We at stevebelsheim.com Care about Your Forever We care about you enough to post on our website a thorough presentation of God’s wonderful provision for you and your eternal future. God’s Plan of Salvation is summed up in the well-known Bible verse of John 3:16 (ESV):
16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.
Let’s go through these magnificent words of eternal hope.
For God …
God’s plan for your life is His message of “good news that, “… is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, …” (Romans 1:16 (ESV). But, who, precisely, is God? Let’s see what the Bible says!
God is the Creator (Genesis 1:1-31) and Sustainer (Hebrews 1:3) of the entire universe including your distant ancestors Adam and Eve (Genesis 1:26-27; Genesis 2:7, 18-25) who, in the beginning, lived in a perfect world (Genesis 1:28-31). But, because they thought they knew best, they sinned against God by disobeying (Genesis 3:6) His simple instructions about a tree in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 2:16-17). Their sin was an offense against God (Psalm 51:4) so they became spiritually dead (Genesis 2:17), separated from God and under a death penalty (Romans 6:21).
The Bible declares in 1 Corinthians 15:22a that Adam’s sin has been passed down to all of mankind:
22a For as in Adam all die, …
The same consequence is taught in Romans 5:12 (ESV):
12 Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned—
The Bible thus teaches that you too are a sinner (Romans 3:10; Romans 3:23) who is spiritually dead (Ephesians 2:1), separated from God (Ephesians 2:12; 2 Thessalonians 1:9), and under a death penalty (Romans 6:23a). On your own, because you are not perfect, you cannot in any way bridge the separation between God and yourself (Titus 3:5). This means that no matter how good or religious or sincere, without God’s intervention, you are doomed for an eternity in hell (Matthew 7:21-23). While this is very bad news, there is very good news ahead as the second part of 1 Corinthians 15:22 (ESV) tells us:
22b … so also in Christ shall all be made alive.
Let’s learn more about that very “good news”!!!!
… so loved the world …Even though God had the right to do so (Romans 1:18), rather than punish all of mankind for Adam’s sin, out of His love (1 John 4:8) God choose to provide a solution for your sin by giving His only Son Jesus Christ so that, “ … the world might be saved through him.” (John 3:17b) (ESV). It is God’s merciful solution to solve mankind’s sin problem.
Let’s read more about God’s “good news”!!!!
… that He gave His only Son …The word “gave” means that God’s solution for your sin is His gift by grace as Ephesians 2:8–9 (ESV) teaches:
8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast.
You can never earn God’s gift by being good, attending church, giving money, loving your neighbor, or any other “work” no matter how religious or charitable you might try. Gifts are not earned; they are simply received.
God’s gift to us is “His only Son [Jesus Christ]”. Jesus is the Son of God, i.e., deity, (John 1:1-2) and because He took on human flesh He is also human (John 1:14). Jesus is the infinite God-man (1 Timothy 2:5) who lived a sinless (perfect) life during His time on earth about 2000 years ago (Hebrews 4:15).
Out of His incomprehensible love for you personally (Galatians 2:20), Jesus Christ voluntarily took your sins upon Himself (Isaiah 53:6), and willingly died a physical death on the cross (Isaiah 53:8, 12) as your Substitute (2 Corinthians 5:21) for the forgiveness of all your sins (Matthew 26:28). After His physical death, Jesus Christ rose from the grave in His physical body, i.e., Jesus’ resurrection, (1 Corinthians 15:3-4) thereby proving that His death alone was satisfactory payment to His Father for your sins (1 John 2:2).
But, is God’s gift available to a spiritually dead sinner? Yes, it is!!!!
… that whoever …John 14:6 (ESV) teaches:
6 Jesus said to him [Thomas], “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
Even though Jesus is the only way to eternal life, the word “whoever” in John 3:16 means that God’s gift of salvation through Jesus Christ is available to everyone (Mark 13:10; Acts 1:8). And it is available to you today no matter what your life has looked like in the past or looks like today.
But, must something occur for you to obtain the benefit of what Jesus did in sacrificing His life on the Cross? Yes, you must exercise biblical saving faith.
… believes in Him … The phrase “believes in Him” refers to exercising biblical saving faith which has two very basic parts.
First, to exercise biblical saving faith, you must acknowledge the following facts are true:
(1) you are a sinner and there is nothing you can do to save yourself from the consequences of your sin;
(2) out of His love, God has provided the one and only way of salvation through Jesus Christ;
(3) Jesus Christ is fully God and fully human and lived a sinless life on earth so He is perfect;
(4) Jesus took your sins upon Himself so when He died on the cross He was the perfect sacrifice as full payment to God the Father for all of your sins; and
(5) He bodily rose from the grave (resurrection from death to life) showing that His death on the cross was sufficient payment for your sins so that you can have eternal life in Heaven.
Second, to exercise biblical saving faith, you must ask God for the forgiveness of your sins placing your total trust in the Person of Jesus Christ that His death and bodily resurrection comprise the totally sufficient payment for the forgiveness of your sins. At the same time, you must repent of your sin (Mark 1:15; Acts 3:19; Acts 17:30) which means you have a heartfelt sorrow for your sin, you renounce your sin, and you make a sincere and genuine commitment to forsake your sin as you best know how surrendering your life in obedience to Christ (i.e., Jesus is the Lord of your life per Romans 10:9a) whereby you receive Him into your heart as your Lord and Savior (John 1:12).
Invariably, exercising biblical saving faith is a life-changing event because you are “born again” (John 3:1-7).
But what happens if someone doesn’t exercise biblical saving faith?
… should not perish …No one can deny the certainty of a coming judgment as taught by Hebrews 9:27 (ESV):
27 And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment,
This means that following this judgment, you will spend eternity in either Heaven or hell (Matthew 13:24-30, 36-40). If you continue to passively ignore or actively reject Christ, you are guaranteed that upon your physical death you will spend eternity in hell (Matthew 13:41-42; Matthew 25:46) which is an unimaginably terrible place of torment and suffering (Matthew 13:50; Jude 1:7), as well as separation from God (Luke 16:19-31; 2 Thessalonians 1:9).
But, hell doesn’t have to be your eternal destiny because you can exercise biblical saving faith and receive God’s gift of eternal life!!!!
… but have eternal life.Right now, if you sense your need for Christ as your Lord and Savior (John 16:7-11), then God is drawing you, i.e., calling you (Romans 8:30), to respond to the Gospel “good news” message. Your only sensible option is to exercise biblical saving faith so, “…that you may know that you have eternal life.” (1 John 5:13 (ESV)). You can be saved by sincerely praying to God from the bottom of your heart a prayer consistent with what has been described above as exercising biblical saving faith.
If you have exercised biblical saving faith, you do not have to do anything else to be saved. While we at stevebelsheim.com strongly recommend that you be baptized (Matthew 28:18-20) to show the world you are a Christ-follower, please understand that baptism is not necessary for your salvation. Also, if your exercise of biblical saving faith is genuine, and not merely some type of shallow “lip service”, you do not have to do anything to “keep” your salvation because you cannot “lose” this infinitely precious gift from God after He has given it to you (John 6:38-40; John 10:27-29).
Now what after I exercise biblical saving faith?Because this decision is so important, we want to communicate with you about your exercise of biblical saving faith. We want you to understand what you have done and its impact on the rest of your life on earth and for eternity. We would like to help you find a church home in a Bible-believing community of Christ-followers.
Scripture quotations are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version) copyright 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.