The Gospel of Salvation
Of late I have been recognizing the increasing numbers of “evangelical ministries” that are watering down the gospel message. While many presentations are excellent when expounding various Bible teachings, when it comes time to the present the gospel, it often runs like this. “Understand that you are a sinner and trust the Saviour and you will receive the forgiveness of sins, and everlasting life. They are then oftentimes led in a prayer of faith to acknowledge their sin and to receive Jesus into their heart.”
While certain points of their evangelistic message are absolutely true, we are sinners, we need a Saviour, we need to receive Jesus Christ, we need the forgiveness of sins, we can have everlasting life, etc., none of these in and of themselves are the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Some may mention Christ's death for our sins, but leave out the resurrection: Youtube Link
Consider a few verses on how important the resurrection was to the apostle Paul in his preaching.
When he had opportunity before the Stoicks and Epicureans, “He preached unto them Jesus, and the resurrection . . . And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men everywhere to repent: because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead.” (Acts 17:18, 30-31)
To the Romans he would testify that Christ, “was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification” (Romans 4:25). And again, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation” (Romans 10:9-10).
Before King Agrippa he would confess, “I continue unto this day, witnessing both to small and great, saying none other things than those which the prophets and Moses did say should come: That Christ should suffer, and that he should be the first that should rise from the dead, and should shew light unto the people, and to the Gentiles.” (Acts 25:22-23) And would testify, “of the hope and resurrection of the dead I am called in question” (Acts 23:6, 24:21), which was the real point of his persecution by the Jews, because he preached the resurrection of Christ from the dead, and the resurrection of men through him, and that there was hope of eternal life and salvation by him.
Maybe some think I am nit picking, but if the apostles found it necessary in their preaching to present at the core of their message Jesus Christ crucified for sinners and risen from the dead I think we ought to be very careful not to leave it out. Maybe we can get a bit careless or sloppy when presenting the gospel, but this should not be so.
Another point of concern is that the Bible speaks of “another Jesus” (2 Corinthians 11:1-4), so it is important to lift up the true Jesus. The Jesus of the Bible is the Son of God. He is the Christ, or Messiah foretold by the prophets. This is quite serious as the Bible says that those who deny that Jesus is the Christ and Son of God are “antichrist” (1 John 2:22). Who He is ties us directly to the gospel, for it is the “the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God” (Mark 1:1). Furthermore, it is the resurrection that confirms that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, as it is written, “Concerning his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh; And declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead” (Romans 1:3-4). John's Gospel concluded, “But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.” (John 20:31, 3:16-18) “And we declare unto you glad tidings, how that the promise which was made unto the fathers, God hath fulfilled the same unto us their children, in that he hath raised up Jesus again; as it is also written in the second psalm, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee.” (Acts 13:32-33)
When cruising various web sites and “Christian” blogs, we often find that salvation comes when “we ask God to forgive our sins and to let Jesus Christ into their heart”. Now, I know the Bible has lots to say about forgiveness of sins and receiving Jesus Christ, and these things are necessary, but I also hear this same message in the “Christian” cults and they are OK with it and yet they are lost. Among many Protestant circles this has become the central message in their form of evangelism where the recipient is told to “repeat this prayer after me”, to acknowledge they are a sinner, ask for forgiveness and receive Christ into their heart. So, here is where I am going. Before Christ ascended into heaven He commanded His disciples, “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel” (Mark 16:15). The “gospel” was the pinnacle of every message that the apostle Paul would preach wherever he went.
The Bible tells us that “the gospel of Christ... is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth” (Romans 1:16). The gospel is of utmost importance for salvation, and it did not include baptism which some say is necessary for salvation like the Roman Catholic church and the Church of Christ etc. So the apostle Paul would say, “For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect. For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.” (1 Corinthians 17-18).
So herein we can understand that people are saved when they hear and believe the preaching of the gospel which is the power of God unto salvation. Some may complain this is too legalistic or too strict or too narrow minded, or too closed minded. But the Bible says, “it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe” (1 Corinthians 1:21). If one wants to try some other way, you cannot be sure that God will be pleased.
Furthermore, we know all those great verses, “For by grace are ye saved through faith” (Ephesians 2:8), and that “faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:17). And just prior to this Paul quoted the prophet Joel saying, “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved” and then he gives his conclusion, “How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!” (Romans 10:13-15) Paul was so zealous for the gospel he would even tell the church in Galatia, “But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.” (Galatians 1:8) He would define the gospel to the Corinthian church precisely as thus:
“Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how 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...” (1 Corinthians 15:1-4).
