Man’s Sin and God’s Salvation
The Commandment of God to Man
“And the Lord God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it. And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die” (Genesis 2:15-17).
Man’s Disobedience to God
“And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: for God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil. And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat” (Genesis 3:4-6).
The Sinfulness of All People
“Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned” (Romans 5:12).
“As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one” (Romans 3:10).
“All have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).
The Penalty of Sin
“The wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 6:23).
God’s Love for Sinners
“God commendeth His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).
“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).
The Call to Sinners
Jesus said, “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28).
“And Jesus said unto them, I am the Bread of Life: he that cometh to Me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on Me shall never thirst” (John 6:35).
“Jesus saith unto him, I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by Me” (John 14:6).
“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 whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Romans 10:9,13).
The Assurance of Salvation
“Him that cometh to Me I will in no wise cast out” (John 6:37).
“Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on Me hath everlasting life” (John 6:47).
“This is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life. These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.” (1 John 5:11-13).
Man’s Sin or God’s Salvation: Which is it for you?
Your sin separates you from God. You may think of yourself as a good person, but when you are compared to the All-Holy God, you fall very short. Have you ever lied? Have you ever stolen anything – even as a small child? Have you ever used God’s name as a cuss word? If you have answered “yes” to these questions. Then on the day of judgment you will stand before God accused of being a lying, stealing, blasphemer and you will be pronounced guilty! However, if you have repented of your sin and trusted in Jesus Christ, then His sacrificial death on the cross paid your sin debt.
Everyone is familiar with John 3:16:
John 3:16For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
What they are not as familiar with is the next two verses:
John 3:17For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.
John 3:18He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
Each of us is born condemned and the only way to be with God for eternity in Heaven is through trusting in His Son, Jesus Christ.
What Are You Trusting?
Believing in God: In order to go to heaven, what must you believe? The Bible teaches that merely acknowledging certain facts about God means little: “Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble” (James 2:19). See also: Matthew 7:21-23
Being Baptized: How does baptism help you to get to heaven? Nowhere does the Bible teach that it makes a person right with God. In fact, Paul wrote: “Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel” (1 Corinthians 1:17). See also: Luke 23:40-43; Acts 10:44-48
Going to Church: How does going to church or being a member of a particular church help you attain salvation? The Bible teaches that the church is not a place, but God’s people–the Body of Christ: “[The Father] … gave Him [the Son] to be the Head over all things to the church, which is His body” (Ephesians 1:22,23). See also: 1 Corinthians 12:12,13; Colossians 1:18
Receiving the Sacraments: How does receiving the sacraments, especially the Eucharist, contribute to your salvation? The Bible does not speak of a series of rituals necessary for salvation. The biblical purpose of taking bread and wine is simply a reminder of Jesus, as He said: “This is My body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of Me” (Luke 22:19). See also: 1 Corinthians 11:23-26
Praying: In what way does praying help you to attain eternal life? Jesus taught that repeating prayers over and over is of no value: “When ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking” (Matthew 6:7). See also: Matthew 7:21-23
Keeping the Commandments: Are you able to keep the Ten Commandments to God’s standard? The Bible teaches that anyone who does not keep the Commandments perfectly will be judged unworthy of heaven: “Whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all” (James 2:10). See also: Galatians 3:10-12; Romans 3:20,23,28; 7:7-12
Loving Your Neighbor: Do you love your neighbor with the kind of love that God requires? Jesus taught: “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself” (Matthew 22:39). See also: Luke 10:25-37; 1 John 3:16-18; James 1:27
Doing Good Works: How many good works do you have to do to earn eternal life? The Scriptures teach that even the best that we do is tainted with sin and unworthy of God: “All our righteousnesses are as filthy rags” (Isaiah 64:6). See also: Romans 3:12,23; 4:4,5; Ephesians 2:8,9; Titus 3:5; John 6:28,29
Dying With No Unconfessed Sin: Does your soul’s condition at the moment of death affect your eternal destiny? Jesus said that those who belong to Him would never be condemned to hell: “I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of My hand” (John 10:28). See also: Romans 5:8-10; 8:33,34; 1 John 5:11-13
Anything Else: What else must you do to be saved? Jesus taught that the only way to a right relationship with God was through Him: “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by Me” (John 14:6). See also: Acts 4:12; John 8:24; Matthew 7:13-20
Trusting Jesus As Saviour: The Bible teaches that those who are trusting Jesus to save them will spend eternity in heaven: “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). See also: John 5:24; Romans 10:9,10; Acts 16:30,31
What are you trusting to get into heaven? As we have seen, none of those things listed inside can get you there. Salvation is a gift of God which cannot be earned (Ephesians 2:8,9). How can you receive this gift?
Salvation is offered on the basis of what Jesus, the Son of God, has already done. On the cross, Jesus took the guilt of our sins upon Himself and paid the penalty of our sins for us, dying in our place (Mark 10:45; 1 Peter 3:18). His resurrection is proof that His sacrifice was acceptable to God as the just payment for our sins (1 Corinthians 15:3,4; Romans 4:25).
