WHAT mATTERS? SIMPLICITY
What must someone know, or do, or be, to be saved? Jesus said, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye and believe the gospel.” Mark 1:15 But, a blind man can’t read the Gospel. A deaf man can’t hear the Gospel. A dumb man can’t verbally confess the Gospel of the Lord Jesus. A man without a brain can’t intellectually acknowledge anything. What about a baby in the womb? What if you were all of those? Could God still save you? Yes, because God is the one who saves by speaking truth to one’s spirit, not their intellect. He first reveals to the unsaved person, his lost condition because of Adam’s sin and its consequences. God then reaches out to that man, revealing God’s saving character, identity, attributes, grace, love, justice, and mercy. I encourage you to take a couple of minutes to re-read 1 Corinthians 1:18-2:16, which affirms these truths.
The debate has gone on for centuries, but it boils down to this. One must believe what God does reveal, not what He doesn’t. Here is a prime example among hundreds of facts as revealed in scripture where we could get into an argument. Jesus was born of a virgin. Do you have to believe that to be saved? No. Is it true? Yes. But if you don’t believe it because of human reasonings or the teachings of men contrary to scripture, the Holy Spirit will have to correct your understanding first, to be in accord with His truth, or else He will make it a non-issue until later.
The Bible clearly states emphatically that one must by faith believe the Gospel, adding nothing to it, nor subtracting anything from the complete finished work of Jesus on the cross for mankind’s salvation. “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God.” Ephesians 2:8 “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth…” Romans 1:16 The question then becomes, “what is the Gospel so I can believe it?” You could broadly say it is the whole Bible, or perhaps the first four books of the New Testament, or as Paul simplified it “…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” 1 Corinthians 15:3-4 He even reduced it to only five words, “For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.” 1 Corinthians 2:2 The name Jesus means “Jehovah God is salvation.” Jesus is the Gospel, the good news, the answer to all.
When I became born again, I only remember knowing in my spirit that I was a lost sinner, I couldn’t do anything to save myself and that Jesus had already done everything for me to receive eternal life if I trusted Him. I simply cried out to God, “I believe you. Please save me.” There are thousands of different ways to say it, but God looks on the heart that believes the Gospel, not the intellect. No magic formula, no special prayer. What matters is, have you believed it? It’s that simple.