The great theme of the Bible is salvation through Jesus Christ, the Son of God. In the Bible we learn how everlasting life has been offered to all people, everywhere, through faith in Jesus.
“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16
We must first understand that without the salvation through the Son, then we are perishing. Sin separates us from God. The Bible puts it in terms of death (Ephesians 2:1). So we must first understand what sin is. Sin is lawlessness, or breaking of God’s commands (1 John 3:4). When we disobey God, we have sinned.
The Bible enumerates sinful activities that are in violation with God’s laws. These are just a few.
- Fornication (Ephesians 5:3)
- Coveteousness (Ephesians 5:3)
- Corrupt speech (Ephesians 5:4; Ephesians 4:29)
- Idolatry (Ephesians 5:5)
- Drinking alcohol (Ephesians 5:17)
All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). Those who commit sin are perishing (John 3:16). We are in danger of facing the wrath of God. The reality of eternity in hell is upon those who work disobedience (Ephesians 5:6).
Salvation is offered freely, as a gracious gift. This gift is accepted through faith (Ephesians 2:8-9). How do sinners come to be saved? By turning away from sin and submitting to the will of God.
What must a person do to be saved? (Acts 16:30)
- Hear the Gospel – a person must know the gospel of Jesus Christ. A person must be taught (Romans 10:17) because the gospel of Jesus Christ will produce faith in those who have good and honest hearts.
- Believe in Jesus – faith in Jesus as the Son of God who was born of a virgin, lived a sinless life, gave us a perfect example to follow, died upon a cross, arose from the dead and ascended to the throne of God. We must be ready to believe in Jesus (John 3:16).
- Repent of Sins – because sin is in violation of God’s word, we must turn from those sins. Repentance is a change of mind and opinions that demonstrates itself through a change in behavior. God expects repentance in order to be forgiven of sins (Acts 2:38).
- Confession of Faith – those who have heard the gospel, believed it, turned away from sin ought to be ready and willing to make the reason known for their change in life. They should be ready to confess their faith in Jesus. This is done in order to be saved (Romans 10:9-10; Acts 8:37).
- Baptism for Salvation – to become a Christian, washed by the blood of Christ, cleansed and made a new creature, a person must be baptized. Salvation and baptism have a direct correlation together (Mark 16:16; 1 Peter 3:21; Acts 2:38).
By doing these things, you do not save yourself. You simply are doing what God has expressed for you to do.
The church is made up of believers who have been forgiven. They have realized their need for God’s grace and love. The church is not self-reliant, or self-righteous. The church of Christ does not unfairly judge a person’s sins. We are not claiming perfection; we desire God’s mercy (Luke 18:13). Christians recognize that all have sinned, thus all are in need of God’s love and forgiveness (Romans 3:23).
The church understands that a life of sin is displeasing to God and we are to renew ourselves to serving God faithfully. Disciples are called to take up their cross and follow the Lord on a daily basis. This is one of the reasons that the church assembles on a regular basis, promoting love and good works (Hebrews 10:24-25). We want to promote good things; we want to discourage sin!
We live to serve the Master. We have removed sin from our lives so we can be alive to God and have the hope of everlasting life (John 3:16). We run the race so that we might obtain a glorious crown in heaven (2 Timothy 4:7-8).