As a four-year-old, I made a decision that changed my life. At special services being held at our church, I told my mom, “I want to do that,” when the preacher invited people to come forward to pray to receive salvation.
I don’t remember that day very clearly, but the story of my eagerness to give myself, my life, my all to Jesus has stuck with me. God, in love, took a look into that little boy’s heart, saw the spark of faith and performed a miracle. He raised me from death and gave me life. He transformed me.
I praise him today, almost forty years later, with all that I am! Jesus is above all! Blessed be his name! My Savior and my King!
Go to the Bible and you will hear it over and over: you must be saved. This is the most important message God has given us. Belief in Jesus is not a take it or leave it proposition for those who want eternal life. Heaven is not open to those who refuse God’s command to believe.
Listen to what he says and see if you don’t agree.
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.” (John 3:16-18, NIV)
Do these words of Jesus not say, “You must believe!” Only those who believe are saved. Those who do not are condemned. Jesus came to save the world. That includes you. Believe on God’s one and only Son and you will be saved.
Jesus has more to say to us.
“Then they asked him, ‘What must we do to do the works God requires?’ Jesus answered, ‘The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.’” (John 6:28-29, NIV)
What work does God require of all men who desire salvation? Not acts of kindness. Not giving away tons of money. Not praying and fasting a certain number of days. Not saying the right words to a friend.
The work of God, the only work he accepts, is to believe in Jesus. Jesus is the one he sent into the world to save the world. Believe on him.
“Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be silenced and the whole world held accountable to God. Therefore no one will be declared righteous in his sight by observing the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of sin.
“But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.” (Romans 3:19-24, NIV)
Here’s the truth: You cannot become righteous by following the law. Doing so is impossible. You know that. You’ve tried to do what’s right and failed over and over.
The only way to a right relationship to God, to peace with him, is through faith in Jesus. Again the truth is clear. You must believe to be saved, to be justified.
“…if you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved. As the Scripture says, ‘Anyone who trusts in him will never be put to shame.’ For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile – the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, for, ‘Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’” (Romans 10:9-13, NIV)
The good news is clear. If you believe, you will be saved. Anyone who trusts in him will never be put to shame. Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.
You can’t have done something so bad that God makes an exception and excludes you. You can’t do anything good enough to get in on your own merit. If you believe, you will be saved. That’s the truth. Are you listening?
“Dear friends, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God and receive from him anything we ask, because we obey his commands and do what pleases him. And this is his command: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us. Those who obey his commands live in him, and he in them. And this is how we know that he lives in us: We know it by the Spirit he gave us.” (1 John 3:21-24, NIV)
If there was any doubt concerning the necessity of believing in Jesus’ name after reading the previous passages, it is erased here. That belief is commanded is clear. Those who obey this command live in him and he in them. Have I made myself clear enough on this topic? You must believe. You cannot be saved in any other way.
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