The Gospel is made clear in 1 Corinthians 15:1-4
“Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. 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.”
This is the Gospel. It’s quite simple, yet very few understand it because most of us have lived our lives being taught “religion” and “works” for salvation such as our good outweighing our bad. However, the Bible says we can ALL know for sure we have salvation and will go to heaven. Therefore, we will break down what the Bible says regarding the Gospel and salvation. We will use the Bible which was written by God as he “used” men to write it through His Holy Spirit as it states in 2 Peter 1:21 “For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.” Therefore, you can know for certain that these are not our words or our interpretation. This is what God says.
“What must I do to be saved?” (Acts 16:30)
The first step to receiving salvation is to recognize you are a sinner whose sin has condemned you before a holy God.
What is sin?
The Bible defines sin as transgression against God’s law (1 John 3:4); missing the mark of God’s perfect holiness (Roman 3:23; Matthew 5:48); refusing to do good (James 4:17); or anything that is not of faith (Romans 14:23). More specifically the definition of sin is embodied in the Ten Commandment (Exodus 20: 1-17), but Scripture gives lists of more specific sins that are only generalized in the Ten Commandments; such as (Romans 1:22-32 [note: this last phrase includes not just the doers of such sins, but also all that “have pleasure in them that do them.”];1 Corinthians 6:9-10; Proverb 6:16-19; 1 Timothy 1:9-10 [note: this last phrase “any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine”]; Revelation 21:8).
We are ALL guilty.
Each of us personally needs to acknowledge our guilt of such abominable sin and that the infinitely holy God is just in His condemning us for such heinous crimes against His holy character and original intent for mankind. All have sinned (Romans 3:10-23; 11:32; Galatians 3:22) which leads us to understand why we need to be saved by seeking the forgiveness of God. In fact, God’s Word says in Romans 3:19-20 “Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.” We are all guilty before God and no man or woman can boast of his good works before God or one another whether one is a priest, pastor, Moses, Noah, Adam, Mary, or you. It only takes one sin to keep you out of God’s presence: “For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all” (Jam 2:10)
The Penalty of sin.
God’s word tells us “For the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23; 5:12; Ezekiel 18:22). A just judge will properly mete out the penalty demanded by the law, without receiving bribes of money (1 Peter 1:18) or personal favors—such as good works (Titus 3:5). However, God met the perfect demands of His law by sending His Son Jesus Christ to die for our sin (1 John 4:14).
Our works of sin have condemned us (Romans 4:4; 11:6) and cannot be cleared except by the justification through faith in Jesus Christ. “
Who is Jesus?
Jesus is God the Son, the second person of a Triune God (God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit). They all make up the one and only true God and are all equal with one another as it states in 1 John 5:7 “For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.” God the Son took to Himself a human nature, so that, although He was still 100% God, He became 100% Man as well (1 Timothy 3:16; John 1:1-3, 14; Romans 9:5). He lived a perfectly sinless life (Hebrew 4:15; 2 Corinthians 5:21), to present Himself as the Lamb of God without blemish that takes away our sin (John 1:29; 1 Peter 1:19) by satisfying the wrath of the law’s penalty that we deserve for our sin (Romans 3:24; 1 John 2:2). The Father “made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him” (2 Corinthians 5:21).
He shed His blood to redeem us from sin (Leviticus 17:11; Romans 5:9). His blood must have eternal value (as God) to purchase us eternal life (Acts 20:28). He died and was buried in a tomb for three days and three nights to physically bodily rise again (Hebrews 9:12, 14-15, 22; Romans 3:24; 5:9; 1 Corinthians 15:1-4).
Because we cannot earn salvation by our own good works, God has offered salvation as a free gift (Ephesians 2:4-5, 8-9; Galatians 2:16) to all who would receive it (John 1:12) by putting our faith in the completed works of Jesus Christ (Acts 16:30-31; Romans 10:9-10, 13; John 3:15). We cannot obtain heaven through our own effort but by faith in Jesus Christ. An example is found in Hebrews 3:15-19 “While it is said, To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation. For some, when they had heard, did provoke: howbeit not all that came out of Egypt by Moses. But with whom was he grieved forty years? was it not with them that had sinned, whose carcases fell in the wilderness? And to whom sware he that they should not enter into his rest, but to them that believed not? So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief.” They could not enter because of their unbelief, their lack of faith. And it also says in Ephesians 2:8-9 “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.”