God’s instructions are “Repent ye, and believe the gospel” (Mark 1:15). To repent is to change your mind–to agree with God that you are a sinner and cannot save yourself. To believe the gospel is to place your faith in (completely trust) Jesus as your Saviour.
THE MOST INTERESTING STORY I EVER HEARD by Dr. Bob Jones, Sr.
The most interesting story I ever heard was told me years ago by a man over eighty years of age. We were sitting together on a projecting rock of a mountainside in Arkansas. Here is his story:
“I was down in this county during the Civil War. Across on the other side yonder there were hundreds of tents where our soldiers were encamped. Measles broke out, and many of our brave lads died. The epidemic got so bad we stretched some tents further down the valley and moved all the measles patients into these tents. This, of course, was done to protect as far as possible the health of the well soldiers. I was wardmaster in charge of the tents where the measles patients were located.
One night while I was on the ward, I passed a bunk where there was a very sick soldier lad not more than seventeen years of age. The boy looked at me with a pathetic expression and said, ‘Wardmaster, I believe I am going to die. I am not a Christian. My mother is not a Christian. My father isn’t a Christian. I never had any Christian training. I never did attend church. I did go with a friend to Sunday school just once. A woman taught the Sunday school class. She seemed to be such a good woman. She read us something out of the Bible about a man – I think his name was Nicodemus. Anyway, it was about a man who went to see Jesus one night. Jesus told this man he must be born again.
The teacher said all people must be born again in order to go to Heaven when they die. I have never been born again, and I don’t want to die like this. Won’t you please get the chaplain so he can tell me how to be born again?’
The old man hesitated for a moment. “You know, in those days I was an agnostic – at least, that is what I called myself. As a matter of fact, I wasn’t anything but an old sinner. So I told the boy, ‘You don’t need a chaplain. Just be quiet now. Don’t worry, you’ll be alright.’ I went on around the ward, and in about an hour I came back to the boy’s bed. He looked at me out of such sad, staring eyes as he said, ‘Wardmaster, if you won’t get me the chaplain, please get me the doctor. I am choking to death.’ ‘All right my son, I’ll get you the doctor.’ I said. So I went off and found the doctor, and he came and mopped out the throat of the lad so he could breathe just a little easier. I know the boy was going to die. I had seen many other cases just like his. The boy was so sweet he literally climbed into my heart. He thanked me for my kindness. He thanked the doctor for being so good to him. The doctor and I went away from the bed.
In about an hour I came back expecting to find the boy dead, but he was still struggling. He looked up out of his eyes of death and said, ‘There is no use, Wardmaster, I have got to die, and I haven’t been born again. Whether you believe it or not, won’t you find the chaplain and let him tell me how to be born again?’ I looked at him for a moment and thought about how helpless he was in the grip of death. So I said, ‘All right, my son, I will get you the chaplain.’
I walked away a few paces and then turned and went back to the boy’s bedside. I said, ‘My boy, I am not going to get you the chaplain. I am going to tell you what to do myself. Now understand, I am an agnostic. I don’t know whether there is any God. I don’t know whether there is any Heaven. I don’t know whether there is any hell. I don’t know anything. Yes, I do. I know one thing. I know my mother was a good woman. I know if there is a God, my mother knew Him. If there is a Heaven, I know she is there. So I will tell you what my mother told me. You can try it and see if it works. Now, I am going to teach you a verse of Scripture. The verse is John 3:16.
“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.” My mother said that I cannot save myself, but if I will believe in Jesus, He will save me.’
I asked the boy to say the verse with me. I started, and he followed with a weak and trembling voice. “For God so loved the world,” “For God so loved the world,”: “He gave His only begotten Son,” “He gave
His only begotten Son“: “that whosoever believeth in Him”, “that whosoever believeth in Him“: “should not perish”, “should not perish“: “but have everlasting life”, “but have everlasting life.” ‘Now my boy, my mother said if a person will trust Jesus, he will not perish but have everlasting life.’
I have referred the lad to another verse my mother taught me, but he closed his eyes, stretched his hands across his breast; and in a whisper he quoted slowly, repeating some of the same words several times. ‘For God so loved the world…He gave His only begotten Son…that whosoever, whosoever…whosoever believeth, believeth in Him, believeth in Him.’ Then he stopped and said with a clear voice, ‘Praise God, Wardmaster, it works. I believe in Him! I shall not perish! I have everlasting life! I have been born again! Wardmaster, your mother was right. Why don’t you try it? Do what your mother said. It works, Wardmaster. This thing works! Wardmaster before I go I want to ask you to do something for me. Take a kiss to my mother and tell her what you told me, and tell her that her dying son said, it works.’ I leaned over and kissed him; and then, as he drew his last breath, he said, ‘it works.’
The old man, wiping tears out of his eyes and tears out of the wrinkles of his face, said, ‘the lad was right. It does work. Whosoever believeth in Him shall not perish but has now everlasting life. It works. I know it works!’”
Mat 22:37, 38 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. (38) This is the first and great commandment.
If this is the greatest commandment, then failure to follow it would be the greatest sin.