What must I do to be saved?
When I read the following passage from the Book of Romans it seems quite simple. Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. But is it that simple? Can I or another simply walk up to another and talk about someone they have not believed in? Is the formula that simple?
Romans 10:13-15; For "everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved." How, then, can people call on someone they have not believed? And how can they believe in someone they have not heard about? And how can they hear without someone preaching? And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written, "How beautiful are the feet of those who bring the good news!"
The book of Romans is what we call a theological treatise. It is a book communicating the origins of mankind's problems, (condemnation) how to make peace with God, (justification) and what happens during the Christian life, (sanctification).
Paul took the beginning of Romans, that is, one fourth of this book, to communicate and establish bad news for mankind. Think of it like this if I may use an analogy. When you go to a jewelry store and ask to see a diamond, does the store clerk lay the diamond on the glass or does the clerk lay the diamond on a piece of black velvet? Most of us would agree that he or she lays the diamond on the velvet in order to show contrast. In order to see the beauty and brilliance of the diamond there must be a contrasting backdrop. Paul brings out the black velvet first, (the bad news) and then lays salvation upon it so we may get an understanding for the beauty of the good news.
He establishes a foundation that men have missed.
Men and women in todays churches are quick to say we are going to hell because of our sins. If this is your understanding then I submit, you may not be telling another the truth about their condition. I ask you to read again what it says in Romans 1. First question; why does the wrath of God abide upon mankind? One simple word; idolatry!
Romans 1:18-23 For God's wrath is being revealed from heaven against all the ungodliness and wickedness of those who in their wickedness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God himself has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world his invisible attributes-his eternal power and divine nature-have been understood and observed by what he made, so that people are without excuse. For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him. Instead, their thoughts turned to worthless things, and their ignorant hearts were darkened. Though claiming to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images that looked like mortal human beings, birds, four-footed animals, and reptiles.
Please pay close attention to what Paul is saying. We know God exists and yet, because we are dead in trespasses and sins due to the nature we inherited from Adam, we take this knowledge that is not only seen, but is also innate within us, and we suppress it. We hold down the truth and at the same time, we find something to put in the place of God's truth. At the end of verse 23 what do we read?
Romans 1:24-25 For this reason, God gave them over to impurity to follow the lusts of their hearts and to dishonor their bodies with one another. They exchanged God's truth for a lie and worshiped and served the creation rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen. For this reason, is the effect of a cause. In other words, because we suppress the truth of God we therefore are given over to the fruit of idolatry. Please note the emphasis of the phrase “God gave them over.”
Why are there so many religions out there? Why so many cults and false religions and quacks? Here is your reason. God gives the idolater over to the the effect of idolatry; lusts of their hearts, dishonor of their bodies, exchange God's truth for a lie, worship and serve the creation rather than the Creator.
If you continue on in Romans 1 you read again the words “for this reason.”
Romans 1:26 “for this reason God gives them over to degrading passions...” (Homosexuality) Paul re-emphasizes again the results of willful disregard for God by saying in Romans 1:28; Furthermore, because they did not think it worthwhile to retain the full knowledge of God, God gave them over to degraded minds to perform acts that should not be done.
With this brief introduction, let me say this is why we have such great confusion in the Church at large. Because of the misunderstanding of Romans 1, men seek to persuade others to stop sinning. Do not misunderstand what I am saying here, I am not saying we should disregard calling men and women to repent of their sins, but what good does it do if we fix the effect and not the cause? I contend it is much more than just a moral matter. It is an idolatry matter first.
The Mormons, the JW's, the Roman Catholics the Muslims, etc seem to have a good working knowledge about sin and most abstain from their many sins to be in conformity with the Organization they belong to. If you sin, the Organization can assign or prescribe a remedy or quick fix to get you out of the problem. But they fail to identify the issue that causes them to sin. Idolatry! We see this with AA. They have solved a matter that once consumed them only to turn to a higher power, which translated in most cases, is a god in their image.
The refusal to regard the full knowledge of God. The exchanging of the truth of God for a lie. The habitual desire to suppress the truth of God. Why does the wrath of God abide and remain on the “religious” person? Because, he or she knows of God's invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, and they have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.
Christianity, (when understood correctly) reverses the problem and calls all men to repent of their idolatry first. It commands all men to return to their Maker at this time and stop suppressing the truth of God. In turn that man or woman will no longer be given over to their evil inclinations as a way of life. They will not remain in a state of habitual sin.
To believe on the Lord Jesus is commanded by God. You cannot go to the Father unless you go through the person, nature and work of the Son. Jesus lived the life we were commanded to live and he died the death that we deserved. He is our substitute if we will submit to the call of God.
Todays churches simply toss out a positive message and a list of dos and donts. They, like other false religions, focus on the attitude “don't smoke, don't chew, don't go with girls that do.” Ultimately, whether they or the followers recognize this or not, they are under a system of moralism. A system of human effort, a system of trying to keep the Law.
People are naturally attracted to human works/efforts because they refuse the God of Creation and his gospel. One needs only read the history of the false religions that rose up during the history of the Jews. It cannot be denied that there was a "god" in their religion, but where did that god come from? The mind of man, the imaginations of a persons heart must never be underestimated. One person has said that the mind is an idol maker. Without the truth of God men will suppress the truth of God and find a substitute.
