What must I do to be saved? The answer to this question has implications both now and for eternity. Sadly, wrong answers are being given all the time. In this study, Don Blackwell opens the Bible and shares with us God's answer to this question. It is a simple, straight-forward study done in a kind and loving manner. With a question of this magnitude, you cannot afford to be wrong. Won't you join us for this vital study?
by Don Blackwell
"What must I do to be saved?" It's the most important of all questions. It's a question that has implications both here and now, and on into eternity. A million years after you die, the answer to this question will still matter.
But you know, as important as this question is, wrong answers are given to it on a daily basis. You could ask five different people this question and you might get five different answers. Now, if we were talking about a less important subject that would be alright.
If I were to ask, "Which football team is the greatest football team ever," and I received five different answers, well, that would be okay.
Or, if I asked, "What is the best fast food restaurant," and I received five different answers, that would be acceptable, and maybe even expected.
But dear friend, there is no room for error on the question of our present discussion. Because the difference between a wrong answer and a right answer is the difference between heaven and hell. And so, what I want to do is to go to the Bible for the answer. That's what we have to do. It's the only source where I can find the right answer to this question.
I might pick up the telephone and call a local denomination and ask their preacher, "What must I do to be saved?"
And the answer he may give me is, "Say the 'sinner's prayer'."
Friend, would you be surprised to learn that this "sinner's prayer" is not found anywhere in the pages of the Bible? And, would you be further surprised if I told you that of all of the conversion accounts in the Bible, not one person was ever saved by prayer. There is no record of a prayer like that in the Bible. And, if I'm going to be safe today, it is going to have to be the same way that they were in the Bible. Because you see, God's plan that saves people has not changed.
And so, the question is, "What did God require people to do in New Testament times in order to be saved from their sins?"
Friends, when we read the New Testament, and particularly the Book of Acts which is the book of conversions, we see absolute consistency. From Acts, chapter 2, which is the day the church began, and going forward, all people were saved the same way. They all went through the same steps.
Now, sometimes we summarize those steps this way. We say that a person must:
4. Confess; and,
5. Be Baptized.
And every person who was saved, went through those five steps. But you know, if we were to simply leave it at that, just stating the five steps, we would be doing you a great disservice. Because obviously, more explanation is needed.
And so, what we want to do for the next several minutes is to see what a person really needs to do to become a Christian, and to be saved from his sins, and to explain these from the Bible.
Now, the first thing, as we stated a moment ago, the first thing a person must do to have his sins forgiven and to become a Christian, is to hear the Gospel. No man can be saved if he doesn't hear the Gospel.
In the Bible, in Romans, chapter 10 and verse 13, the text says:
...'whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.' 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...?"
Now, that's very important. The text says it is necessary to "call" in order to be "saved." It is necessary to "believe" in order to "call," and it is necessary to "hear" in order to "believe."
And so, the conclusion is that, "If a man never 'hears' the Gospel, he cannot be 'saved' eternally." And that's why the verse goes on to say:
"...And how shall they hear without a preacher?"
In other words, those of us who are already Christians had better get the word to them, or else they will be lost.
Well, what about people who've never heard the Gospel. Will they still be condemned even though they're ignorant of the truth? Listen to what the Bible says in Acts, chapter seventeen and verse 30. The text says:
"Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent, because He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world..." Now, what's the point?
Friends, the point is: "Ignorance is not an excuse."
Now, if somebody says, "Are you telling me, then, that people are going to be lost because of ignorance?"
No, I'm not telling you that. I'm telling you that people are going to be lost because of sin. And ignorance cannot wash away my sins. You see, only the blood of Christ can do that. And so, I have to hear about how this works. I have to hear about what to do to have my sins washed away. Because you see, if a man doesn't hear the Gospel, he may go through his whole life never knowing that he has sins that are going to cause him to be lost.
Romans, chapter 6, in verse 23 says:
For the wages of sin is death (that's eternal death), but the gift of God is eternal life in Jesus Christ our Lord."
A man may never know that he is destined for eternity in hell. And not knowing, he's certainly not going to do anything about it. And so, he has to hear about the problem. But then, once he's heard about the problem, he must certainly hear about the remedy. It's not going to do me any good to know that I'm lost in sin unless I know what to do about it. And so, I have to hear about the remedy.