Paul first “received” the witness of the gospel and was saved, he then went forth delivering and preaching that same gospel that he received, by which the Corinthians were “saved” and where they “stand”. And he described it simply as thus: 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...”
And yes, people need to repent, they need forgiveness, they need to receive Christ, but none of these are the gospel of salvation. When I first heard the gospel it was such good news because I knew I was a hell bound sinner and justly condemned to eternal death and separation from God in the Lake of Fire. And when I heard that Christ died for my sins in my place on Calvary's cross, and that He was buried, and rose again from the dead, I believed, because God had promised that if I believe the gospel he would save me and give me the gift of everlasting life. And when I believed I knew I had found pardon and cleansing of sin through the blood of His cross because God cannot lie. And on the cross God had made Jesus “to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.” (2 Corinthians 5:21) Righteousness is the “gift of God” (Ephesians 2:8-9, Romans 5:17), and not just any righteousness, but the righteousness of Jesus Christ, imputed to us by faith when we believe the gospel, “to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead; Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification.” (Romans 4:24-25)
Might I add, that when you believe, you can expect Satan to come like a “roaring lion”, or come as a “minister or righteousness”, to try and pluck up that good seed, that incorruptible seed, that has been sown in your heart. Remember when Jesus received the Holy Spirit at His baptism, immediately He was led away of the Spirit into the wilderness and tempted of the Devil for 40 days (Mark 1:9-13). Do not expect any different. But we are told resist the devil and He will flee from you, and resist we must with the sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God, just like Jesus. I can remember when I first believed, almost immediately I had two cult members come to me, the one trying to convince me that Jesus Christ was not The LORD. The other trying to convince me that my good works were also necessary for salvation. Two emissaries of Satan, coming with Bible in hand, as it were to try and pluck up that Good Seed that was by this time planted in my heart, and it is amazing, that even at this young and tender age in the faith, I knew the Scriptures wherewith to rebuke them.
Now, we are also told in many places we need to repent or perish. Repentance is simply a change of mind, and that towards God, that He is holy and a just Judge, and myself, that I am a wretched sinner in terrible need of God's grace and mercy, which He sheds on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Lord. Yes we still sin, and more than we like, “the sin which doth so easily beset us” (Hebrews 12:1), but if we persist to walk in sin, now that we have been born again, our Father will chasten us. However, if we are truly born again, we should sin less and less, because it is now God who works in us both to will and do of His good pleasure, and sanctify us by His Spirit through belief of His Truth, that we might continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel. Old things pass away, and all things become new. The sin I used to love I now hate. And the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives transforms us into the same image of Jesus Christ from glory to glory.
I guess my main concern is that I have seen the gospel glossed over, and often times replaced with a prayer formula. They can understand they are a sinner, they can ask God's forgiveness, they can ask Jesus come into their heart, but if they have not understood nor believed the gospel, they will never be saved. Because the gospel, THAT is the power of God unto salvation to all those who believe it. If one's focus for salvation is not the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ there is no hope for them. This is the central tenant of the gospel that Paul preached. Concerning the resurrection, Paul said, “And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins.” (1 Corinthians 15:17)
It is just that I never see Christ's disciples preaching using a pattern in the Bible that excludes Jesus Christ crucified for sinners and risen from the dead. Consider the first gentile convert, Cornelius, and his household. It says he was devout, prayed always and gave alms, had a good report of the Jews, but he was lost and needed Peter to go preach the gospel to him. Peter said, “whom they slew and hanged on a tree: Him God raised up the third day, and shewed him openly; Not to all the people, but unto witnesses chosen before of God, even to us, who did eat and drink with him after he rose from the dead. And he commanded us to preach unto the people, and to testify that it is he which was ordained of God to be the Judge of quick and dead. To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins. While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word.” (Acts 10:39-44)
WOW! I do not want to get into a long exposition of these Scriptures, but simply, Peter preached the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ and when they heard and believed, they were saved and received the forgiveness of sins and the gift of the Holy Ghost. No coaching them to ask God for forgiveness, no telling them to receive Christ into their heart. They just heard the gospel and believed and they were saved. This usually sounds too simplistic for the sophisticated, but “it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching [“the cross”, “Christ crucified” and “risen from the dead”] to save them that believe”. (1 Corinthians 1:18, 21, 23)
Many church goers today are ignorant of the gospel. I was sharing with one guy who appeared to be very knowledgeable of the Scriptures and religious and I asked him what was the gospel (good news), and he said Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. In talking with another church goer, he understood that Christ died for his sins, and that he rose from the dead, he asked forgiveness and received Christ and all that, but when I asked him how he expected to get to heaven, he got into this big self-righteous kick, that he never murdered anyone, that he never committed adultery, that he tries to be good etc. So he did not really understand the power of the Cross. In the end, both of these stuck to their religious ways, and the cross became an offence to their self righteousness.
