The Bible is not just another book - it is the Book! Perhaps you have heard this statement or one similar to it before--and laughed! Well, don't. It is true!
I know that is not what we have been led to believe. This is the age of wisdom - an age when the accumulation of man's genius is worshipped as Supreme. To many, Knowledge and Genius have become gods. Unfortunately, for their followers, they are not supreme. That reality is proven every time a history book needs revision or a science book needs rewriting.
There is, however, a Source that has never been revised. It has never needed a rewrite because God has never been wrong! That Source is the Bible. (For those sagacious ones who like to point to the different versions and editions of Bibles as proof of its errors, I remind you that there is a difference in revising a manuscript and revising man's translation of a manuscript.) The Bible is the only Source that is infallible, inerrant, and totally reliable. It is the oldest, most comprehensive, most studied, most authenticated, and most believed record of man's history in the world. Even more, it is the only Source which offers salvation from God's perspective and not man's. God knew that the day of trusting wisdom over the Bible would come. He warned...
Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the traditions of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ. Colossians 2:8
If you want to know the truth about salvation, do not turn to science, philosophies, or man's wisdom. Turn to the Source - God's Word.
The Bible tells us three things about sin.
First, sin has affected us.
For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God. Romans 3:23
There is none righteous, no, not one. Romans 3:10
That should not take a lot of proof. No one can say they have not bent the truth (the Bible calls it lying) or desired things not ours (the Bible calls it lusting). Few would say they have not stolen, or taken God's name in vain, or committed adultery. It is probable that a few have even murdered. People may debate the definition of sin, but the fact that we are sinners is beyond question.
The second truth about sin is that the penalty for sin is death.
For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. Romans 6:23
Simply put, that means we are all going to die because we are all sinners. Here the Bible answers one of the most perplexing questions of mankind - WHY DO WE DIE? The answer - BECAUSE WE HAVE SINNED. The Bible is not just talking about a physical death here. It is also talking about a spiritual death. John the Apostle saw an event of the future which he recorded in the book of Revelation.
Loosely quoted, he says...
And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God...And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away......and the books were opened; and another book was opened which is the book of life; and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books...And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire...This is the second death. Revelation 20:11-15
Sin causes us to die on earth but then we must face God. Here the stakes are eternal. Here the death we must face is damnation. Is it possible that people miss the reality of these verses? The reality is that we are all headed to hell because we are sinners. The penalty for sin must be paid!
The last truth about sin is that someone else has already provided the payment! That someone is Jesus Christ.
We all know the difference between a payment and a gift. A payment is something for which we work. Sweat, stress, and sacrifice are usually required when honest work is accomplished. A gift, on the other hand, is free. It does not have to be earned and, contrary to those who believe in a Santa Clause, we do not get gifts because we were good. Normally, to receive a gift means that we are the recipient of someone's love.
The Source tells us that we deserve hell. We have worked hard in our life of sins and the "payment" or reward is total separation from God for eternity "BUT THE GIFT OF GOD is eternal life through Jesus Christ." We do not have to pay sin's price ourselves. Jesus has already done that.
If the Bible's message stopped in the middle of the last page, it would be a gloomy message indeed. Thank God! It does not!
The emblem of the cross can be seen many times in the Christian culture. The reason is because when Jesus died on that cross, He was paying our sin penalty for us.
Now for the question. If I could show you how to allow Jesus' death to be the payment for you sins, is there any reason why you would not want to do so? The question is simple and straight forward enough. You can either die, go to hell, and spend eternity trying to pay for your sins, or you can allow Jesus to do it for you. In my opinion, only a fool would prefer hell to heaven!
That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. Romans 10:9-10
When you ask someone how to be saved, you are likely to get as many answers as the number of people you ask. That is why it is always best to go back to the Source - The Bible.
The topic in above two verses is salvation. That is seen when the Bible says thou shalt be saved. The first sentence of the verse is divided into two parts by the conjunction and. That indicates that in order to be saved, two things are required. Let's start with the second element first.
...and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead.
According to this part of the verse, part of being saved from sins is believing that Jesus died, was buried, and rose from the dead. The wisdom and genius of man stumbles at this requirement. In fact, many so-called religious scholars have made a profession of ridiculing the miracles of the Bible-even the resurrection. However, the Bible is clear. There is no salvation to those who do not believe that Jesus did die, was buried, and literally rose from the dead.
The first part of the verse says that we must also...
...confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus....
To many, this means nothing more than to pray a prayer asking Jesus to come into your heart; however, that is not what the verse says. It says that we must confess the Lord Jesus. Understanding this requires an understanding of the times in which it was written.
When these words were written, kings were leaders of nations instead of presidents and congresses. The king owned everything. You might live on the land, but if the king wanted it, you would move. You might think that your sons and daughters were your own, but if the king wanted them, they were his. The king owned everything-even you!
The people wanted a term of respect to call the king which acknowledged his ownership. The term they coined was LORD. It meant master. The subjects would bow in the king's presence and confess he was their lord. It was their means of showing a surrender of their life, will, and possessions to the king.
This is what is required in order to be saved - a surrendering of your life, your will, and your possessions to Jesus. He died for you. You are committing your life to Him. It does not mean that you will be perfect, but it does mean that there will be a change in your life.
Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature; old things are passed away; behold all things are become new. 2 Corinthians 5:17
This aspect of salvation is very similar to the words that Jesus preached.
I tell you, Nay; but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish. Luke 13:3
To repent means to change directions. Before a person accepts Christ, their back is to God and they are pursuing the world with all their might. Once they repent, their back is to the world and they are pursuing God. Sinlessness is not required for salvation. We will still do wrong, but the direction of our life will most certainly be changed.
This may be the toughest lesson of all. For some reason, many delay salvation - not with the intent of never being saved, but with the intent of doing it later. Do not wait. I know of many who have regretted the wasted years of not trusting Jesus. I know of no one who regretfully said, "I wish I had waited."