You know, when God created man in the Garden of Eden, man was sinless and in perfect fellowship with God. But, as time passed, man sinned. And this caused a very serious problem. Because, inherent in the nature of God, is justice. Psalm 89 and verse 14 says:
"Righteousness and justice are the foundation of Your throne..."
You know, perhaps one of the greatest misunderstandings that people have of God, is that God can simply choose to overlook sin if He so desires.
In fact, sometimes I hear people say, "Well, you know, a lost person in the jungles of South America who has never heard the Gospel, surely, God will not let that person be lost. Surely, God will save that person anyway."
Friends, God cannot simply choose to overlook sin. The fact is that if God were to ignore even one single sin, He would, at that point, cease to be a just God. He would no longer be a God of righteousness and perfection.
In the book of Leviticus 24, verses 17 through 20, the Bible lays down the "Principle of Justice." It is "an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, a breach for a breach, and a life for a life." And so, justice requires a life for a life.
Friends, the very nature of God demands this. This is not an optional matter. Justice had to be served. The penalty for sin had to be paid.
Now, God could have allowed man to pay the penalty himself, and to die and be lost eternally. But you see, God's love for us longed for another way. But you see, there was only one other way. And that was for God, Himself, to pay the penalty.
And so, God arranged a plan to pay it for you and for me. He sent Christ, a member of the God Head Himself, to become a human being, to be born of a virgin, to live a perfect life, and to die in my place.
Isaiah, chapter 53 in verse 5, says:
"But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed."
Friends, man must hear about this. They have to hear about this. Every person who became a Christian in the Bible, first heard the Gospel. That's the first step, you must hear the Gospel.
But, the second step is: "Believing the Gospel." Upon hearing it, a man must believe it as well.
Now, somebody says, "Well, what do you mean? What is it that I must believe?"
This relates back to step number one and that is hearing it. A man must believe that which he has heard. In Mark 16:15 16, the Bible says:
"And He said to them (that is Jesus said to them), 'Go into all the world and preach the gospel (the good news) to every creature. He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.'"
Now, what does that entail? What is it that a man must believe?
Now first, a man must believe, he must understand, that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God. John 8:24, Jesus said:
"...if you do not believe that I am He, you will die in your sins."
That is, a man must understand that Jesus Christ is deity, a member of the God Head. John, chapter 1, verse 14:
"And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth."
And so, a man must believe in the deity of Christ. He must also believe in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. "...and that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us," Romans 5:8. Then he arose, defeating death, 1 Corinthians 15:54 and 55. And Romans 10 and verse 9:
"...If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved."
And so, a man must believe in the deity of Christ. He must believe in the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ.
And friends, it is also crucial that a man believe in, and understand, the body of Christ. The Bible teaches that salvation is found only in the body of Christ. 2 Timothy 2:10 says that:
"Salvation is 'in Christ.'"
1 John 5:11:
"...God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son."
Sometimes, I've met people that have been baptized into Christ, but they seem to still have the idea that one church is just as good as another. That one body is just as good as another. And sometimes, people will come out of the watery grave of baptism and they will be offended at the idea that denominationalism is sinful.
Denominationalism is the idea that there are many different churches and each is pleasing to God. They have the idea that many churches exist and that that's fine.
The Bible teaches that salvation is found only in the one body of Christ, Ephesians 4:4. And it's crucial that every person understand this in order to be saved. How can a man be saved in the one body of Christ if he's never been taught about that one body?
In Acts, chapter 8, Philip went down into the city of Samaria and he taught the people there the Gospel. And verse 12 says:
"But when they believed (now what did they believe?) but when they believed Philip as he preached the things concerning the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, both men and women were baptized."
Now, I want to emphasize the fact that Philip taught them about the kingdom of God.
You see, the kingdom is the one church of the Bible. Philip taught them about that. And when they believed it, they were baptized.
Now, as a side note, the text says:
"...Men and women were baptized."
Never do you read about little children being baptized in the Bible. Indeed, they don't need to be. Only those who are accountable in the eyes of God, who have reached a certain level of mental development, need to be baptized. And these are folks who are old enough to believe.
Okay, back to the point. There's one church. There's one body. And a person needs to understand and believe that. Listen to this, 1 Corinthians, chapter 12 and verse 12:
"...For as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ. For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body..."
Friends, this passage teaches that there is one body.
Ephesians 1:22 and 23 says that the body is the church. And so, there's one body which is the one church. We are therefore baptized into the one body of Christ, the one church of Christ. How could you teach a person the Gospel without teaching this truth?