Our asking forgiveness will not save us, our receiving Jesus into our heart will not save us. The power for salvation lies in the preaching of the unadulterated gospel of Jesus Christ, the preaching of His death for our sins and His resurrection from the dead, and all those who believe shall be saved. God promised, He cannot lie.
Perhaps I am being too cautious, but better to be cautious I guess than not at all. Nowhere in the Bible, when we see evangelism taking place, do we see that people are told to ask Jesus into their heart. I know we are told, “if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.” (Romans 10:9) We “believe in our heart” and confess with our mouth, but no mention of “receiving Jesus into our heart”.
In Paul's prayer for the church He prayed, “That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love...” (Ephesians 3:17). Christ dwells in the believer's heart by faith, not by asking “Christ to come into their heart”. We are saved by faith in the person and finished works of Christ on the cross. And when we believe our body becomes the temple of the Holy Spirit, and Christ and our Father take up their abode in our lives.
As for me, I would never ask the lost to do something that Christ and His apostles never asked them to do, even though it is one of the most common phrases used in modern Christian evangelism today. And maybe this methodology of evangelism is in the Bible, but until I clearly see it I must refrain.
With that being said, we are told, “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” (John 1:12-13). But even here, those who have received Him is explained as those who have “believed on his name”, and it is the latter throughout the Bible, whereby man is told to “repent and believe”. “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) In the classic example, when the Philippians jailer asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”, they did not say, “let Jesus come into your heart”, no, “And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved” (Acts 16:30-31). I think it best that we stick with the Bible.
With so many Jesus' out there these days, it is certainly incumbent upon the evangelist to be alert, and to bring forth the real Jesus to those he is evangelizing. A little while back I had JW's come to my home. The men stayed in the car and sent the woman in. I held her as long as I could to explain to her the difference between my good news and her message, and then asked her if she had anything better to offer, before she left with her bag of goods. She did not even offer me any of her literature. They have not better news, and they have not a better Jesus as their Jesus is not the Creator, God manifest in the flesh, but a creature, it is “another Jesus”.
An individual I was talking with recently advocated that we must ask Jesus in our hearts to be saved, He identified a Christian as, “someone who has Jesus Christ in their hearts.”, and said, “There is no way someone can convince me that someone who has Jesus Christ in their heart is not saved.” To me this is confusing. It is not asking Jesus into their heart that makes one a Christian it is believing that Christ died for our sins and rose again from the dead. It is the substitutionary death of Christ on the cross that provides salvation, not the asking Jesus into our heart. The problem for me is, I do not know if someone has “Jesus in their heart” even if they claim they have “received Jesus in their heart”. And what would the lost individual understand by this phrase? In the Bible, it appears that the heart is either a physical organ that pumps blood or a person's conscience and reasoning (Romans 2:25, Heb 10:22, Mark 2:6, 8). What will they understand? And if they do follow the lead of someone telling them to let “Jesus into their heart”, how do they know that “Jesus has come into their heart?” As He has never promised to do such a thing if we ask Him. Certainly within time we should see fruit in a believers life and a confession coming out of His mouth if they truly believed the gospel and have been born again. Did Judas “have Jesus in his heart”? The other apostles did not know he was a pretender.
Furthermore, the emphasis in the Bible is almost always placed on the Holy Spirit indwelling the believer. Jesus said, “And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter [Holy Spirit], that he may abide with you for ever; Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you” (John 14:16-17). “In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise” (Ephesians 1:13).
When one repents and believes the gospel, it is just a fact of the matter, whether the recipient of the gospel has asked “Jesus to come into their heart” or not, that the Father and Son make their abode with the believer (John 14:23), and his body becomes the temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 3:16).
I am not trying to be controversial about this, it just seems to be a foreign ideology in the Bible. Things are just too subtle today, so for now I just cannot buy into this methodology.