However, most of us have been raised to believe it was by being good or obeying the Ten Commandments. However, as stated earlier above, this is not so because the law provides us the knowledge of sin so God could have mercy upon all that have faith in Jesus Christ the Lord as it says it Galatians 3:24 “Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.” Galatians 2:21 says “I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.” Also Galatians 2:16 states “knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.”
God has not bestowed salvation ambiguously upon a limited number of people but offers to whosoever will (Revelation 22:17; Luke 9:24) expressing man has a free will involved in the receiving the gift of salvation or denying it (2 Peter 2:1) John 1:11-12 says, “He came unto his own, and his own received him not. But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:”
Some may believe that their sin is “too great” to be forgiven or they are beyond hope. God has stated that ALL are guilty before God. We are all in the same position. In addition, God not only saved but used sinners in the Bible to show his love and mercy. King David committed adultery and murder (2 Samuel 11). Paul who wrote most of the epistles in the New Testament was a murderer of Christians (Philippians 3:4-7; 1 Timothy 1:15) and yet God saved him and used him. Peter denied the Lord 3 times (Matthew 26:34;, 69-75). The Lord saved a man demon possessed by a legion of demons (Mark 5:1-20). No sin is too big for God to forgive. Although the Gospel is simple, our “religious traditions” has blinded most of us (2 Corinthians 4:3-4) to the simple truth that even the simple faith of a child saves (2 Timothy 3:15).
Doesn’t getting baptized as a baby save us?
Getting baptized as a baby does not save. Only faith in Jesus Christ can save as we see in Acts 8:36-38 “And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized? And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him.” Baptism is a simple “picture” of being buried with Christ into his death and being raised up a new living creature to walk in newness of life (Romans 6:3-4; Colossians 2:12), which will be completed in fullness at the resurrection where we will receive our new bodies in perfection without sin forever. Baptism always follows salvation in the Bible (Acts 2:41-42) and is not a requirement for salvation. There is not one instance of a baby being baptized in the Bible. Only believers in the Lord Jesus Christ were baptized.
So what must you do to be saved?
We have given scripture to prove we are all guilty before God. Because the law reveals that we are all guilty, it leads us to seek The Savior Jesus Christ. Therefore, what must we all do to be saved from God’s wrath in hell and to be in heaven with God and our Lord Jesus Christ? Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. These verses below will make this clear to understand how to be saved.
Acts 16: 30-33
“And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved? And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house. And they spake unto him the word of the Lord, and to all that were in his house. And he took them the same hour of the night, and washed their stripes; and was baptized, he and all his, straightway.” Notice that getting baptized did not save this man. It was “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ”. Getting baptized after salvation is the pattern of every believer.
“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.”
“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.”
“For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
“For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness. Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt. But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.”
“Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:”
“But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.”
“There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh:”
1 Corinthians 1:21
“For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.”
“Even as Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness. Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham. And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed. So then they which be of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham.”
“But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe.”
Galatians 3: 26
“For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.”
“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.”
“And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith:”
1 Thessalonians 5:9
“For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ,”
“By faith the harlot Rahab perished not with them that believed not, when she had received the spies with peace.”
1 John 3:23
“And this is his commandment, That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment.”
1 John 4:15
“Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God.”
1 John 5:5
“Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?”
1 John 5:12-13
“He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life. These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.”
Luke 17: 19
“And he said unto him, Arise, go thy way: thy faith hath made thee whole.”
Salvation by the Gospel is Simple
It says in 2 Corinthians 11:3 “But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.” So we see that the Gospel is “simple”.
How important is the simplicity of the Gospel by having faith in Christ? God’s Word warns about false gospels in 2 Corinthians 11:4 “For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him.” Again in Galatians 1:6-8 “I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.” Therefore, the Gospel of Jesus Christ is the entire plan of God’s salvation for all.
Acts 4:12 says “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” Even in the Old Testament, the Passover and animal sacrifices were simply a foreshadow of the future shed blood to come by Jesus Christ and they also were saved by believing God through faith. Therefore, it is quite clear what you must do to be saved. Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. He is the true God and Savior of the world.