HOW AM I SAVED?
FCC exists to glorify God and part of that endeavor is to see unbelievers come to know Jesus Christ as personal Lord and Savior, becoming committed followers of Christ. How does someone become a true believer and committed follower of Jesus Christ? We believe this involves much more than repeating a simple prayer or coming forward in a meeting and signing a card, or being baptized by water, or going through a profession of faith class. We believe salvation belongs solely to the Lord and involves His miraculous act of regeneration in the life of an unbeliever. However, God has not created men to be robots and there must be cooperation on the part of the believing sinner. The following is what we believe the Bible teaches on this miraculous act of salvation known as the A, B, C’s and D’s of salvation.
You must ADMIT something
You must BELIEVE something
You must CONSIDER something
You must DO something
You must ADMIT something
First of all you must admit you are a sinner. “All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God” Romans 3:23. Each of us have broken God’s holy Laws and miserably failed to keep any of them and will receive the just due penalty. We have fallen short of always honoring our parents. We have tolerated sin and untruthfulness, been envious of our neighbor. We may not have literally murdered or committed adultery but we have entertained thoughts that according to God’s Law are equal to the act. It is our natural tendency to think that when we face God someday our good deeds will outweigh our bad and God will allow us into heaven, after all, He is a loving God. It is our natural tendency not to think we are all that bad to deserve hell, after all, I am not as bad as so and so who’s a drug dealer. It is also our natural tendency not to own up to our personal sin but to place blame on our circumstances or parental genetics. None of these natural tendencies will hold up in God’s just court of law and because we know not the God in whom we all have deeply offended by our personal sin; man by his sinful nature will be condemned to eternity in hell. God cannot and will not tolerate sin because of who He is. God is holy, righteous, and just in the truest and fullest meaning of these terms. He has declared all men guilty, pronounced judgment on all men because all have sinned and the just penalty is death, “The soul that sins must die.” Sin is a very serious matter to God and on judgment day His holy righteous anger against sin will be displayed in the full fury of God’s wrath and He will cast all who have sinned into the eternal lake of fire, forever. This is what all men from all time deserve. This is what you deserve.
So how do we come to this place where we admit that we are sinners? This is something God does. Jesus said to His disciples that He would send the Holy Spirit “When He comes, He will convict the world of sin, righteousness and judgment” John 16:8.
You must BELIEVE something
You cannot save yourself from your sin and God’s wrath. Only God can save you and God sent His one and only Son, Jesus Christ into this world to save sinners like whom you’ve just admitted yourself to be. Jesus Christ is God the Son, God of very God who became a Man, the perfect Man, who came into this world full of grace and truth to redeem a people like you for Himself. So you must believe that God has made provision for your sin through the Person of Jesus Christ and the Work He accomplished for you on Calvary’s cross. Jesus Christ paid the full price for your sin by becoming your Substitute receiving the full fury of God’s wrath against sin on Himself. “He Himself bore our (your) sin in His body on the tree.” “He was crushed for our (your) iniquities…” Jesus Christ’s suffering and death on the cross on your behalf, in your place, as your Substitute appeased the holy wrath of God against you because of your sin; in short, Jesus Christ suffered and died for you. In a very real sense, God saved you from Himself through His Son. You must believe that can save, “And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other Name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved” Acts 4:12. You must believe that the only way to approach God who is absolute holiness is by Jesus because He is “the only way, truth, and life and no one comes to the Father except by Him” John 14:6.
Jesus died on the cross and before He gave up His Spirit He said, “It is finished.” He fulfilled all righteousness. He completed His mission. He satisfied all His Father righteous demands of the Law. Jesus Christ silenced all that God’s holy Law has to say about your sin. He willingly gave His life for you, He suffered and died. Jesus’ body was placed in a tomb and His enemies thought the Jesus movement of the day was over, but little did they know that on the third day Jesus would rise again from the dead, the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ! He defeated physical death, He arose and He is alive and He appeared to several witnesses before ascending back to His rightful place at His Father’s right hand of glory, power, majesty and honor where He now is the great advocate for all who believe. You must believe in the atoning death of Jesus Christ, His Substitutionary work for you, His bodily resurrection and ascension.
You must CONSIDER something
You must consider the cost and understand that although salvation is the free gift of God there is cost in becoming a true follower of Jesus Christ. He said, “If anyone would come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow Me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it.”
