According to the God’s word, the Authorized Version King James Holy Bible, today’s gospel message is very clear and simple – the Lord Jesus Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures, He was buried, and He rose again the third day according to the scriptures. If you believe this with all your heart, trusting Christ as Saviour, then you’re on your way to Heaven when you die. That’s it; you are now a saved Christian. Learning about Jesus and what it says in the His word in order for us to now live our lives for Him, is what comes after salvation.
But the Lord said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart.1 Samuel 16:7
Speaking about myself for the moment, before I became a Christian, I had no understanding of such Biblical terms as salvation, saved, born again, repentance, propitiation, scripture, doctrine, perfect blood sacrifice, and so on. I was raised a Roman Catholic, and I had no idea what was in the Bible or what the gospel was. I had never heard any Roman Catholics talk about Jesus (apart from the occasional ‘name drop’ on Sundays), and I was never encouraged or challenged to study the Bible for myself. And if I did ever want to read the Bible, I was told that I must have a priest present with me in order for him to interpret it for me. I always thought that a bit strange – why wasn’t I ‘allowed’ to study and read for myself? Was I incapable of reading the same English as him? What were they trying to hide? is what I thought. Perhaps that’s for another message.
After many years of searching for the truth, I finally became a saved Christian when I heard a preacher teach about a place called Hell. It was the description of the place and the very thought of me going there if I died in my sins that truly frightened me. I wasn’t really paying attention to the Bible verses he was quoting, because, at that time as an unsaved man, the Bible meant nothing to me. It was all the talk about Hell and eternal death that really got to me; I simple knew I didn’t want to go to that place of eternal torment when I died.
Let’s pause and think about this for a moment. Because I didn’t listen to Bible verses as an unsaved person, did that mean that I wasn’t ready to be saved? Did it mean that I wasn’t genuinely wanting to know how I could escape going to Hell? After all, what was I going to be saved from if it wasn’t from Hell? Didn’t Jesus preach and teach more on Hell than any other topic? Wasn’t the only time in the word that Jesus repeated something 3 times, on the subject of Hell? (See Mark 9:44, 46, and 48 in God’s inspired and preserved word, the AV Bible). Even though I didn’t realise it at the time, my motive for wanting salvation was indeed Biblical – I didn’t want to go to Hell!
After ‘scaring me’ with Hell, the preacher went on to talk about Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection; sharing the gospel of salvation. And with a simple, child-like manner, I fell on my hands and knees crying my eyes out and calling out to God in fear, trembling, desperation, humbleness, weakness … pleading with Him to stop me from going to Hell. I remember saying something like,
“God, if what I’ve just heard about Hell is real and true, and Jesus did die for me to stop my soul from going there when I die, then I want it, I want salvation. I want to be forgiven of my sins!”
It was something along those lines; I certainly didn’t include the Biblical terms I mentioned earlier, and I also didn’t fully understand exactly what took place on the cross, or that Christ’s blood is what cleanses me from sin, but friend, the most important thing about my attitude at that moment, was that I believed what I had heard – I had repented; I had turned from my unbelief (trying to get to Heaven my own way) to belief (accepting that Jesus is the only Way to Heaven).
I believed with all my heart that Christ died for me, was buried for me, and rose again the third day for me, and that, by me believing this, I was now saved from Hell. Friend, I had never spoken with God before, so I spoke with Him in the best way I could and in the best way I knew how. Could you say that I ‘called out’ to Him? Absolutely! Did I ask Him for forgiveness? Absolutely! Did I plead, talk, beg, cry out … of course I did, absolutely! The fact is that the Lord knew I was ready to hear the truth, so put someone in my path to give me the message of His wonderful salvation, and I believed it when I heard it; accepting His free gift.
At that very moment, I was saved for eternity as He promises, and I felt such an overwhelming peace fill my soul that my tears turned to joy, and from that moment, my life changed forever.
Why am I sharing all this? Well the main reason of course is that I hope to bring others to the saving knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ; salvation is the free gift of God for ALL people; for ANYONE who wants to be saved! No one can work for it; salvation is given freely by God.
But I’m also sharing this because far too many professing Christians today are overcomplicating salvation; making it difficult for someone to get saved, or, with regards to the genuinely saved Christian, causing them to doubt their salvation just because they didn’t say this or that, or they ‘called out’ to God (saying that you worked for your salvation), or the person didn’t use a particular word, and so on.
The Bible says in Second Corinthians chapter 11 verse 3:
But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.2 Corinthians 11:3
If these professing Christians think that I worked for my salvation because I cried out to God pleading with Him to save me, then I guess I’m not saved. But let’s say that I didn’t even call out to Him, and just got down on my knees and wept, would these same Christians class that too as a work? If yes, then I guess I’m not saved.
In John chapter 6 verses 28 to 29, we read,
Then said they unto him (to Jesus), What shall we do, that we might work the works of God? Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.John 6:28-29
And in verse 40 of the same chapter, Jesus says,
And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.John 6:40
Jesus has done all the work; we must accept that fact – there’s no work that any man or woman can do to get into Heaven; Christ is the Only One Who can get a person into Heaven.
Friend, there is no formula that you must follow for getting saved. The criterion for salvation is simply to believe the gospel – how ever it is you come to God for salvation (to accept His free gift), whether on your knees, driving a car, in your living room at night, whilst in pain in a hospital bed, you must come to Him believing the gospel.
Whatever you say to God the moment you truly believe, God knows your heart! The bickering Christians I hear today on YouTube and the like, seem to forget that one major thing, that God knows the heart of the person who seeks salvation. After all, it was God Who sent someone to preach to that person in the first place, because He knew that that person was ready to hear AND believe. Watch that you don’t try and add a work into salvation by making out that there is a work in there in the first place! Jesus is the One Who saves! Can man see the heart? No. Can we really ever say that a professing believer is not saved? Although we can know someone by their fruits and can have a pretty good idea as to whether that person is saved or not, the answer really is still no.
Christian friend, if you have a video channel, blog, podcast, social media account, or have real-world conversations with other professing Christians, etc., don’t waste the precious time the Lord has given you on this earth questioning if someone is saved or not. Instead, turn your outlet and conversations into an active Christ-centred soulwinning ministry, and give all your efforts over to God!
Rejoice and delight in your salvation, allowing the glorious Light of Christ to shine through you, so that others want what you have.
Don’t give the unsaved any more of an excuse to stay away from God, because they see your bickering and hypocritical behaviour. Don’t confuse a genuinely saved Christ-loving Christian into thinking that they are not really saved just because they didn’t follow your ‘formula’.
Keep focused on the simplicity of salvation; telling people what Jesus did for them. Understand and accept that it’s the Lord and His word that will prick their conscience and heart, and Who does the saving!
Jesus is the only One Who can save, and He’s the only One Who looketh on the heart.
In Christian love,