It has taken me quite some time to really think about how to approach The Answer to The Sin Problem. But I think, as always, it would be best to let the Bible do the talking.
Up until this point, I don’t think there are very many people out there who have really had any contrary ideas based on what has been shared out of the scripture, which is a good thing considering that anything contrary to the scriptures is not of God.
However, if there were a post that would generate some attention, it would be this one. Finding grace and salvation is one of the most highly debated topics through the denominational world. But for an honest person, the revealed Gospel is very clear on what is required to be forgiven of our sins and find that salvation.
I’ll go ahead and say that today we won’t be looking at any false doctrines or ideas of man, but rather we will cover what the scripture says about how to be saved.
Based on the previous posts in this series, we have a better understanding of what sin is, how it separates us from God, and how to determine what sins we have in our lives and also how we can help others by judging righteous judgment. So today, we’ll finally be looking at that burning question that we should all have: What must I do to be saved? How can I have my sins forgiven of me?
In essence, God’s plan of salvation at a high level is a two-part plan: God’s part and man’s part (or our part). We cannot be saved unless we are willing to hold up our end of the deal.
Our part can be broken down into a few very simple steps:
- Be Baptized
- Continue Living Faithfully
What we will be doing in this post is looking at these in more detail so that we can understand how to become blameless for the sins that we have in our lives.
As we see above, the first thing that we have to do is hear the word of God. Another way to think about hearing in the biblical sense is being drawn or taught, as we can see in John chapter 6.
44 No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day. 45 It is written in the prophets, ‘And they shall all be taught by God.’ Therefore everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to Me.
You can’t really expect people to just hear that a man named Jesus died on a cross for us and expect them to just fall head over heels for that story. Even Jesus Himself knew that people needed proof and needed to be taught. That is why we have the Bible – the revealed, inspired word of God – that we can use for our knowledge and salvation.
So what naturally would come after hearing? Believing. We must believe and have faith that Jesus is the Son of God, that He came and lived as a man, and died a cruel death for our sins, and conquered death and was raised again. We must have that faith, but faith in Jesus Christ only comes from the word of God.
“Faith Comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God
If we have this faith and seek God diligently, we will be able to find salvation. But if we do not have faith, Jesus has already told us what will happen to us.
Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for if you do not believe that I am He, you will die in your sins.”
Once we have heard and been drawn by the word of God, and once have faith in Christ, the next natural step is to repent of our sins. Simply put, repentance is Godly sorrow which leads to a change of mind which leads to a change of action. Note that just feeling sorry or having worldly sorrow is not enough.
2 Corinthians 7:10
For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death.
Again, Jesus Himself even warns us what will happen if we do not seek repentance
I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish.
Again, naturally, the next piece to finding salvation is to confess that Jesus is the Son of God. This step, like all of the others, is very straightforward to understand and to follow, but it can be difficult for some people. Some people are worried about what their friends or families might think, others are concerned that people might think of them differently. Whatever the worry might be, this is something that every one of us has to do and has been commanded to do through the scripture in Matthew 10:32
“Therefore whoever confess Me before men, him I will also confess before my Father who is in Heaven.”
If we won’t confess and vouch for Jesus while we are here on this earth, then why would he confess and vouch for us when the Day of Judgment comes?
This next step, in all seriousness, is definitely the most highly debated steps in the plan of salvation. Many people for some reason want to twist the scripture or ignore one of the biggest, most clearly defined commandments that can be found in the scripture. It is talked about time and time again throughout the New Testament, yet for some reason people want to be self-righteous and dishonest and lead people to believe that you only have to have faith to be saved. And that commandment is baptism.
The first thing that should tell us that baptism is absolutely necessary is that fact that Jesus Himself was baptized.
13 Then Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan to be baptized by him. 14 And John tried to prevent Him, saying, “I need to be baptized by You, and are You coming to me?”
15 But Jesus answered and said to him, “Permit it to be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” Then he allowed Him.
16 When He had been baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened to Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting upon Him. 17 And suddenly a voice came from heaven, saying, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”
If we are to follow the example of Jesus, why would we not do what He did here? If it was fitting for Jesus to be baptized to fulfill all righteousness, why would it not be for us? If it was pleasing to God that Jesus was baptized, don’t you think it would be pleasing to God for us to be baptized?
The next passage we should look at to see the necessity of baptism can be found in Mark 16:16. Again, this is Jesus Himself giving direction for all on how to be saved. It doesn’t get much clearer than this:
“He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he does not believe will be condemned”
Again, in the book of John, when Jesus was asked by Nicodemus how to be saved, we see His answer pointing to baptism
3 Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”4 Nicodemus said to Him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?”5 Jesus answered, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.
Even in 1 Peter, Peter first used the example of Noah and his family being saved from the waters of the flood, he continues in chapter 3 verse 21 by saying this:
1 Peter 3:21
There is also an antitype which now saves us—baptism (not the removal of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God), through the resurrection of Jesus Christ,
I’m not sure how much more proof anyone could possibly need, but if were to look at Acts chapter 2, during the day of Pentecost, we find that after Peter gave his sermon, the people there were pricked in their hearts and asked Peter “What must we do to be saved?” – the same question we asked at the beginning of this post. And Peter’s answer was clear as day in verse 38:
Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
If someone were to read the book of Acts, they would find a lot of conversion stories. People following the commandments of Christ, wanting so badly to be saved, and all of them having the same things in common:
- They heard the word of God and were drawn to it
- They believed that Jesus was the Son of God
- They repented and sought forgiveness of the sins they had in their lives
- They confessed Jesus as the Savior
- And they were all baptized
But the last thing that we must do after following these other clearly defined steps is to live faithfully. We must continue to live by the standards and examples set by the scripture, and avoid letting those sins creep back into our lives. We all will sin from time to time, but thankfully, we can always look to God for forgiveness.
So this is where we leave off with The Sin Problem – The Solution. A few simple – but incredibly necessary – to have our sins forgiven of us and held against us no more!
Next, we will start our series on Christian Living – Continuing to Live Faithfully. We’ll be looking at a number of topics and covering problems that many of us have had to overcome or deal with in our everyday lives.
As always, I thank you for reading and look forward to continuing to share God’s word with you! Any thoughts or questions are always welcome!