Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
1 Corinthians 15:3-4
Paul wrote the Corinthians to address problems with false teaching. One area of struggle was false Gospel messages. In these two verses, Paul reminded the Corinthians of the correct—and only— Gospel message that must be believed by the unrighteous sinner for salvation: Christ died for our sins and rose again. The Gospel message is an account of the literal historical event in which Jesus Christ, the Son of God, died on the cross to pay for your sins and those of every other person who has ever or will ever live. Then, He rose from the dead to validate that He had secured the possibility of salvation for the entire world. This event took place on a weekend in history two thousand years ago. The Gospel is not a subjective occurrence that happens in one’s heart, nor is it a personal story of how one came to believe. The accuracy of our understanding of this message is of the utmost importance since it has eternal consequences.
Too often people put the focus of the Gospel message on the creature rather than the Creator. They pervert the message by adding some work on the part of the unbeliever to the perfect and complete Work of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. For the Gospel message to be accurately understood, the focus must always be our Redeemer Christ Jesus. The message tells us what Christ did for us and that He did it completely and sufficiently so that the entire human race is afforded the same opportunity to receive His gift of salvation. There is nothing we can add to our gift of Salvation from God. We must simply believe.
Paul’s account of the Philippian jailor is an excellent example of the simple requirement for salvation. God the Holy Spirit could have inspired Paul to provide the full list of steps required for man to be saved, but He inspired only one step: "Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved.” (Acts 16:31). The only requirement on our part for salvation is to believe in the Work that Christ Jesus performed on the cross for our sins. Being baptized by man does not play a part in our salvation; it is the Holy Spirit who baptizes us at the moment we believe. We do not request or invite Christ into our heart or life in order to be saved. Why would Christ want to come into the cesspool of any unregenerate sinner! We simply believe in the Work He did for our salvation. We do not have to say a special prayer or perform any public act in order to be saved. We do not have to confess any specific sins, repent about anything but our opinion of Jesus Christ, or change our lives in any way in order to be saved. We don’t have to do anything other than believe that the Son of God, Jesus Christ, died as a substitute for us to pay the capital punishment that we deserve for our sins. A simple act of belief is the only requirement for us to receive the eternal salvation that can never be taken from us.
The only way we can be absolutely certain that we are saved is if the requirement for our salvation is dependent solely on the work of our absolutely infallible God. God did all of the work required for us to be saved; therefore, we can have comfort knowing that it was absolutely correct and complete. If we had to perform some ritual or work for our salvation, how could we have confidence that we did it right, knowing that we are certainly not infallible? That’s where the Lord’s grace steps in and makes the only requirement on our part an act of belief in His Work. We either believe the message or we don’t; there is no subjective middle ground or grey area. Through God’s grace, he offered us salvation through our faith and not by any work on our part (Ephesians 2:8-9). Christ’s work on the cross and the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit performs the Work, not anything we have done (Titus 3:5).
As believers, we must make sure we have a clear understanding of the Gospel message so that we are prepared to share the message accurately with everyone around us. We should all be able and willing to clearly articulate the Gospel to others. In fact, we are commanded to do just that in 1 Peter 3:15. God desires the entire human race to come to Him and receive salvation through clear understanding of and belief in the Person and Work of Jesus Christ. The only way someone can believe the message is if we give them a clear account of the historical event. We must be prepared to deliver that message accurately with the focus always on Christ, our Creator-God, and not on any work of man.
Praise the Lord for providing such a clear and simple message of salvation that requires no work on our part and has such unimaginable rewards as a result of understanding our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection.
These Morning Meditations are commentaries on the Word of God written by Tommy Northcott, member of Pleroma Bible Church in Tullahoma, TN. www.pleromabiblechurch.org
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