Okay, that's the second step in the plan of salvation. A man must first hear the Gospel. And then he must believe it, he believes in the deity of Christ: the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ; and the one body wherein is salvation.
And so, a man must hear. He must believe.
Thirdly, he much repent of his sins. A man must repent. In Acts, chapter 2, the people who were present on the day of Pentecost, wanted to know the answer to the very question that we're discussing today. That is: "What must I do to be saved?"
In Acts 2 and verse 37, they cried out: "...Men and brethren, what shall we do?"
Verse 38, Peter answered:
"...Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins..."
And so, a man must repent.
Now, we need to understand what repentance is. Repentance includes three things.
First, repentance is a change of mind. It's a change of thinking. In Matthew, chapter 21 and verse 28, Jesus illustrated this in this way. He said:
"But what do you think? A man had two sons, and he came to the first and said, 'Son, go, work today in my vineyard.' He answered and said, 'I will not,' but afterward he repented... (now some versions say he regretted) but afterward he repented and he went."
Now, you see the point? He changed his mind. He said, "I'm not going to go," but then he changed his mind. That's the first thing involved in repentance. It is a change of thinking.
Sometimes I hear people define repentance as "to stop sinning." That's not really a good definition. Because, you see, a man could stop sinning without really repenting.
Now, that brings us to the second part of repentance.
First, repentance is a change of mind.
Secondly, repentance involves godly sorrow.
2 Corinthians 7:10, says:
"For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death."
Alright, thirdly. Repentance involves a change of life.
Now, sometimes this is called "fruit of repentance." In other words, if I have repented up here, then you should see it out here. If I've repented in my mind, you should see it in my life. For example, if godly sorrow has caused me to repent of stealing, then I'm not going to be stealing anymore. If I've changed my mind about that, I'm not going to practice it. I have had a change of life.
Now, repentance then is:
A change of mind, produced by godly sorrow, resulting in a change of life.
Acts, chapter 17 and verse 30, says:
"Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent."
Okay, step number four:
A man must hear the Gospel, believe it, repent of his sins, and then he must confess.
Romans, chapter 10 and verse 10, clearly tells us:
"For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation."
In Acts, chapter 8, as Philip was teaching the Gospel to the Ethiopian eunuch, the eunuch said: "See, here is water. What hinders me from being baptized?"
And Philip responded: "...'If you believe with all of your heart, you may.'
And he answered and said, 'I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.'" Acts, chapter 8 and verse 37.
And so, with his mouth, he made that good confession.
And that's the confession that we're talking about. It is a confession of what you believe. It's a confession of what you've heard.
You know, sometimes, people think that they have to make a confession of their sins when they become a Christian. I want you to imagine if a man is forty years old when he first becomes a Christian. That's a lot of sin. That's a lot of confession. It's impossible, no one could do that.
But you know, that's not what's expected. In fact, if you think about this, these steps are a very natural progression.
You have to hear.
And then, you have to believe what you've heard which causes you to change your mind or to repent.
And then, you confess that you believe what you've heard.
You know, sometimes when talking about confession, people go to Matthew, chapter 10, verses 32 and 33, were Jesus said:
"Therefore whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven. But whoever denies Me before men, him I will also deny before My Father who is in heaven."
And then they'll say, "See, this verse teaches that we have to make that confession."
Well, I suppose the principle is there; but, I don't think this verse is really talking about this "good confession." This was said to the apostles on what we call the "limited commission" and was said to encourage them. And I suppose could be applied, maybe, in a broader sense; but it's not really the point.
"What must I do to be saved?"
Hear. Believe. Repent. Confess.
And finally, a man needs to be baptized. In order to have my sins washed away, I need to be baptized.
Ananias said to Saul, in Acts, chapter 22 and verse 16:
"And now why are you waiting? Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord."
I can't be saved until my sins have been washed away. And this verse teaches that my sins are washed away in baptism.
Now, friends, that means that I can't be saved first and baptize later as is commonly taught by many. In Acts, chapter 2 and verse 38, Peter said:
"...Repent, and let everyone of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins..."
I can't have my sins remitted before I'm baptized. Therefore, I can't be saved until I'm baptized.
A man can't be saved until he has applied to himself the cleansing blood of Jesus.
And so, the question is: "What is it that washes away my sins?"
And the answer is: "The blood of Jesus."
We sing a song, sometimes, "What can wash away my sins?" And the answer is: "Nothing but the blood of Jesus."