Now, the Bible does teach that “Christ liveth in me” (Galatians 2:20), that is, those who are saved. However, 'asking Jesus into your heart' is not a Biblical phrase and I do not think it ought to be used, especially when it is often associated with the quick prayerism form of evangelism. I think the modern day evangelizers have slunk to this mode so that after he has coached their converts to “ask Jesus in his heart” he can go tell his audience that he has led another to the Lord. This is just prideful boasting. Salvation is of the Lord, and this we know, but yet you see this happening in the churches today. To me this is just another one of the unscriptural philosophies of man that has invaded the church.
To “believe in Him with my heart” is Scriptural. To “ask Him to enter my heart” is unbiblical. Nowhere does it say in the Scriptures that we need to ask Jesus into our heart, so why would we want to add to His Word? Let's just preach the good old fashion gospel and let the Spirit of God convict them to believe and so be saved. There is no need to tell anyone to “ask Jesus into your heart”, at least the disciples never saw a need for it, and Jesus never commanded it. If He did, the disciples surely would have taught it as Jesus commanded them to teach those who believe to “observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you” (Matthew 28:20). That they did not teach this, was likely for a good reason, that is, not to give the alleged convert any false confidence that Christ would come into their heart just because they asked.
Jesus never taught this form of evangelism and neither do we see His disciples telling anyone to “ask Jesus in their heart”, so neither will I, neither could I recommend to anyone to follow this methodology. Wherever they went they told the people to “believe” on the Lord Jesus Christ and they would be saved, not “ask Jesus into your heart” and you will be saved.
The apostles always preached through Jesus the forgiveness of sins through His death and resurrection, and never do we find them preaching, “ask Jesus in their heart”. Consider again Peter preaching to the Jews after Pentecost saying, they “killed the Prince of life, whom God hath raised from the dead; whereof we are witnesses.... God before had shewed by the mouth of all his prophets, that Christ should suffer, he hath so fulfilled. Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out.... having raised up his Son Jesus, sent him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from his iniquities.... and preached through Jesus the resurrection from the dead.... many of them which heard the word believed” (Acts 3-4).
Consider another example, When Philip was evangelizing the Ethiopian Eunuch, he found the Eunuch reading from Isaiah 53. “Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus” (Acts 8:35). Now Philip used Isaiah 53 to preach to the Eunuch the gospel. Now what do you think he might have preached? Well it goes like this, “he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities... All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all... he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter... he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken... And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death... Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him... thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin... He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities... he hath poured out his soul unto death... he bare the sin of many... he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand...” (Isaiah 53)
This I would have to say is the clearest presentation of the gospel in the Old Testament. Jesus Christ crucified for sinners, buried and risen from the dead. Satisfaction guaranteed! Justification guaranteed! Sins buried, guaranteed! Resurrection guaranteed! Now when the question of baptism came up, Philip said, "If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God." (Acts 8:35-37) Now if you change the above text, "If thou believest with all thine heart" to "If you ask Jesus into your heart", you will see that "Asking Jesus in your heart" is not "the same as believing in Jesus Christ". That is, plain and simple, doing a disservice to all the rules of grammar of the English language. And an injustice to the plain teaching of the Scriptures. Furthermore there are many Scriptures that warn about changing God's Word's. “Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him. Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar.” (Proverbs 30:5-6)
Now, as far as the gospel goes I think most from the thousands of Christian sects believe that Christ died and is risen from the dead. Even Catholics believe this. However, it is how the gospel is presented that matters. I do not want to sound like a broken record, but it is just that I do not see anywhere in the Bible where the disciples presented the gospel in such a fashion, teaching that one needs to “ask Jesus into their heart”. I do not know where this type of evangelism came from, I just know that it never came from the apostles of Jesus Christ.
Perhaps I am missing something, perhaps I am totally wrong on this, but I would rather error on the side of caution. It is just that I do not want to “give an uncertain sound”, so to say. We know how subtle the devil can be in getting us to deviate from the Truth, by adding a little here, or taking away a little there. And do not get me wrong, if someone has truly repent and believed the gospel and they were also guided to “ask Jesus into their heart”, of course they would be saved, but not because they “asked Jesus into their heart”, it is because they repent and believed the gospel.
