Receiving the Gift of Salvation
Numerous denominations have formed due to conflicting doctrines but one thing that unites all believers is our knowing Jesus Christ as Lord. Still there are disagreements regarding how one is saved. Two days ago outside a McDonald’s, I witnessed to three young people smoking. One of the women wasn’t sure of her eternal destiny but later admitted to be backslidden. She was raised in a church that teaches one must “repent, be baptized and speak in tongues” in order to be saved. Strangely enough, this woman defended that doctrine after praying along with her two friends to get born again. Nevertheless, Romans 10:13 says, “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
A few days before that, I exchanged emails with a man who thinks just believing Jesus is the Savior is sufficient for salvation. This belief is solely based on 1 Corinthians 15…
1 Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand,
2 by which also you are saved, if you hold fast that word which I preached to you—unless you believed in vain.
3 For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures,
4 and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures
While this passage gives a good overview of the gospel, one must “rightly divide the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15) by comparing this with other Scriptures. James 2:19 says that even the demons believe there is a God...and tremble! Certainly they won’t spend eternity in heaven.
Notice in 1 Corinthians 15 verses 1 and 3 talk about receiving the gospel. The verse in between says we are saved if we “hold fast” to the word. Believing is simply the first step towards the manifestation of God’s promises whether it’s salvation or healing. In Mark 10:51-52, blind Bartimaeus believed Jesus could heal him but didn’t receive his sight until he called out to Him and specifically asked for that. James 4:2 (KJV) says, “…ye have not, because ye ask not.”
Whenever I go out evangelizing, I often meet people who believe the gospel but hadn't yet received the gift of salvation. Romans 10:9-10 says that one must believe in his heart and confess with his mouth that Jesus is Lord in order to be saved. Jesus said He would not confess us before the Father if we don’t confess Him before man (Matthew 10:32-33).
Jesus died for the sins of all mankind. But just like a present sitting underneath a Christmas tree, one must open up that gift to reap its benefits. Have you received God’s free gift of salvation?
"And whatever things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive.” - Matthew 21:22