In Matthew 26 and verse 28, Jesus said:
"For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins."
Jesus' blood was shed for the remission of sins.
Revelation 1 and verse 5, says that:
"...Jesus Christ... loved us and washed us from our sins with his own blood..."
And so, we are washed by the blood of Jesus.
Someone says then, "Where does baptism come into play?"
You see, baptism is where I contact the blood of Jesus. Jesus shed his blood in his death, and it is in death that I contact that blood. Listen to this. Romans, chapter 6, verses 3 and 4:
"Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with Him through baptism into death..."
Now, Jesus shed His blood in His death, I am buried into His death:
"...through baptism into His death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life."
And so, I'm buried in the watery grave of baptism into death. I contact the blood of Christ and I'm raised to walk in newness of life.
Why? Why do I have newness of life when I come out of the waters of baptism? Because in baptism, I contacted the blood of Christ. In baptism I was washed, and I was cleansed, and now I'm a new creature. You see, in baptism I contact the cleansing blood of the Savior.
As a matter of fact, when someone suggests that a person can be saved without baptism, in reality he's suggesting that a man can be saved without the blood of Christ; because, baptism is where I contact the blood of Jesus. And friend, every person that I read about being saved in the Bible and becoming a Christian, was baptized in order to do so. And, in many passages, it is specifically stated.
In Acts, chapter 2 and verse 38, Peter preached:
"Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins..."
"Then those who gladly received his word were baptized..."
Acts, chapter 8, in the conversion of the Ethiopian eunuch. In Acts 8:36, the eunuch said:
"See, here is water. What hinders me from being baptized?"
"And both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water, and he baptized him."
Also in Acts, chapter 8, the people of Samaria. Verse 5 says:
"Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria and preach Christ unto them."
"But when they believed Philip as he preached the things concerning the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, both men and women were baptized."
Acts, chapter 10, in the conversion of Cornelius. Acts 10:47, Peter asked:
"Can anyone forbid water, that these should not be baptized..."
Acts 16, the conversion of Lydia. Verse 15:
"And when she and her household were baptized, she begged us, saying..."
Also, Acts 16, the Philippian jailer. Acts 16:33:
"And he took them the same hour of the night and washed their stripes. And immediately he and all of his family were baptized."
Acts 22, the conversion of Saul. In verse 16, Ananias said to him:
"And now why are you waiting? Arise in be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord."
Now, I know that there are people in the world who say that baptism is not necessary. That a man is saved prior to baptism. That baptism has nothing to do with salvation.
But friends, the Bible still says:
"There is also an antitype which now saves usB baptism (not the removal of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God)..." 1 Peter, chapter 3 and verse 21.
You know, it is interesting when discussing the plan of salvation with people, because many people will admit to the necessity of hearing the Gospel. Most people will acknowledge that a man must believe the Gospel. Many will accept repentance... I suppose most will accept repentance. And, you'll get very few arguments over the need for confession. But, when it comes to baptism, many people will deny that it's necessary.
I want you to notice this chart with me. It's a conversion chart. It has a number of conversions from the Book of Acts. As a matter fact, we have listed 9 different accounts of people who obeyed the Gospel, who became Christians. I want you to notice that each of the steps of the plan of salvation is not specifically mentioned every time. I want you to notice that even though confession is commanded by God in order to be saved, more often than not, it's not specifically mentioned in every passage.
And we could say the same thing about repentance. Few people would question the necessity of repentance and certainly the Bible commands it. But, it's not always specifically referenced in each and every conversion account.
But I want you to notice baptism. In each of these 9 accounts, baptism is specifically mentioned.
Now, to help us appreciate the necessity and the importance of baptism, I want you to envision in your mind a circle. I want you to picture a circle.
And I want you to label over the circle "Body of Christ." Do you see it? A circle and then it says "Body of Christ."
Now, next to the circle I want you to envision a stick man. And so, you have a circle that says "Body of Christ" and you have a stick man.
Now, I want you to think about this. 2 Timothy, chapter 2 and verse 10, says that:
"Salvation is in Christ."
And so, this circle represents the body of Christ.
Salvation is in Christ; and so, inside the circle I want you to write "salvation."
Now, 1 John 5, and verse 11, says that "eternal life is in Christ." So, write the words inside the circle "eternal life."
