*All men are sinners.
“For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23)
“As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.” (Romans 3:10-12)
“For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in onepoint, he isguilty of all.” (James 2:10)
* God is holy and will judge all sin.
“God judgeth the righteous, and God is angry with the wicked every day.” (Psalm 7:11)
“For thou art not a God that hath pleasure in wickedness: neither shall evil dwell with thee. The foolish shall not stand in thy sight: thou hatest all workers of iniquity.” (psalm 5:4-5)
“The wages of sin is death …” (Romans 6:23a)
“And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.” (Revelation 20: 14-15)
“And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul; but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” (Matthew 10:28)
* Many people are deceived, thinking they will go to heaven, when most will not.
“Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat:
Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it. ” (Matthew 7:13-14)
“Many will say to me in that day,Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” (Matthew 7:22-23)
* * * Some common errors * * * of those who are deceived concerning their own salvation.
They say “I am a good person. I have obeyed God.”
The Bible says “Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.” (Romans 3:20)
“As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one. ” (Romans 3:10)
They say “I am a religious person, I frequently go to church.”
The Bible says “Even so ye outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity.” (Matthew 23:28. Jesus is speaking to the religious rulers ofHis day.)
They say “I believe that Jesus died for my sins, thus I am saved.”
The Bible says “Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.” (James2:19)
A mere intellectual consent to the facts of the gospel is not saving faith. The faith mentioned in John 3:16 and elsewhere is a faith that comes from God and contains the idea of trust. Man needs the faith that comes from God.
The only solution to man’s sin problem, according to Jesus Christ, is the new birth.
“Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” (John 3:3)
Q-What does it mean to be “born again”?
A- To be born again is to become a brand new person! It is having your sins forgiven through the blood of Christ. It is to become a disciple of Christ, ever loving and serving him with the whole of your being.
“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. “(2 Corinthians 5:17)
“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. ” (Romans 12:1)
It must be noted that a person does not become a new creature by virtue of his own effort. If conversion was nothing more than our attempting to reform our lives in accordance with Christ’s teachings, then conversion would be the work of man. But scripture is plain that “salvation is of the Lord.” To be born again is the work of God!
“Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh isflesh; and that which is born of the Spirit isspirit. ” (John 3:5-6)
“For it is God which worketh inyou both to will and to do of his good pleasure. ” (philippians 2:13)
“Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will. ” (Ephesians 1:5)
Q- How does God make someone into a “new creature”?
A- By giving them abrand new heart, with new desires and different motivations.
“A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them. “(EzekieI36:26-27)
See also Hebrews 10:16-18.
Q- How can I have God do this for me? How can I be born again?
A- The answer to this question can be broken down into three parts.
I-Understand what the gospel of Jesus Christ is.
The Bible teaches that Jesus Christ died on the cross for the sins of His people, bearing in His own person the guilt and punishment that was due them for their sins.
“But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.” (Isaiah 53:5-6)
“For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. “(2 Corinthians 5:21)
“But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ diedfor us. Much more then, being nowjustified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life. “(Romans 5:8-10)
In addition, the Apostle Paul defined the Gospel for us in his letter to the believers at Corinth …
“For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ diedfor our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures.” (I Corinthians 15:3-4)
Christ is the lamb of God, the sacrifice offered by God on our behalf. It is only through the shed blood of Christ that sins can be forgiven.
II- Believe the Gospel and put your faith and trust in Jesus Christ.
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. “(Jolm 3:16)
“Then he calledfor a light, and sprang in, and came trembling, andfell down before Paul and Silas, And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved? And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house. ” (Acts 16:29-31)
“For I am not ashamed of thegospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.” (Romans l:16)
Our salvation is not based upon church membership, baptism, or any good works performed by us, but through faith in what Christ has done.
III-Ask the Lord to save you.
The very act of asking for His salvation is an admission of guilt for sin, and is a form of repentance
“That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” (Romans 10: 9-10)
“Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh, findeth; and to him that knocketh itshall be opened.” (Matthew 7:7)
Q- But what in am not one of God’s elect? Will He reject me even though I desire His forgiveness?
A- The Bible teaches that all those who come to Christ seeking forgiveness and salvation shall indeed receive it, and that it is only the elect that shall have that desire in the first place. The desire to be saved and to serve Him is the sure mark that God is calling you.
“All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.” (John 6:37)
“No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him; and I will raise him up at the last day.” (John 6:44)
All those who are born again through faith in Jesus Christ have entered into the kingdom of God. Being now the sons of Abraham by faith (Galatians 3:29), they have been grafted into the commonwealth of Israel (Ephesians 2:12,19), and now constitute God’s holy nation (1 Peter 2:9), the true Israel of God (Galatians 6:16). Their inheritance is eternal life and the forgiveness of all sin. They have become one of the sons of God! Their salvation is assured, and God will bless and guide them all through life, preserving them until the Day of Judgment.
On that Day, you can stand before a Holy God either with Christ or without Him. You will either stand in the power of His shed blood, or on your own merit. Which will it be?
Rev. James C. Gallagher