We must be careful how we understand this. The only thing we contribute to our salvation is our sin from which we need to be saved. We hold to the true saying that “salvation is by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone” but we would agree with the additional statement, “but true saving faith is never alone.” This implies that if one has truly received God’s gift of salvation in the Person and Work of God’s Son then there will be an initial relinquishing of “self rights” and an ongoing growing new life of selflessness. Jesus said there are one of two roads that one travels in life, a broad road and a narrow road and many are on the broad road that leads to destruction but few on the narrow road leading to life. This implies that the broad road is the way of this world that is most popular and the easier of the two roads to travel. The narrow road implies the most unpopular and difficult road in life because it goes against the tide of this world.
Salvation is the free gift of God but there is cost in following Jesus. There is cost in saying “No” to sin. There is cost in Jesus’ words, “Repent and believe”. There is cost in His words, “Come follow Me and I will make you fishers of men.”
“Repentance” has become an unpopular term in many of today’s American churches but it was a common important term used by Jesus and His disciples in the spreading of the gospel of Jesus Christ. It was an essential common term used of our early church fathers down through the ages of history, but in these last days it has either lost its true meaning or completely disappeared. Nevertheless, repentance is Biblical and essential in the proclamation of the true Gospel.
There are certain characteristics of repentance that are helpful to know in understanding Biblical repentance. Repentance involves…
1. A sense of shame similar to what David experience when he had committed adultery with Bathsheba and cried out to the Lord, “For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me. Against You, You only, have I sinned and done what is evil in Your sight” (Psa. 51:3-4).
2. This leads to a humbling. Instead of attempting to justify our sin or place the blame on circumstances or someone else, we “own up” and acknowledge our personal accountability.
3. There is an accompanying sense of shame and regret. If we had been in the corner of the bedroom of the prodigal son on his first night home, I’m sure we would have heard the moans and seen the tears and watched in wonder as he kneeled by his bed sobbing over the wasted years and the squandered privileges. The memory of sin is distasteful to the truly penitent.
4. There is also recognition of God’s pardon. The kindness of God brings us to repentance (Rom. 2:4). While we are emphasizing the need for repentance at the gateway of faith in salvation, faith/repentance is something that continues all through life in the life of a believer.
There is cost in denying self or saying “No” to self.
What we mean by this is simply that Jesus Christ and His Kingdom purposes must come first before anyone or anything else. This is a sobering and challenging statement in the midst of a narcissistic culture that is absorbed with the “look out for #1” and becoming successful no matter what the cost as long as my best interests are in view. The “me, myself and I” mentality takes the back seat in the life of one who becomes a follower of Christ and this is something that can be accomplished only by the power of the Holy Spirit.
You must DO something
The old saying, “Talk is cheap. Actions speak louder than words” rings true of Biblcial Christianity. Genuine Christian faith means more that saying, “I believe in Jesus. I believe in God. I believe in the Bible.” After all, even the demons are orthodox when in this kind of belief but they are truly NOT Christians.
Christian faith is not a leap of blind faith. Christian faith is based on the evidences seen in creation, historical testimony of people, documentation of manuscripts known as the Holy Scriptures, but ultimately, Christian faith is based on the historical truth of the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. Biblical faith “is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” Saving faith has as its one and only Object the Lord Jesus Christ, the Object of saving faith must be Him. Faith is believing in the trustworthiness of God, accepting that His Word can be trusted and acting on that which you believe to be true. The old saying, “You will become that which you believe to be true” is accurate because your actions really are the truth-tell of what you truly believe.
Someone once said, “Mere mental assent to these facts of truth without any corresponding action no more brings us to personal faith than memorizing a menu allows us to enjoy a meal.” True Biblical faith means moving beyond the awareness of the existence of God, to a living personal relationship with Him through His Son, Jesus Christ.
If God is presently moving you by showing your greatest need to come to Jesus Christ in faith then you must forsake everything and trust Christ NOW! Today is the day of your salvation and it may not be tomorrow. The truth is salvation belongs to the Lord. He is God and He is faithful to His word. NO one can come to Jesus unless God the Father moves in the heart of that person. Is God moving you toward Jesus?
There is not magic formula, no special prayer to repeat, no ritual to go through, simply cry out to God for mercy! Repent and look to Him by faith for salvation. Tell Him of your sin. Admit to Him your inability to save yourself and that you truly believe Jesus Christ died in your place taking upon Himself your sin and the fury of God’s wrath against it. Tell Him, plead with Him to save your soul and to make you a new creature in and by His Son, Jesus Christ.