There are many opinions today as to what constitutes the Gospel. Every church is hawking their own message on how to get to heaven and what to do to be “saved”. This is nothing new but it is also very damnable if they are wrong. In Galatians 1:8-9, Paul warned, “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. As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.”
While I doubt that very few churches or pastors deliberately want to see people go to hell, many are doing so through ignorance.
I want to look at some things that are not commanded in order to be saved. Then I want to look at what is specifically commanded.
As I talk to people about the “Gospel” or about salvation, I often hear that “I believe in God”. While I am sure that that brings them much comfort, it shouldn’t. James 2:19 says, “Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.” No one would argue that Satan is saved merely because he believes in God.
Another excuse I hear for not being saved is, “I don’t understand it.” While they may be pious and sincere, the Bible does not command us to understand anything. There is no verse anywhere that gives “understanding” as a condition of being saved.
Yet another excuse is, “Well, I’m not that bad.” While that may soothe their conscious, it does not mean they have a home in heaven. Jesus told Nicodemus, (John 3) who was a most educated, religious leader and scholar, that he must be “born again” – no matter how good he was. Jesus also told the young, rich ruler (Matthew 19:20) who had lived a most impeccable life, that his good life was not good enough to get him into heaven. Certainly, neither Nicodemus nor this young ruler was bad people. But being good did not get them one-step closer to heaven.
So what is the Gospel?
If it is not about keeping the Ten Commandments or living a good life, believing in God, or any of those other things that people often use, then how can one be saved?
John 3:16 states that it is by believing on Jesus Christ. John 3:36 tells us the same thing.
In Acts 16:31, Paul told the jailor that he must “believe on the Lord Jesus Christ” and he would be saved.
Acts 8:36 tells the story of Phillip and the eunuch. When the eunuch asked Phillip what would hinder him from being baptized, Phillip told him that he must believe with all his heart. The eunuch answered that he believed that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. Upon that profession, Phillip baptized him.
I truly do understand that men want to have a part of their own salvation. Cain brought the best of his own hands to offer unto God but even though he was sincere and he did bring his very best, it was not what God had commanded and God did not accept it.
In Matthew 7:22-23, Jesus said that many would say to him at the Judgment that they had done many wonderful works – and they had even done them in his name – and they therefore deserved to enter heaven. But Jesus told them to depart that he had never known them. They were good, honest, religious, hard working people who did many wonderful works but they were cast out and their works were called iniquity.
I am not asking if you are a good person. I am not asking if you believe in God. I am not asking if you even work in religious work and do many good deeds in the Name of Jesus. I am asking if you are saved.