For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. – Ephesians 2:8-9
Did you know that man was created in the image of God himself? Genesis 1:27 says “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.” The God of all creation created man because he wanted to have a personal relationship with him. Can you imagine that? God created a wonderful paradise for man to live in called the Garden of Eden. God called this first man Adam, and the wife God created for him, he called Eve. God gave them only one law to live by. The Bible says in Genesis 2:16-17, “And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.” God wanted to have a personal relationship with Adam and Eve, but he wanted them to have a free will to choose or reject him. For a time, Adam and Eve live in a perfect relationship with God and each other. They kept the garden, and even the animals lived in perfect harmony. There was no sin, no death, and God would come in the cool of the day and spend time fellowshipping with them in the Garden. There came a day when a serpent, driven by pride and jealousy, came and tempted Eve to break the one law that God had given Adam. Genesis chapter 3 details the entire event. Revelation 12:9 tells us that that Serpent was the Devil, also known as Satan. Eve gave in to the Serpent and ate of the tree that God had forbidden them to partake of. When she told Adam what she had done, he ate of the fruit also. Man had broken God’s law and the penalty pronounced in Genesis 2:17 was death. God still loved Adam and Eve even when they had broken his law and rejected his righteousness. In Genesis 3:16 God promised a seed that would one day bruise the head of the Serpent. God then sacrificed an animal to make atonement for the sin Adam and Eve had committed. God had promised death to anyone who broke his law. Because of his love for man, God chose not to take man’s life that day, but instead he chose to take that death upon himself. The animal he sacrificed was a picture and a reminder of the promised Seed that would come and bruise the head of the Serpent. As we walk through the pages of scripture we begin to learn more and more about that promised Seed. We learn about many people; people much like us. They were from all walks of life, but all with the same problem as Adam and Eve. They all broke God’s law and deserved the sentence of death that had been handed down for their transgression.
As time goes on this once obscure picture of the promised Seed, this deliverer, becomes clearer. There are many prophesies given in the Bible about where and when this Seed would come. Prophesies about his birth, his life and his death. There were faithful people in the Old Testament times looking for the coming Seed, the Messiah, who would deliver them from this penalty of death. Then in the New Testament book of Matthew, it is revealed who the Seed is! He comes from the family line of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and of the tribe of Judah, just as prophesied in the book of Genesis. He is of the lineage of King David, just as prophesied in the book of 2 Samuel. Matthew 1:21 says his name is JESUS and that he will save his people from their sins. Matthew 1:23 says he is Emmanuel, which means “God with us”, just as prophesied in Isaiah chapter 7. This Jesus, according to the scripture, was born of a virgin. Now this miracle of a virgin birth is of the utmost importance. The sentence of death that was handed down to Adam was passed on from generation to generation. All men sin and there was no way that a man could ever pay for his own sins, much less the sins of someone else. We all have the same blood running through our veins. We all sin, and Ezekiel 18:4 says “…the soul that sinneth, it shall die”. This virgin birth meant that Jesus did not have the blood of Adam running through his veins. For the first time, there was someone on earth who was a worthy sacrifice. Emmanuel, God with us! God himself came in the form of his Son and was born through the womb of a virgin, just as prophesied in the book of Isaiah.
Jesus was the Seed, the Messiah, the Christ! Jesus walked on this same earth that we do. Hebrews 4:15 says that he was tempted just like we are, but he never sinned! He fulfilled the Jewish law. He was perfect, not only according to the rules of the law, but was perfect in that he never committed sin! No one else before or after Jesus has ever been without sin. He was truly the perfect sacrifice. While on this earth Jesus preached the Gospel of repentance everywhere he went and showed many signs and miracles proving that he was in fact the prophesied Seed. Many believed on him, but many more rejected him. He was mocked, spat upon, and soldiers even plucked out his beard just as was prophesied in Isaiah 50:6. He was beaten so badly that no one could even recognize he was a man. He then allowed them to nail him to a cross and hung there until he died. He cried out on the cross, “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do”. He hung there exposed, beaten, and in agony until he gave up his spirit and died. The perfect sacrifice had been made. The spotless, sinless, Son of God had given up his life so that you and I would not have to die in our sins. They carried his body to the tomb of a wealthy man nearby. After being placed inside, the government placed guards outside of the tomb so that no one would take his body and claim that he had come back to life. Praise the Lord, three days later Jesus did exactly what he had said he would do in John 2:19! He rose from the dead! He was victorious over death and the grave. What amazing power! Because he was able to raise himself from the dead, we know that he is able to do the same for us that believe on him.
So, what must I do to be saved? A pharisee named Nicodemus asked exactly the same question in John 3. Jesus told him that he had to be born again. This answer puzzled Nicodemus and he asked Jesus how a man could enter into his mother’s womb a second time. That’s obviously impossible. That is the point. There is nothing you can do on your own. When a person gets saved, they become a new creature according to 2 Corinthians 5:17. You can’t make yourself a new creature. You can’t rebirth yourself into something new. Jesus told Nicodemus “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life”-John 3:16. John 3:17-18 says “For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned; but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God”. So you see, there is nothing you can do. Jesus did all that needed to be done for your salvation. Do you believe that? Throughout the scripture we see men preaching repentance. The word repent means to turn from something to something else. Jesus preaching to the Jews in Mark 1:15 said, “repent ye, and believe the gospel”. Paul preaching to us in 1 Corinthians 15 said that the Gospel was that “Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures”. Paul said in Acts 20 that he had gone everywhere “Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.”
If you would like to be saved, you must simply repent, or turn, from whatever else you believe or are trusting in and put your faith in what Jesus did. If you’re trusting in a baptism, communion, church membership, religion, church denomination, your own works, or anything else you will spend eternity in Hell. If you’re trusting that that there is no Hell, or that there is no God, or that it will all just work out in the end, you will spend eternity in Hell. If you just enjoy your sin and don’t care about your eternal destination, you will spend eternity in Hell. There are “good” people, “religious” people, rich people, poor people, murderers, preachers, liars, kings, presidents, even Catholic Popes, and any other type of people you can think of in Hell. They all have one thing in common; they did not repent and put their faith in Jesus Christ. So right now, forget about what you think, feel, or have believed. Turn from that and put your faith in the Gospel! Believe that the only way to heaven and only thing that really matters is that Jesus Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures. Call out to God and tell him you believe Jesus is the only way and you want him to be Lord of your life. If you’ve put your faith in Jesus alone, you can rest in the fact that he has Saved you! If you have done that, we’d love to hear from you. Tell others about it. Tell them what God has done for you through Jesus, and that he can do the same for them. Get yourself a King James Bible and read through the book of Romans to learn more about what God has done for you. Ask God to lead you to a good Bible Believing Baptist Church and get to work serving the God of all creation. Being saved is just the first step in your Christian life. We’d be glad to help you along your journey! Salvation is not about a feeling or a formula. It’s not about a program or a plan. It’s about faith in a person, and that person is Jesus Christ!