|Romans 8:1 –
||There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus.
|Colossians 2:13-14 –
||And you, being dead in your trespasses…He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses, having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross
Second, God gives to you the righteousness of Christ Himself. Just as your sins are transferred to Christ, Christ’s righteousness is transferred to you. In the eyes of God, you are righteous because Christ is righteous. You are now “justified,” which means that you are “declared righteous.” This is why salvation enables the believer to stand in the presence of a holy God. Having the righteousness of Christ, we are perfect in God’s sight, our relationship with God has been healed, and we have the gift of eternal life.
|Romans 3:21-22 –
||But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed…even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe.
|Romans 5:1 –
||Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.
|Romans 5:9 –
||Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him.
|2 Corinthians 5:21 –
||For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
|Titus 3:7 –
||Having been justified by His grace we should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.
- You must understand that salvation can never be earned or worked off. God is pleased to save those who believe because He is kind, loving, and merciful. You are not saved by believing in Christ and doing good works, trying to live a better life, turning over a new leaf, or cleaning up your life. You are saved by believing the gospel plus nothing else. Your life will be changed on the outside after the Lord gives you a new heart on the inside.
|Romans 4:5 –
||But to him who does not work but believes on Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness.
|Titus 3:4-5 –
||But when the kindness and love of God our Savior toward man appeared, not by works or righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us.
Salvation is a free gift that we receive when we believe the gospel.
|Romans 6:23 –
||For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
|Ephesians 2:8-9 –
||For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.
- Finally, let me impress upon you that believing the gospel is more than giving assent to the gospel, more than merely acknowledging that the gospel is true. When you believe the gospel, you are trusting in the death and resurrection of Christ personally, as your only hope for eternal salvation. You are casting yourself upon the mercy of God and clinging to the truth of the gospel alone to save you. You cannot simply add faith in Christ to other ideas in which you may be trusting, as if you could “sample” Christ to see if this works for you. You must abandon any other notion of how you may be saved and cast yourself on Christ alone.
The issue becomes: what are you trusting in to save you from your sin and the penalty you owe because of your sin? The Christian answer is: the death of Christ for my sin and His resurrection from the dead.
Nothing in my hand I bring;
Simply to Your cross I cling.
Do you recognize your need of forgiveness from God for your sins? Do you desire to repent of your sins and live righteously unto God?
Then “believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved.”
Cast yourself upon Him. Trust in His death for your sins and His resurrection which has the power to remove your sins and to replace them with the perfect righteousness of Christ.
The apostle Paul declared, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes” (Romans 1:16)
You can tell the Lord about your decision to trust in Him for salvation right now. You may pray something like this:
I know I am a sinner. I know that my sin has offended You and that you must judge that sin. I deserve the eternal punishment that Your word speaks of.
Thank you for sending your Son, Jesus, who died for my sins in my place. I trust in His death on the cross for my sins and in His resurrection from the grave to save me. Please be merciful to me and save me because of what Christ has done for me. Take away my sins and give me the righteousness of Christ, that I may live for You and serve You.
Thank you for the gift of your salvation.
I pray this in Jesus’ name. Amen.
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Thank you for taking the time to read this document. I look forward to hearing from you.