WHAT mATTERS? The Cross
Belief in the Gospel is the only requirement that God looks for in the heart of man for Him to give eternal life. It is that simple. No rituals, no trying hard to please God, no good works, nothing other than belief and trust in the finished work of the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus for eternal life period. It boils down to simply trusting God and what He has revealed. Unfortunately, after being drawn to God by the revelation of Himself, too many people stop seeking the light God has revealed and end up creating a god in their own image. Seeking to be wise in their own eyes, they become fools in God’s. So, it is important to realize that there is more information and revelation that goes on in a man’s heart that will lead him to repentance, and thus salvation, other than just by “believing in Jesus, and receiving Him in your heart as your personal savior.” What is some of that key information that God wants to reveal?
Jesus said this in John 7:37-38, "If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart shall flow rivers of living water." The emphasis being, believing on Jesus “as the scripture has said.” There are many cults that claim to believe in Jesus, but the Jesus they believe in is different from the Jesus of scripture. The same argument holds true for the Gospel. Paul said that there were other “gospels” being preached, which either added works, or authorities contrary to the Bible, or that denied the person and deity of Jesus, but those gospels are false, and those that preach such are accursed. Galatians 1:6-9
I have long pondered about why Paul placed such emphasis on the cross, and not on the resurrection, when first presenting Jesus to the Corinthians. 1 Corinthians 1:18-2:5. Paul does go into great detail on the importance of the resurrection later on in 1 Corinthians 15, but I have come to realize that the foundation of the Gospel for the unsaved world, is first in the cross. God reveals that mankind is condemned because of the sin of Adam. Romans 5:16, 18a Condemnation doesn’t come because of mankind’s personal sins. The personal sins a man commits are simply the result of his being born spiritually dead with the sinful nature of Adam. Romans 3:10,23; 6:23a The “good news” of the Gospel is that Jesus paid the penalty on the cross for all of mankind’s sin and sins. The barrier that separated man from God was removed forever by the death of Jesus on the cross. This is the good news that Paul conveyed to the Corinthians at the first and that we are to convey when preaching the Gospel. 2 Corinthians 5:19 confirms, “…that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them, and has committed unto us the word of reconciliation.” Once that truth has been established, then the rest of the good news of forgiveness of sins, and being born again to eternal life, by belief and confession of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus can be shared. God’s condemnation for unbelief is then removed if one believes the Gospel.
What matters is that we understand the workings of God so that we can convey that information to the unsaved world. Our responsibility is to be obedient to preach the Gospel and pray. It is God’s responsibility to give understanding and save the lost.