It can feel right that God should accept sincere people of all faiths, or that people should be given a second chance after they die or that we shouldn’t condemn people who believe differently from us, but God has revealed how he works in Scripture and so the Bible, not our feelings, must be our basis for whatever we believe about salvation. Understanding what the Bible says about salvation will set you up for effective evangelism, as you will be able to share God’s salvation plan with those who don’t know Jesus yet.
1. The Bible says that God is holy (Leviticus 19:2, Psalm 111:9, Isaiah 6:3) and that life comes from God (Genesis 1-2, John 1:1-4, John 6:47). While God created mankind to live in loving relationship with him, the Bible says that every person has disobeyed God and fallen short of God’s perfect standard in the way we live and relate to him. The Bible calls this disobedience ‘sin’ (Romans 3:23).
2. The Bible explains that our sin separates us from our holy God (Isaiah 59:2), and therefore separates us from life (Genesis 3:14-24, Ephesians 2:1-3). Without life, there is only death. This is the reward for our disobedience—death, both a physical death in this life when our bodies cease to function and a spiritual death when we are separated from God for eternity (Romans 6:23).
It’s this separation from God that creates a void within us that sends some of us on a journey searching for peace with God, a search for truth, a search for life. However, the Bible tells us there is nothing we can do in and of ourselves that will fill this void or save us from death. Ephesians 2:8-9 says “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.”
However, there is good news. The good news of the gospel is that God loves us and desires no person to die (John 3:16). Although we sinned against him, “God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). His Son is Jesus. Unlike us, Jesus lived life as a man in complete obedience to his Father in heaven. “He humbled himself by becoming obedient (to his Father) to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore, God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name.” (Philippians 2:6-9). Jesus died the death we deserve, in our place, so that we may have life, peace and purpose here on earth, and also life eternally with God.
3. The Bible says, “Whoever believes in Jesus shall not die but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him” John 3:16b-17. Therefore, Jesus calls us to trust in him as our Saviour and follow him, living in obedience to him as our Lord. The Bible records the words of Jesus when he says with all authority, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” John 14:6
There is but one way that we are saved from death and our relationship with God is restored—it’s by Jesus Christ’s sacrifice on the cross that our sin is dealt with and we are made right with God.
Romans 10:9 says, “If you declare with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”. And John 1:12 says, “Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.”
God has revealed how he works, so the Bible, not our feelings, must be our basis for whatever we believe about salvation. While we deserve death, in love God offers life eternal for those who surrender to Jesus Christ as their Savior and follow him as Lord.
Don’t base your understanding of salvation on what feels like it should be right. Go to what God himself has said and believe it, whether you like it or not. After all, he is the one who saves!