As I have tried to drill it into the reader, when we suppress the truth of God we find something or someone to replace Him. It is perfectly natural for the natural man to be attracted to moralism and the teachers of moralism because it is a fruit of idolatry. This is why there are so many who are drawn to TV personalities. These men and women substitute the Creator and His gospel for other gospels that include them in the salvation process. They are attracted to like minded people and therefore like to hear from those who will tickle their ears by telling them God will accept your good works.
What must I do to be saved?
It requires a work of God in your life. As Peter said;
Acts 2:29-39; "Brothers, I may say to you with confidence about the patriarch David that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. Being therefore a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him that he would set one of his descendants on his throne, he foresaw and spoke about the resurrection of the Christ, that he was not abandoned to Hades, nor did his flesh see corruption. This Jesus God raised up, and of that we all are witnesses. Being therefore exalted at the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, he has poured out this that you yourselves are seeing and hearing. For David did not ascend into the heavens, but he himself says, "'The Lord said to my Lord, Sit at my right hand, until I make your enemies your footstool.'
Let all the house of Israel therefore know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified." Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, "Brothers, what shall we do?" And Peter said to them, "Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself."
Please also note the end of verse 39; “the promise is to everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself.” There must be a calling! Jesus said, “no one can come to the Son unless the Father draws him. He later says in John 6:65, that if you are to come to the Son, that it "must be granted to you by the Father."
Otherwise, you may hear the message and walk away or you may hear the message and put your twist into it to make it more accepting or palatable.
When someone accepts a teaching from the Scripture and has to add or take away its direct meaning then that is a sign that they did not hear the Master's voice.
It is done outside of you so that you cannot take any credit for receiving this gift from God. Listen to what Paul said in his letter to the Romans. Recognize that you have been given over to the fruits of idolatry because you are continually suppressing the truth of God. Even the atheist can say he or she lives a moral life, but again, what is their creed? “There is no God.” Translated? Idolatry!
Humble yourself, put away any pride and agree with God that He is sovereign and He controls all events, all things that take place in the heavens and on earth and in the lives of His creatures.
You must reject this spirit of the age that wants you to believe you are the Captain of your ship and the Master of your fate. This is pagan Greek philosophy introduced into and continued/maintained through the Roman Catholic Church and later introduced into the protestant movement. It is rampant in the Church at large today.
You must recognize that you are blind and utterly lost as a result of the fall and the resulting original sin reckoned judicially by God to all the sons of Adam (the entire human race) You are "dead in trespasses and sins" (Ephesians. 2:1) and that you are spiritually blind and deaf and entirely without any ability whatsoever either to move toward God on your own or to respond to His call without His irresistible and life-giving grace, drawing you mercifully to Himself
Acknowledge that, owing to the comprehensive and corrupting taint of sin upon all the faculties of your nature, i.e., your intellect, affections and will, you have absolutely nothing you can claim which commends you favorably to God: no good works, no morality, no righteousness, that, quite the contrary, all your righteousness is as "filthy rags" in His sight (Isaiah. 64:4). To put it bluntly from the Hebrew, all your righteousness is as menstrual clothes.
Tremble before the truth that you presently languish on God's "death row", a condemned criminal, a child of wrath and that "eternal destruction away from the presence of the Lord" is your destiny apart from a divine rescue
What is faith? It is trust.
Receive the Lord Jesus Christ by faith and rest in His finished work of redemption accomplished for you at Calvary. Come to Christ humbly yet confidently, knowing that He is "good, and ready to forgive, and abundant in loving kindness to all who call upon" Him!
Remember that faith does not save you, Christ saves you through faith, that gracious instrument freely bestowed upon all who have been "appointed to eternal life." As such, the "law of faith" excludes all boasting in human ability, effort, privilege or worth so that we simply, by faith, enter into the blessing of an already accomplished redemption
Rejoice that God has mercifully provided that rescue for His people through the substitutionary sacrifice of His eternal Son, Jesus Christ. Realize that on the cross Christ was made sin for sinners that they might receive pardon from sin's guilt, a new gracious standing in the righteousness of Jesus Christ and reconciliation with His holy Father.
Repent of your sins; turn from them specifically and decisively, cultivating a godly sorrow for them and a hatred of them. Be ready to make restitution where necessary as the Holy Spirit would lead.
Repent of your righteousness as well as your sins, those things you thought commended you to God, but which you now see to be but false hopes and filthy rags.
And, finally, rejoice in your new standing of grace and peace before God. And, because of the remnants of indwelling sin in your soul, flee daily to the cross for its sin-killing and sanctifying power through a continuing and daily practice of confession and repentance in the power of the Holy Spirit.
What must I do to be saved?
Trust in the finished work on the cross...He said “It is finished” which also means to say “ paid in full.”
Colossians 2:11-14; In him also you were circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the powerful working of God, who raised him from the dead. And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross.
The record of debt is paid and therefore canceled. Any religion or organization that teaches salvation is of man or can be obtained or maintained by man, you must flee from.
Ephesians 2:8-10; For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.