One of the things that happens to us as believers as we plunge the depths of Truth in God’s Word, is that the Gospel can become more complicated than it really is. With the best of intentions, we tell people that there is a formula or certain words we need to pray to be “saved”. I remember as young believer studying the Scriptures and listening to preachers present the Gospel, that I had perhaps not said the right words or been sincere enough. I felt like Charlie Brown in the pumpkin patch looking for the “sincerest” pumpkin to arise on Halloween night. Always searching but never quite convinced that I had it right. So, I prayed the same concept over and over, rewording it to be sure I had it right.
Let’s begin with what Jesus said. It is recorded in John’s Gospel, Chapter 6 Verse 37 where He says “the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out”. The promise here is that if you come to Him on His terms, you can be assured that He has the power and will to keep you as one of His own. He reiterates His promise later in John 10:27-28 “My sheep hear my voice and I know them, and they follow Me; and I give eternal life to them, and they shall never perish; and no one shall snatch them out of My hand”. That’s on the authority of the Son of God Himself; that you will be secure, if you trust Him to save you from eternal punishment in Hell, a very real place.
How do I get to that point to become one of His? A man came to Jesus and it’s recorded in John 3. This man admitted that Jesus had come from God. Jesus then told him that unless he was born again that he would not see the kingdom of God. Jesus then tells him that “whoever believes in Him (Jesus) should not perish but have everlasting life”.
What does that mean to “believe in Him”? Is it simply an acknowledgement that Jesus is God or is there something more to believe? As the Gospels unfold and we understand more about what God expects from the rest of the New Testament, the simplicity of the Gospel becomes easy to understand at a basic level.
First, you need to admit that you’re a sinner. Why? Because without that simple acknowledgement, you won’t see your need for a Savior to save you from that sin. So, have you ever done anything wrong? I like Ray Comfort’s approach when sharing the Gospel. It goes something like this: Have you ever told a lie? Have you ever lusted after another woman (man)? Have you ever taken the name of God in vain (used it improperly)? Have you ever taken anything that didn’t belong to you? Assuming you said yes to these things, then by your own admission, you’re a liar, adulterer, blasphemer and thief thereby breaking several of God’s laws. You, my friend, are like the rest of us: a sinner in need of saving. God is perfect and cannot let you into heaven without judging that sin or He wouldn’t be Who He is, perfectly righteous and holy.
Second, now that you admit that, you need to believe God can save you from punishment through His Son, Jesus. Jesus came to become the sacrifice that God requires to forgive your sins. He died for you. You need to make that personal. “Jesus, I trust you to save me”.
Now the really simple part. The apostle Paul put it this way in his letter to the Romans 10:9-10 “if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved”. Let me put it this way, Jesus is Lord of all, whether you admit it or not. The Bible says that “every knee will bow”, believer or non-believer. Trust the Scriptures that you do not want to be judged by a Holy God believing that your good works will outweigh the bad you have done or some ritual will save you from judgement. On the authority of God’s Word, I assure you that it will not. His standard is perfection, and you can’t lead a sinless life. What you’re saying here is that He is your Lord, personally, and you will follow Him as Lord of your life.
Is there more to say? Sure. Volumes have been written and lifetimes spent studying the Doctrine of Salvation or Soteriology, as the theologians call it. But simply admitting that you’re a sinner, asking Jesus to save you from the punishment that you deserve for breaking God’s law and telling others about what happened to you, is all you need to be saved and begin an eternity of life with the God of the universe, Jesus Christ.
So, if you’ve done that part, get yourself a Bible and start getting to know Him. Find yourself a Gospel-preaching church with like-minded believers and deepen your relationship with Him.