I hope you’ve followed the whole series – which I fully intended to finish by Easter of the same year I started it 😂 (2022). I’m going to be a day or two late. The good news is that it doesn’t impact the significance of the message.
We started with really bad news; we’re all sinners and we can’t make it right ourselves. We followed that with good news; God loved us and created a plan by which we can be made right with Him. And we found that even though this is a gift, many blessings go along with being made right with God.
We saw that the offer is a gift; it is free to us. But we have to accept the gift. How do we do that? It’s not like God is leaving a box on our doorstep for us to bring into the house and open.
God wouldn’t offer a gift without telling us how to take it for ourselves. So let’s look at His plan for our taking hold of the greatest gift ever offered or accepted.
Faith is key
We already saw in one of the most well-known Bible verses, John 3:16, that faith or belief is critical. Remember,
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. John 3:16
Paul also mentions belief.
For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. Romans 1:16
We also saw earlier in the series that salvation is BY grace THROUGH faith. So faith and belief are synonymous. The question might be, "What do I need to believe?" We've actually already covered these core beliefs.
1. All have sinned…you’re a sinner separated from God
2. We can’t be made right with God by doing right… you’re not able to save yourself
3. Jesus died in our place…Jesus died for our sins and that His sacrifice was acceptable to God because He was the divine, sinless son of God.
4. Jesus was raised on the third day…His sin offering was accepted and He overcame death
that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; 10 for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth, he confesses, resulting in salvation. 11 For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes in Him will not be disappointed. Romans 10:9-11
The writer of Hebrews tells us that faith is an absolute requirement.
And without faith, it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him. Hebrews 11:6
It’s not a complex belief, but it is definitely required.
I like The Message paraphrase here:
Say the welcoming word to God—"Jesus is my Master"—embracing, body and soul, God's work of doing in us what he did in raising Jesus from the dead. That's it. You're not "doing" anything; you're simply calling out to God, trusting him to do it for you. That's salvation. With your whole being you embrace God setting things right, and then you say it, right out loud: "God has set everything right between him and me!" Romans 10:9-10
Repent – Turn Away From Sin Toward God
If you have a Bible, turn to the concordance in the back and look for the word “repent.” If you don’t have a hard copy, click here and search on the word. You’ll see that Jesus Himself taught repentance as a requirement.
Repent simply means turning away from something and toward something else. We are to turn away from sin and toward God.
I believe that repentance is a natural outgrowth of the faith required. When you love Christ and recognize His sacrifice for you, you will not want to sin anymore.
Confess Jesus Is Lord…You’re Not the Boss Anymore
It makes sense, doesn’t it? Jesus is the divine Son of God who came to earth to show us the way to be right with God the Father.
In fact, He said of Himself,
… “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me. John 14:6
Notice how definite and specific this is. There is no ambiguity here. And it seems bold and exclusive to our culture. Yet why would He suffer the agony of crucifixion if there were other ways someone could be in right relationship with God?
Go back to Romans 10:9, 10 as a reminder.
that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; 10 for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth, he confesses, resulting in salvation. Romans 10:9-10
I’ll never forget when a friend’s young daughter wanted to be baptized but stated quite defiantly, at age 4, that she didn’t want Jesus to be the boss of her! The friend wisely taught her daughter that she was not yet ready to follow Jesus and be saved. Her little girl eventually surrendered to Christ as Lord and serves Him still as an adult.
In Philippians 2:11 we’re taught that ultimately, EVERY KNEE will bow and confess Jesus as Lord. But that will be at a time to come after the opportunity to be saved from sin has passed.
To be saved from the penalty of sin, you must confess that Jesus is Lord.
Call On His Name - The Beautiful Name
... for “Whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved.” Romans 10:9-11
And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.” Acts 4:12
Isn’t it interesting that it is THE NAME we call on? I am thankful for great Bible scholars who can help us here. I found a beneficial explanation by John Piper for this concept.
the name refers to the essence, the defining reality of the person. And you see it repeatedly that the word stands in the place of some defining aspect of the person. You see again and again where the name and the person are interchangeable…i
What a beautiful name to call on! Call on God come to earth to walk around with humans so He could relate. Call on His lordship. Call on His divine sonship. Call on the great love for us that resulted in mercy and grace toward us. Call on His great and precious promises that you haven’t even learned yet.
It’s Not A Linear Process
Don’t worry if you believe you are saved and you did not do these things in the order stated here. Your back story might be such that you experienced all of these almost at once. God doesn’t work in every person’s life in exactly the same way and timing.
But you must act on your faith (that He has given or will give you) to take hold of the great gift of salvation offered freely in Christ.
Have you already accepted Christ as Savior? Wonderful. I trust this review has been helpful and encouraging to you.
Are you ready to accept Christ’s gift? You can do it now! Or if you would like some additional instruction or have questions, you can reply to this email or click “Contact” in the menu. I will get with you as quickly as possible.
I am praying for every reader to take hold of Christ by faith and desire to grow in Him and share with someone else.
Enjoy this fabulous song that details so many reasons the name of Jesus Christ is beautiful and powerful.