The Apostle Paul was preaching the gospel in the city of Philippi. A crowd rose up to condemn Paul and he was thrown into prison along with his fellow minister Silas. During the night as they prayed and sang hymns, God sent a powerful earthquake on that city that shook the foundations of the prison. All the prison doors were opened and the chains of the prisoners were unfastened. When the jailer awoke he saw the open doors and unfastened chains and feared for his life because he assumed the prisoners had escaped.
Fearing that his life would be taken for such incompetency, he drew his sword to take his life. However, Paul still remaining in his prison cell cried out to the jailer and said, “Do not harm yourself, for we are all here!” The jailer called for the lights and rushed in to see Paul and Silas. Trembling the man fell down before Paul and Silas and after bringing them out he said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”
A powerful earthquake and the possibility of hanging brought the Philippian jailer to the reality of the power of God and of life and death. Through this event he was brought to his knees. These events created a crisis in his life that caused him to immediately consider the state of his soul and what would be his condition and eternal destiny once he died. These realities, as they flashed through his mind and heart, caused him by the grace of God to seek the way of salvation.
- Have you considered the state of your soul?
- Do you want to experience the peace of knowing you will go to heaven when you die?
- Do you want to be sure about your eternal destiny?
What was Paul’s response to the jailer’s question? “You must believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved!” You might say, “But, what am I saved from?” You are saved from sin. Every man’s soul is corrupt due to sin. Salvation from sin and its penalty is found in believing upon the Lord Jesus Christ. But the question we need to clarify is this, “What does it mean to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ?” This question can only be answered by explaining the components of the gospel good news of Jesus Christ as found in Holy Scripture and calling one to believe upon Him.
What is the gospel?
The gospel good news actually begins with the truth about God and man. The Scriptures teach that:
- God is holy. In Leviticus 11:44 God says, “I am holy.” God is separate, distinct, free from sin.
- Man is sinful. Romans 3:25 states; “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Adam in his rebellion against God’s law, sinned against God and took on a sin nature. Through Adam’s sin, sin spread to all mankind (Romans 5:12). All men are sinful from birth, no one is without its stain.
- The wages of sin is death. Romans 6:23 states; “For the wages of sin is death…”
- This death is both physical and spiritual. Because of man’s sin nature he will die a physical death, but he also experiences a spiritual death in that he is separated from God. Man’s is at war with God, he is God’s enemy and alienated from God because of his sin and rebellion against God (Colossians 1:21; Romans 5:10).
- This spiritual death condemns man to hell when he dies. Jesus states in Matthew 25:46 that the unrighteous will be sent to everlasting punishment.
- Man has no ability to save himself. Man cannot do enough good works or be good enough to remedy his situation or gain God’s forgiveness and be reconciled to Him. Jesus teaches this reality in Matthew 5:48 when He tells the Jews that they must be perfect as God is perfect. Man must gain a perfectly righteous condition to gain forgiveness and reconciliation with God.
So where does man turn? How does he gain salvation? To be saved, you must first understand and accept your sinful position before God and acknowledge your need for salvation from your sinful condition. Understanding your need, you must then embrace the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
- God, according to his grace and mercy provided a mediator. God offers forgiveness for sin to all men through the mediating work of Jesus Christ (1 Timothy 2:5).
- Jesus Christ, being both God and man, died on a cross shedding His blood to provide forgiveness of sin. Paul says in Romans 5:10 that, “For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.” Jesus provided forgiveness and atonement for sin through His shed blood on His cross. However, not only did Jesus die but He rose again.
- Jesus Christ rose from the grave on the third day. Not only did Jesus die, but God raised Him from the dead by which Jesus overcame sin and death and proclaimed God’s acceptance of His perfect sacrifice for sin.
- Salvation is gained by repentance and faith. God provided the means for salvation through Christ, now that means must be appropriated to your life through repentance of sin and faith in Christ. Man must acknowledge his sinful condition and turn from his sin in repentance and exercise faith in the person and mediating work of Jesus Christ. Jesus stated in Mark 1:15, “Repent and believe in the gospel.” This faith must be in Christ alone. Nothing, other than Christ’s mediating work applied to your life by faith can make you righteous before God.
We as a church call you to repent of sin and turn and place your faith in Christ believing upon this gospel good news. This is the only means by which man can be saved, gaining forgiveness and eternal life in heaven with God forever. If you would like to give your life to Christ and have questions about becoming a Christian please contact us so that we can come alongside and assist you in your faith.