Now, here comes the question, the question of the utmost importance: "If salvation is inside that circle, and eternal life is inside that circle, how do I get inside that circle? How do I get into the circle?"
And friends, the answer is found in Galatians, chapter 3, in verse 27. The Bible says:
"For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ."
You see, baptism is the doorway. It is what moves the man from outside of the circle to inside of the circle. It takes the man on the outside and puts him into the body wherein is salvation.
Now, I want to make one more very important point.
Whenever I study the Gospel with someone, something that I always like to cover is the cost of becoming a Christian. What is involved in being a Christian?
Now, why do I say this? Why do I ask this?
Because many times over the years, I have seen a person who was baptized into Christ on Sunday morning, and then he doesn't come back for worship services on Sunday night. And then, he's not back on Wednesday night or whatever other time the church assembles.
You see, at the point of baptism, a person is washed from his sins and he is saved. Acts 2:47 says that God adds him to the church. But what about after that?
Friends, the Bible teaches that a person must hear, believe, repent, confess, be baptized.
But then, he must "live faithfully."
And that's what we're talking about.
When a person becomes a Christian, he is just beginning the journey. He is giving his life, he is giving his all to the Lord. Listen to the words of Jesus. Luke chapter 14, beginning in verse 27:
"And whoever does not bear his cross..." (That is, died to self. When a man would take up his cross, he was going to die.) "...And whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple. For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost, whether he has enough to finish itB lest, after he has laid the foundation, and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, saying, 'This man began to build and was not able to finish?' So likewise, whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be My disciple."
Friends, becoming a Christian is an absolute commitment. It is a commitment:
To attend faithfully;
To give as you've prospered;
To worship God;
To give your all.
And until a person is ready to give it all, he's not ready to become a Christian.
"What must I do to be saved?"
It's the most important of all questions.
The answer is:
At that point, the Bible says, you will be added to the Lord's church.
But then, you must live faithfully for the rest of your life, and you'll find a home eternally, in heaven.
A few years ago my wife’s employer, a professed believer and follower of Jesus Christ, informed Beth of her belief that the events of the book of Genesis (the creation of the world in six days, Adam and Eve, the global flood, the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, etc.) was fictional. When Beth asked her why she believed this, she cited the genealogical timelines recorded in Genesis (Gen. 4:17-5:32) which, when taken into account alongside the historical fact that Jesus Christ lived about two thousand years ago and the biblical genealogical records tracing his lineage back to Abraham and Adam (Matt. 1:1-17; Luke 3:23-38), would promote the conclusion that this world is only around six thousand years old. She then explained how this contradicted the scientific “facts” of evolution which promote a rather lengthy age of 4-6 billion years for this planet. She also pointed out that the historical existence of Adam and Eve contradicts the “proven facts of evolution” which proclaim that mankind evolved over millions of years from animals. As for the global flood, she dismissed it as an obvious fable and myth.
Sadly, this was not the first time (nor would it be the last) in which I had heard of a supposed Christian denying the authenticity of Genesis in favor of upholding the erroneous, unproven, and inconsistent man-made theories of evolution. About ten years ago, I was involved from time to time in a college ministry. On one occasion, the college minister had invited a brother in Christ who taught at a university to speak to these college students about how the six days in which Genesis says the world was created in reality were each symbolic of millions of years. When asked by me and a few others why he believed this, he said that due to the “proven fact” that this world is millions and millions of years old, we should not take these six days in Genesis chapter one literally. According to him and many others, the six days are obviously representative of much longer periods of time, which would then back up what science has supposedly proven to be true.
However, much scientific, archeological, and historical evidence exists which contradicts these notions. My purpose in writing this article is not to directly present such evidence; therefore, I encourage the reader to examine the material published by Apologetics Press to which I have already provided links in this article. I encourage the readers of this blog who do not believe in Christianity and/or are atheists to examine the material at Apologetics Press with an open and honest heart. To my Christian readers, I commend you to them in order for you to learn more and thus be “prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you” (1 Pet. 3:15). To further help us obey this scriptural command, this article will consider the biblical evidence which supports the historicity of Genesis so that we can see how logical consistency would force those professed followers of Christ who deny Genesis’ authenticity or try to change its message in favor of man’s evolutionary theories to also deny Jesus Christ and his teachings.
