Plain and Simple, Salvation Is a Miracle
The high priest and all his associates laid hands on the apostles and put them in public jail. But during the night an angel of the Lord opened the gates of the prison, and taking them out he said, “Go, stand and speak to the people in the temple the whole message of this Life. Acts 5:17-20
And now, behold, I know that all of you, among whom I went about preaching the kingdom, will no longer see my face. Therefore, I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all men. For I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole purpose of God. Acts 20:25-27
I had the privilege of sharing the gospel with a young lady today who earnestly wanted to know how to be a better Christian. We started at the beginning and asked whether or not she was a Christian at all. She went home with a conversation in mind, books and Bible in hand and some specific verses to read. I pray that she contemplates seriously whether she is in Christ, because it is deadly serious whether she is or not.
She had many good questions and she also had several preexisting misunderstandings. She asked why Jesus got so much attention instead of God. She did not know whether she wanted to get cleaned up or give up some things so she could come to Jesus. We talked a lot about salvation being the source or root of our wanting to do good works and how that is evidence of our faith in Christ, but not the cause of our salvation. She was dealing with many of the concerns and misconceptions that so many people deal with that keep them from coming to Christ. I commend her for being willing to deal with the hard questions.
These questions and concerns led us to consider many areas of bible and theology. We talked about:
- The Trinity.
- The perfect righteous standard of a creator God.
- Jesus deity and sinless life.
- Jesus death, burial and resurrection.
- Substitutionary atonement.
- Imputation of Righteousness and Sin.
- The deposit of the Holy Spirit as our guarantee of our salvation in Christ.
- How people get saved (Ephesians 1:13; Romans 10).
I didn’t throw out some of these words but we did talk about them because this is what composes the whole gospel. Unfortunately, many have reduced the gospel to four or five verses in Romans. (By the way, I gave her the Roman Road, but only in the context of the whole gospel.) I want to be faithful just as the apostles in Acts were to give the whole life of Jesus. I want to give the whole gospel.
But as I was explaining the whole gospel with many terms and illustrations and stories, I wondered, “How did I get saved? How does anyone understand this and get saved? How is God going to use this mess of words that I have created to be an understandable and believable message for salvation by repentance from sin to belief in Christ?”
This is all I want to say:
We are to be faithful stewards of God’s word. We are to be clear and as thorough as possible with the whole story.
But it is the Spirit that uses God’s word and guides people in truth and causes them to be born again so that they might respond with saving repentance and faith (John 16:5-11; Titus 3:5; 1 Peter 1:3-5).
Before Elijah (our 4 year-old) was to be born we went to see the doctor who was to perform the delivery. I’ll never forget what she said to Lacey and I:
“It is a miracle anyone is born.”
Physical birth is a miracle, but spiritual rebirth may be the greatest miracle of all (John 3). That God would take His perfect word and give it to us as the instrument the Spirit uses to save fallen and sinful people is a miracle; plain and simple. But we must give people the whole gospel. God will do His part. Will we do ours?