By Norman Midgette
The answer to this question is simple, yet most religious people miss some part of it. Some say you are saved without doing anything. Others say it is all up to God’s predestination. If you are predestined to be saved, so be it. If you are predestined to be lost, too bad. Still others miss the truth with only a partial answer because all they say you must do is just believe it. Here is what the Bible says.
Just as Jesus said, “Except ye believe that I am he, ye shall die in your sins” (John 8:24), he just as clearly taught we must respond to the gospel with the same faith. Paul wrote, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek” (Rom. 1:16). The gospel is identified in 1 Corinthians 15:1-8 as the life, death, burial, resurrection, and appearances of Christ following his crucifixion. We must believe the truth of all these aspects of the life of Christ to be a believer of the gospel.
Whether you want to believe there is anything to obey or not, here is what the Bible says. When Jesus returns he will return with his angels and flaming fire, “… rendering vengeance on them that know not God, and to them that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus” (2 Thess. 1:8). The only thing any of us can obey is a command. Therefore, there have to be commands in the gospel and there are. Look at one example. On the day of Pentecost, when the first gospel sermon was preached and the church was established, Peter gave a command to those who heard him. The people said, “What shall we do?” Peter replied, “Re-pent ye, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ unto the remission of your sins; and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:38). The same is true today to all who would be saved by the gospel. The gospel will not save you unless you obey it.
Remember this passage? “Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ” (Phil. 1:27). What is the purpose of believing and obeying the gospel if you are not going to live by it? A way of life is presented in the gospel you will find no place else. You cannot rely on your feelings to know how to please God. Neither can you rely on the opinions of great men, past or present. The only way we can know how to live with God is to accept his word. Every day, live it. Everywhere, live it. All your life, live it. Just as you cannot be saved without believing and obeying the gospel, neither can we be saved without living it.
The gospel has power. The gospel gives life. What a wonderful blessing it is to have it handed to us by the grace of God and the love of concerned friends. Pass it on.
Guardian of Truth XL: No. 14, p. 15
July 18, 1996