“What must I do to be saved?”
“Truly truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” John 3:3
Over the last couple of posts, we’ve been discussing the Gospel. We took a look at the problem, which is sin. Because of our sin, we deserve eternal punishment. However, God provided the solution for our sin, by sending His one and only Son down to earth to live a sinless, perfect life. He died on the cross, paying the penalty for our sins, so that we might have eternal life. So we understand the the Problem and the Solution. Now, the question is, what must I do to be saved?
Jesus had a conversation with a man name Nicodemus regarding this very topic. Now, Nicodemus was a Pharisee… one of the religious elite. This man was a part of the group of religious leaders that Jesus was publicly rebuking for all of Israel to see. They were getting called out for their legalism, their hypocrisy and the fact that they were leading people astray. So here’s a man who was a part of this group of Pharisees coming to Jesus saying, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher come from God, for no one can do these signs that you do unless God is with him.”
Now, on a side note, these two men should have been enemies. Nicodemus knows this, and we see the evidence of this by the fact that he came to speak to Jesus “by night.” (John 3:1) However, Nicodemus starts off the conversations by acknowledging that “WE” know that Jesus is “a teacher come from God.” (John 3:2) The key word is “WE.” Why do I point that out? Because he wasn’t saying that only he knew this to be true, but not the rest of the Pharisees… he wasn’t trying to distance himself from them. He was saying that the Pharisees knew that Jesus was a teacher sent by God, and the evidence was that “no one can do these signs that you do unless God is with him.” This makes their rejection of Jesus as the Messiah all that more egregious.
But that’s the point, isn’t it? We have a problem, and that problem is sin. God provided a solution for that problem, and that solution is Jesus. You can know and understand both of these truths, but still not be saved. How? By not being born again.
How can I be born again?
Repent from your sins.
“Repent therefore, and turn back, that your sins may be blotted out.” (Acts 3:19) We are called to repent. Why? Because we need to understand and acknowledge that our sin is what got us into this mess in the first place. Our sin is what separated us from God. Our sin is the reason that Jesus had to die the horrible death on the cross as the ultimate sacrifice to pay our penalty that we should’ve had to pay, but never could have ultimately paid, ourselves. Our sin is the problem.
“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9) Our sins aren’t going to be forgiven if we don’t confess them. If we don’t understand the gravity of our sins, we can’t be saved. Why? Because that’s the whole point! That we we need a Savior to save us from the repercussions for our sins! But the good thing is that He is “faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” We are called to repent… He’ll forgive us and cleanse us through the saving power of Jesus.
Place your faith in Jesus Christ.
“And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience - among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ - by grace you have been saved - and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not as 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.” Ephesians 2:1-10
That’s pretty self-explanatory, right? We were “dead in the trespasses and sins,” “But God, being rich in mercy… even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ.” We’ve been saved “through faith.” “This is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.”
We can’t earn our salvation. We receive it by grace through faith. That is it. If anyone offers you salvation by faith PLUS anything else, that way doesn’t have the power to save you. We place our faith in Jesus BECAUSE we can’t earn our own salvation. We cling to Him out of necessity… He’s literally our only way.
Then, once we repent and place our faith in Jesus, we will receive eternal life.
Jesus said in John 10:27-30, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of my Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.”
That’s an amazing truth, isn’t it? No one can snatch us out of the hand of Jesus and our Heavenly Father. We can’t “undo” our salvation. Why? Because we didn’t earn it in the first place! That truth is extremely humbling. We are receiving a reward that we don’t deserve. And that’s all thanks to the extreme sacrifice that Jesus made for you and I.
So please, don’t let another second go by without repenting of your sins and placing your faith in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior. He’s the only source for salvation.
“Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.’” John 14:6