By Victor Akande
“And He said to them, Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He who believes and is baptized shall be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned” (Mark 16:15-16). This is the commandment of Jesus Christ to His disciples after His resurrection. This commandment declares plainly what men must do in order to be saved from their sins.
What is Salvation?
Salvation can be defined as deliverance or freedom from evil or impending calamity. Human history is filled with various example of such deliverance but I will like to make one example, the enslavement of the children of Israel in the land of Egypt. They were enslaved for 400 years and God sent Moses to deliver them from their task master (Exodus 12:40-14:31).
Why we need salvation?
It is true you are not under any kind of slavery physically but all men are under the slavery of sin (Romans 3:9) and its consequences (Romans 3:23; 6:23).During Jesus discussion with the people of His days He told them their need for freedom but they challenged Jesus Christ by saying they did not need salvation because they are not under slavery to anybody. Jesus Christ replied them that whoever commits sin is a slave of sin (John 8:32), the same thought was expressed by the Holy Spirit (Romans 6:16). This story shows that many do not really know their spiritual conditions; they erroneously assume that since all is well physically with them; it is automatic that all will be well with them spiritually. Secondly, as stated earlier, one can be free physically and still be in slavery spiritually. Freedom from spiritual slavery caused by sin will be the focus of our discussion in this article you are reading.
Sin is from a Greek word “ἁμαρτίαν”, “amartia” which simply means, “missing the mark.” The mark is perfection i.e. total submission to the law of God. We have violated the law of God at one time or the other. Sin is also defined as lawlessness (1John 3:4). This means to do contrary to the law of God. Another inspired writer define sin as “all unrighteousness is sin”(1John 5:17). This implies that every wrong action is sin. God Himself from the beginning announced to our first parent (Adam and Eve) the penalty attached to the violation of His commandment, the penalty of sin is death. In the Garden of Eden, God told Adam not to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil that the day he eats from it he will die (Genesis 2:16-17). God makes it clear in His word to Adam that if Adam disobeys Him, he (Adam) will forfeit his life to his sin (Genesis 2:17). This implies that Adam will die both physically and spiritually. The physical death is the separation of man soul from his body while spiritual death is the separation of man soul from God.
Adam and his wife were deceived by Satan to eat the fruit (Genesis 3:1-7; 1 Timothy 2:14), which God forbid them to eat, thereby sinned against the Holy God. Because of their sin, they died that same day spiritually, they were separated from God but they will later die physically. Since that time onward, all their offspring follow their footsteps of disobedience “for all men have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23) and thereby received the just penalty of their sin “For the wages of sin is death…” (Romans 6:23). Because of sin, human beings were separated from God both in time and eternity.
There is nothing we as human beings can do to save ourselves from the slavery of sin and its immediate and future penalty (Jeremiah 10:23), which is separation from God and eternity without God. We need a saviour. God love man so much because man is created in the image of God to have fellowship with him continually. This fellowship has been broken because of man’s sin (Isaiah 59:1-2), there is nothing man can do on his own part to save himself therefore man need a deliverer.
God in His love choose to deliver man by Himself in the person of Jesus Christ. “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). Jesus Christ is our substitutes; He was given to us by God to bore in his flesh the penalty of our sin, which is death. He lived a sinless life (John 8:46; 2 Corinthians 5:21; 1 Peter 2:22; Hebrews 4:15) which qualified Him to be our redeemer.
He willingly gave up His life on the cross of Calvary in order to save us from the power of sin and its consequences. “Therefore My Father loves me, because I lay down my life that I may take it again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down and I have power to take it again. This command I have received from my father.” (John 10:17-18). Jesus Christ had paid the penalty for our sin on the cross of Calvary and God has given us the proof that His sacrifice on the cross is acceptable to Him by raising Him up from the grave after the third day “who was delivered up because of our offenses, and was raised because of our justification” (Romans 4:25).
What must I do to be saved?
God has provided salvation for all humanity through the sacrifice of His son Jesus Christ and has made known what man must do on his own part to receive this blessing of salvation. Find below the simple outline of what Christ commanded His apostles to preach in order for man to be saved from the power of sin and its consequences as found in the Bible:
- Every man must hear the gospel of Christ (Romans 10:17);
- Every man must believe the gospel (Mark 16:15-16; Romans 10:10);
- Every man must repent from his sins (Luke 13:5; 24:46-47);
- Every man must confess Jesus Christ as the son of God (Matthew 10:32; Romans 10:9)
- Every man must be baptized by immersion in water (Matthew 28:18-20; Mark 16:15-16).
On the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:1) when the first gospel message was preached the apostles did not add or subtract from the word of God what men need to do to be saved. In all the conversions we read in the book of Acts, we see all the people that were converted did the same things for the salvation of their souls and the Lord added them to His Church. God is not a respecter of person (Acts 10:34) if you simply obey His word as they did you will get what they get, which is salvation.
Will you in simple faith in Christ obey the gospel by repenting from yours sin, confess Him as the son of God and be immersed in water for the forgiveness of your sin that you may received the gift of Holy Spirit which the Lord always gives to all obedient believers (Acts 2:37-39; 5:32)? Arise at this moment and obey your Saviour because tomorrow may be too late.
You are sincerely encouraged to take all the steps enumerated above. If you need assistance do not hesitate to contact us: firstname.lastname@example.org or call +2347063986643; +2348056048209.
Victor Akande is a gospel preacher working with the church of Christ, Ogo-Oluwa, Osogbo, Nigeria, he can be reached on +2347063986643.