This was precisely the question that a Philippian jailer asked the apostle Paul just after the Lord Jesus Christ walked the earth. And it remains the most important question that anyone can ask.
The answer as to how you can be saved is in the gospel, which means ‘good news’. Although much more could be said, the gospel message comprises a small number of key points:
The problem explained
The Bible tells us that the one true and living God is above all other things holy. This holiness can be seen quite easily in the 10 commandments, sometimes called the moral law. God is so holy that he cannot be near anyone who breaks his law.
The Bible tells us that every person breaks this moral law. Often people make an effort to keep it, but they always focus on the outward, whereas the Lord Jesus Christ made it clear that the thoughts of the heart – the inward – are equally important. In the language of the Bible, we are all sinners, and therefore cut off from God and in great danger of eternal punishment. We are quite unable to help ourselves because our natural tendency is to sin, living for ourselves rather than seeking after God and living for him.
Good news – A solution acceptable to God
The good news is that there is a solution. The Bible focuses most of all on the person, life, offices and work of the Lord Jesus Christ, God’s only son. He came to earth about 2,000 years ago in the form of human being in order that he could be our representative. He kept every aspect of the moral law perfectly and was therefore able to offer himself as an acceptable substitute for sinners such as us, which he did when he died on the cross at Calvary. Jesus Christ was fully God, as well as fully man, and his sacrifice has all the power needed to save us. We know it was accepted because on the third day after his death he rose from his grave and was seen in the following weeks by more than 500 eye-witnesses on 12 separate occasions.
How then can we be saved?
To avail ourselves of the benefits of this substitution – such as knowing our sins are forgiven, being at peace with God, and having the promise of a wonderful eternal life – the Bible tells us that we must repent and believe. It really is that simple. This is of such importance – our eternal destiny is at stake – that we must ensure we understand what it means and what the implications are. Because God is just as well as holy, sin has to be punished, and only through Jesus Christ’s becoming our substitute, could justice be served. So we must realise that whilst this gift is free to us, it cost the Lord Jesus Christ his blood. The cross therefore demonstrates God’s amazing love for us in Christ, and if we understand this we will be so grateful for what he has done that we will turn from our sin with all seriousness. This is repentance. We’ll turn from it as our number one enemy, and with God’s help we’ll find we are increasingly able to do just that. And we must believe that not only did Jesus Christ die, historically, but that he died for us, individually. He is to be our personal Lord and Saviour.
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