"What must I do to be saved?"
I have a question I often ask folks when I am engaged in door-to-door evangelism. It goes something like this:
"My friend, if you were to die today and stood before Almighty God, and He asked you, ‘Why should I receive you into my heaven,’ how would you reply?"
The answer I receive the majority of the time is almost predictable. Many reply in this manner:
"Well, I’ve been a pretty good person. I’ve never murdered anyone, have been successful in life, try hard not to lie, cheat, or steal, and feel the good things I’ve done outweigh the bad. I hope that God takes that into account and lets me into heaven. He’s a loving God, right? Surely He wouldn’t send me to Hell since I’ve been a basically good person?"
This is a very telling statement that reflects a people and a nation saturated with religion but hopelessly lost without Christ.
I recently read a statement on the back of a church brochure that reflects an important fact.
"We believe that going to church is very important, but going to heaven is eternally important. Jesus told a highly educated Pharisee: ‘Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God’ (John 3:3b). That means that religion will not get you to heaven, but you must have a relationship with God by receiving His Son, Jesus Christ, and experiencing the new birth.
"When you were born the first time, you were born a sinner. ‘For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God’ (Romans 3:23). God cannot let sin into His holy heaven. ‘And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth’ (Revelation 21:27a).
If you die in your sin, you will be eternally separated from God in a place called hell, a place of torment. ‘For the wages of sin is death’ (Romans 6:23a). But God provided the gift of salvation through the death on the cross, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. ‘But the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord’ (Romans 6:23b). The gift of salvation can be yours. ‘That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved’ (Romans 10:9). The gift of salvation can be yours.
Are you willing to do that today? ‘For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved’ (Romans 10:13)."
There are some things that are extremely important for a person seeing himself or herself as a lost sinner to know.
1. Salvation is not based upon your own "good works."
"For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast" (Ephesians 2:8-9).
"Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost" (Titus 3:5).
"For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures." (I Corinthians 15:3-4)
Please consider the following:
Just where do you stand?
How are you doing as far as God is concerned? Often we think we are doing pretty well when compared to others, but our standing before God has nothing to do with how we measure up to other people’s lives. It all hinges on how we measure up to God’s standards.
Take this little quiz based on God’s Ten Commandments found in the Book of Exodus, Chapter 20:
1. Have you put any other gods before God? Do you consult God’s Word regarding your decisions, pursuits, goals, and lifestyle? Do you regularly open God’s Word to find out what grieves Him, how to worship Him, what pleases Him? Do you gather with His people as His Word commands? Or do you run from God and stay away from the things of God because they get too convicting or uncomfortable?
2. Have you created God in a likeness to yourself or some other creation? That is, have you said, “I can’t believe that God would create a place called Hell.”? You’ve made your god into an image much like yourself. Perhaps you worship nature, the earth, the sun, etc. If so, you have violated the second commandment. Perhaps you are stubborn. In I Samuel 15:23, it says stubbornness (justifying your way over God’s way) is the same as the sin of idolatry—you are worshipping yourself.
3. Have you taken the name of the Lord in vain? The question is not one of frequency. Have you EVER taken the name of the Lord in vain?
4. Do you keep the Lord’s Day holy? Is there one day in seven which you dedicate to the Lord?
5. Do you honor your father and mother or seek to blame them for everything that is wrong in your life? How have you shown them honor?
6. Have you killed anyone? In the New Testament we are told that if we hate someone, we have the heart of a murderer (I John 3:15). You may not have taken a physical knife and slain someone, but have you used your sharp tongue and slaughtered someone to others?
7. Have you committed adultery? Jesus made it clear that even lusting after a woman is considered adultery in the heart (Matthew 5:28).
8. Have you ever stolen? Ever lie on your Income Tax Return? Ever take anything (from paper clips to computers) from the office that didn’t belong to you?
9. Have you ever lied? Not just the biggies but even little “white lies” and exaggerations are considered bearing false witness.
10. Ever coveted your neighbor’s house, wife or possessions? Were you ever jealous when someone had something you thought you deserved? Maybe it was some possession, promotion, prestige, etc.
How do you measure up to God’s standard? James 2:10 says, “For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.” When we see that we fall very short of God’s standard, we may be tempted to toss it out.
God never intended His law to be the standard by which a man can be made right with Him. The law was designed to show us our guilt and our need for a Saviour. Romans 3:23 says we have ALL sinned. “All have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”
The law basically shuts down our hollow excuses and shows us exactly what we are like (Galatians 3:24, Romans 3:20). The picture is not pretty at all.
God is absolutely justified in promising wrath and judgment. Romans 6:23 says “For the WAGES (what we earn) of sin is death (Hell), (Rev.20:15), but the GIFT (freely given) of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” God is absolutely merciful in providing a substitute to take His wrath in our place. That substitute was the Lord Jesus Christ. Romans 5:8 says, “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”
Romans 10:13 tells us that whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved (go to Heaven). What does it mean to call upon the name of the Lord? It means that you realize you are doomed to judgment and Hell because of your sinful state and in dire need of God’s mercy. It is calling out to God for help, realizing you can do nothing on your own for your salvation (Eph. 2:8,9, Titus 3:5). You must repent (have a change of mind and heart about your sinful direction) and turn in faith to Jesus Christ and trust Him for your salvation, believing the Gospel -”That Christ (Jesus, God in the flesh—John 1:1,14) died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:” (I Cor. 15:3b,4).
It is time for a change in your standing before God. Will you stand before God in your sins and thus be judged forever, or will you stand before God having trusted the One who took your judgment in your place? The invitation to be saved from your sins is from God. The work for your salvation has been done by Christ on the cross and through the resurrection. The choice to turn from your sinful way and turn toward the Saviour is yours! Will you believe (depend, trust, rely) on the Lord Jesus Christ and His sacrifice alone as the only payment for your sins? Romans 10:9 says, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved!”