What must an individual do to be forgiven by God? If we stand guilty before our Creator because of sin, how can we receive God's acceptance and forgiveness? I was talking last weekend with my family about how to share the good news of salvation with unbelievers. There is a lot of confusion in this area due to various theological positions, some which add a human factor - surrender, commitment, promise, dedication, submission, etc. - as conditions to be met before one can be forgiven or saved.
Let me ask you the same question I shared with my family: How would you answer your friend if he asks, "What must I do to be saved?" or, "What must I believe?" I think many people in our postmodern world will be drawn to Christ through our changed life. But at some point they will need to exercise faith in Christ. What do they hear us saying about what one must do to be saved? What do we share with them? This is such an important question that each of us must be clear on the answer to life's most important question. EvanTell, a Christian organization that educates God's people on how to share their faith, has a simple gospel presentation that you can use, or direct someone to, that spells out in a clear way how unbelievers can respond to God's offer of salvation. You can find it at: www.evangelism.net.
The Gospel of John is clear about what we must do to be saved. You can read about it in John 20:30-31. In another passage in John Jesus said, "He who believes has eternal life" (John 6:47). Salvation comes when we believe that what God said about our sin and Jesus Christ is true. Our sins separate us from God. But the death of Christ and his resurrection is sufficient to freely give us the gift of forgiveness and eternal life.
I pray that you have come to faith in Christ. That is, that you have the inward conviction that only Jesus Christ can save you from your sins. It is true that many believe that repentance or a change of life or change of direction must be present in order for God to receive us as children. Although sinners should repent, and many in fact come broken before the Lord with a deep desire for change, the act of repentance doesn't save them. Repentance may lead people to faith [You can read more about my thoughts on "repentance" by reading the posts in July 31-August 1, 2008]. However, it is by believing in Christ that you are saved, forgiven, and adopted as a child of God forever. Faith in Christ alone is the only condition for us to be forgiven (see Ephesians 2:8-9; Galatians 2:16). That is the "Gospel, Clear and Simple."
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