The Gospel Message
“Now, brothers and sisters, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain. For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas(Peter), and then to the Twelve. After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers and sisters at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep.”
1 Corinthians 15:1-6
We believe that the Bible is the true and inerrant Word of God. We believe that it contains the only method of salvation for mankind. So when looking for an answer to the most difficult question ever asked ,”Who can be saved and how?” We must go to the Bible for the answer.
In the Passage mentioned above, the Apostle Paul was writing to the people of the city of Corinth in the first century. They had believed in false gods for centuries but Paul had gone to them some time before and shared with them the truth of Jesus Christ. They accepted this truth, rejected the faiths of their fathers and chose to follow Christ. The book of 1 Corinthians is written as a letter giving exhortation, correction and instruction. It was written because they seemed to be falling under the influence of false teachers who were telling them that there was another way to be saved. That there were things they didn’t need to do (repent and change from immoral living.) But Paul was reminding them of the Salvation message they had first heard and accepted from him.
The message was simple:
Jesus Christ, the Son of God, died for our sins. This means we are sinners who needed a Saviour. We are not perfect. Now today most people like to wear that statement almost as a badge of honour. “Of course I am not perfect, no one is! I am only human!” And that is all true. However, Jesus was perfect. He was God. Hank Hanegraff defends this perfectly:
“Jesus claimed to be the unique Son of God. As a result, the Jewish leaders tried to kill Him because in “calling God his own Father, [Jesus was] making himself equal with God” (John 5:18). In John 8:58 Jesus went so far as to use the very words by which God revealed Himself to Moses from the burning bush (Exod. 3:14). To the Jews this was the epitome of blasphemy, for they knew that in doing so Jesus was clearly claiming to be God. On yet another occasion, Jesus explicitly told the Jews: “‘I and the Father are one.’ Again the Jews picked up stones to stone him, but Jesus said to them, ‘I have shown you many great miracles from the Father. For which of these do you stone me?’ ‘We are not stoning you for any of these,’ replied the Jews, ‘but for blasphemy, because you, a mere man, claim to be God’” (John 10:30–33).
Furthermore, Jesus made an unmistakable claim to deity before the chief priests and the whole Sanhedrin. Caiaphas the high priest asked Him: “‘Are you the Christ, the Son of the Blessed One?’ ‘I am,’ said Jesus. ‘And you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven’” (Mark14:61–62). A religiously illiterate person might well have missed the import of Jesus’ words. Caiaphas and the council, however, did not. They knew that in saying he was “the Son of Man” who would come “on the clouds of heaven” he was making an overt reference to the Son of Man in Daniel’s prophecy with David’s proclamation in Psalm 110, Jesus was claiming that He would sit upon the throne of Israel’s God and share God’s very glory. To students of the Old Testament this was the height of “blasphemy,” thus “they all condemned him as worthy of death” (Mark14:64–65).
Finally, Jesus claimed to possess the very attributes of God. For example, He claimed omniscience by telling Peter, “This very night, before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times” (Matt.26:34); declared omnipotence by not only resurrecting Lazarus (John11:43) but by raising Himself from the dead (John2:19); and professed omnipresence by promising that He would be with His disciples “to the very end of the age” (Matt.28:20). Not only so, but Jesus said to the paralytic in Luke5:20, “Friend, your sins are forgiven.” In doing so, He claimed a prerogative reserved for God alone. In addition, when Thomas worshiped Jesus saying “My Lord and my God!” (John20:28), Jesus responded with commendation rather than condemnation.
So Jesus is God and He said He came to set sinners free. He lived a sinless life as the God/Man . He died on a cross as the final sacrifice for sin. He conquered sin and death by coming back to life three days after His crucifixion and appeared to the Apostles, then to over 500 others. His death and resurrection are recorded not just in the Bible but also in the ancient writings of Josephus, Pliny, Tacitus, the Talmud, and Lucian. It has been said that there is more historical proof that Jesus was who He was and did what He did than there is that Hitler existed.
It is essential that you understand this point. There is no purpose in pursuing Christianity if you do not believe that Jesus is God.
The second essential thing to wrestle with is that we are sinners. This is not really too hard for most of us to accept. As I said before, we know that no one is perfect. But we try really hard to be “good people” and thus expect to be welcomed into heaven when we die. The problem is that God is 100% Holy in which no sin resides. He will not welcome the presence of an unsaved sinner. His Son, Jesus, was part of God’s (the Trinity’s) perfect plan of redemption for mankind. When a person realizes that they are a sinner and need help, if they cry out to Jesus to save them, He does so. Nothing else is required. The proof of that changed life and salvation comes to light as we live life. Christians (followers of Jesus the Christ) want to serve Him and live lives that Glorify Him. This is where the Bible is so very helpful especially the New Testament letters as the majority of the people written to were not raised in cultures that believed in Jesus. So none of the early church really know what was required of them in their lifestyle. Jesus basically told people, “Your sins are forgiven, go and do not keep on living the same way,”
So if you understand that Jesus is God (one equal part of the Trinity – Father, Son and Holy Spirit),
If you also understand that you are a sinner who needs a Saviour.
If you have decided that it is your desire to live your life for and with Jesus at the center.
Then: Pray and talk to God about it, repent (say sorry and mean it), find a Bible and read it so you can learn for yourself what Jesus desires for you. He gave everything for you, you owe Him everything and should desire to serve Him because of that thankfulness. Look for a Bible believing church to become part of as they walk with you into freedom in Christ.
There is no magic prayer or special words you need to say. Just talk to God about who you are and who He is. Learn to love Him for that. Enjoy the wonderful world of being a true Christian (Christ follower) not just one by tradition.
You will never be the same and you will love it!