When preaching the gospel, if one then says, you need to, or you can “ask Jesus to come into your heart”, I think there is a danger of producing a false convert as they may feel put on the spot and pressured to do it. I think it best to just preach the gospel as the disciples did, and leave God's powerful Word to work in their heart and the Holy Spirit to convict them of their sin and their need for salvation and let them come to Christ of their own will and according to God's own good timing. Perhaps this methodology is born out of the evangelisers desire to want them to be saved and to hear some sort of immediate response from the evangelized, but it does not always work like that. We just need to sow the “good seed” and pray that somewhere down the road it gets watered that it dry not up.
Consider when Paul was on Mars Hill preaching in Athens, some mocked, some said we will hear thee again, but others believed. Paul “preached unto them Jesus, and the resurrection... [and that] God... now commandeth all men every where to repent: Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead. And when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some mocked: and others said, We will hear thee again of this matter. So Paul departed from among them. Howbeit certain men clave unto him, and believed...” (Acts 17:18, 30-34)
It is through “believing ye might have life through his name” (John 20:31), and if the apostles never found it necessary to tell their converts to “ask Jesus into your heart”, but left it out, so must I.
One advocate of this methodology stated, “asking Jesus Christ into your heart” is a “request through faith”. He went on to say, “I do think this is Biblical and is no different from someone asking for their sins to be washed away, for their name to be in the Book of Life, for the Holy Spirit to dwell within them, or for a place in Heaven.”
I see it as disbelief. Let me explain. What I see in the Bible, is that God has promised all these things to His children. When we repent and believe the gospel, Christ takes up residence in the life of the believer, in fact, Christ and our Father MAKES their abode in us, our sins ARE washed away, our name WILL NOT blotted out of the book of life, the Holy Spirit COMES to dwell in us, our names ARE written in heaven, and not to make mention of the thousand other promises that are ours in Christ Jesus. We can sum it up like this: “He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?” (Romans 8:32) Let me tell you, when you have Christ, you have it all. When you believe the gospel you inherit all things with Christ. So if I have believed the gospel, why would I ask for that which is already mine?
For one who has truly believed the gospel to ask those things would be either because he is ignorant or misguided, or worse, he does not believe the good promises of God.
When the gospel is preached and the incumbent believes that Christ loved me, and gave himself for me, the spotless Lamb of God for a wretched sinner like me, and rose again from the dead, when he is told, “believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved”, when he is told that “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believeth on Him shall not perish but have everlasting life”, but in addition to that, or in the place of that they need to “request” or “ask” for any of those things you mentioned above, this is to confuse the gospel. The gospel is the power of God unto salvation unto all those who believe it. To supplement the gospel with any rider I think there is a danger to confuse it, and in worse case scenarios, make it another gospel which cannot save.
Now it is one thing for the preacher to count the blessings and give thanks for all that we have in Christ Jesus and His wonderful promises that we have through the gospel. But let him be careful not to bribe the unbeliever with these, or tell them after they believed the gospel that they now have to ask for all these things that are already ours through the gospel. Rather, let him bring the law to them to convince them that they are unworthy sinners who are bound for an eternity in hell without God and His Son. Then the gospel message will be the sweetest sound they ever heard when all they need do is repent and believe.
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you...” (1 Peter 1:3-4).
If Christ lives in those who believe, why tell these that they need to ask Jesus into their heart? What we need to do is compel them to believe the gospel, and when they do, Christ, the King of Glory will come in.
"Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you THE GOSPEL which I PREACHED unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; BY WHICH ALSO YE ARE SAVED, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, UNLESS YE HAVE BELIEVED IN VAIN. For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how 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" (1 Corinthians 15:1-4).
This was absolutely the truth, I too have seen the Gospel watered down, in fact, the Gospel is has been replaced with a counterfeit. Galatians 1:8-9. Worse than that it seems many Christians are either ignorant of the Gospel, which makes me question if there even saved. Faith alone is attacked, and has been replaced with Faith +repentance (turning from sin, and not a change of mind). Or faith + works. Sad. This was a excellent post. I absolutely love this website. I often find myself coming back here. But this is my first comment. God bless this ministry abundantly
Don't ignore the words of our Lord, one must be born again of water and the Spirit other wise he cannot enter the Kingdom of Heaven.
Indeed, And how does the New Birth come about? "Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, By THE WORD OF GOD, which liveth and abideth for ever. For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away: But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by THE GOSPEL is preached unto you." (1 Peter 1:23-25)
One is saved, they are born again, when they believe the gospel and receive Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.