To begin with, let’s examine exactly why we believe in Jesus Christ. Why are you a Christian? What is the basis for your faith in Jesus? Is it only because your parents were churchgoers and taught you to be the same? Similarly, is it “because I’ve always believed”? While both of these reasons are important and should not be discounted, our faith must be built on more. Why? Because both the skeptic and the honest seeker of truth will, legitimately, be dissatisfied when they ask you, “Why should I become a Christian?” and the only answer you give them is, “The reason I’m a Christian is because my parents brought me to church and taught me since childhood, and so I’ve always believed.” “Fine,” they will say, “but why have you always believed? Why did your parents believe? Why did the Christians who taught them believe? Why should I believe?”
“When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child…” ( 1 Cor. 13:11). I went to church because my parents wanted me to, and I believed in Jesus because they believed in Jesus. That needed to change as the years passed, because when “I became a man, I gave up childish ways” (1 Cor. 13:11). My faith needed to be my own, and it needed to have concrete, thought out, scriptural, logical, and consistent reasons (Rom. 10:17; 1 Thess. 5:21). Therefore, I as an adult believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, my Savior, and my Lord because God raised him from the dead (Rom. 1:3-4; 1 Cor. 15:12-19) after he lived a sinless life (1 Pet. 2:22; Heb. 4:15) in order to die on the cross as the saving propitiation for our sins (1 John 2:2; Rom. 5:6-11).
There are additional reasons for my faith in Jesus, but for the purpose of this article I want us to focus on the fact that our faith in Christ is meaningless if he wasn’t raised from the dead…after having died on that cross to save us from our sins…after having lived a sinless life. If Jesus hadn’t lived a sinless life, then his death on the cross would not have been the propitiation for our sins. Therefore, God would not have raised him from the dead to prove to us that he is our Savior.
The key to this which I want us to focus on is the necessity of Jesus having lived a sinless life. Specifically, I want us to focus on the fact that no deceit was found in his mouth (1 Pet. 2:22). Think about that for a minute. If Christ had been dishonest in any way, he could not be the propitiation for our sins and God would not have resurrected him. Therefore, he could not be our Savior, which means that our faith, the Christian religion, is meaningless.
Bringing this back to the historicity of Genesis, we will see below how both Jesus and the apostles and prophets his Holy Spirit inspired () talked about the events recorded in Genesis as if they were factual, historical events. This is significant because if they in fact were mistaken or lying, then Christ could never have been our Savior. Therefore, Christianity as a whole would be completely false. Those who deny Genesis while professing to be followers of Christ need to realize this.
For example, Jesus while describing how Judgment Day will occur compared it to the day when the Genesis flood came (Matt. 24:35-39; Luke 17:22-27; cf. Gen. 6-9). Peter also used the flood to illustrate the importance of immersion (1 Pet. 3:18-21) and the importance of not being a false teacher (2 Pet. 2:1-5, 9-10). Notice that they did not imply nor refer to the flood as a story or myth in any way. If the global flood did not actually occur, then by talking about it as if it did occur Jesus and his apostles were being less than truthful, and therefore sinned. If that was the case, why are we Christians?
Again, Jesus on several occasions referred to the Genesis account of the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah during the days of Lot as illustrations of lessons or warnings he wanted to give to cities or people he or his apostles were teaching (Matt. 10:14-15; 11:23-24; Luke 10:10-12; 17:22-32; cf. Gen. 19:1-29). Paul, Peter, Jude, and John also referred to Sodom to illustrate warnings God gave to Christians (Rom. 9:27-29; 2 Pet. 2:1-10; Jude 6-7; Rev. 11:7-8). Again, notice that they talked about what happened to Lot and Sodom as if it was an actual historical event. If in fact it wasn’t, then we’ve put our faith in liars and our religion is meaningless.
While teaching about divorce, our Lord quoted Genesis twice (1:27; 2:24), specifically referring to the marriage of Adam and Eve (Matt. 19:4-5; Mark 10:6-8). By talking about Adam and Eve as if they were historical characters, Jesus himself confirmed their historicity. The Holy Spirit-inspired Paul would later affirm this by referring to Adam as “the first man” (1 Cor. 15:45), also doing so as if he were referring to a historical figure. Therefore, to call Adam and Eve mythological would be to imply that Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit, and Paul were at best mistaken and at worst liars. And since the message of all three ultimately originated with God the Father (John 12:49-50; 16:12-15; 1 Cor. 2:9-13; 2 Pet. 1:19-21), to say that Adam and Eve were not real or were not the first human beings would be to call him either mistaken or untruthful as well. While one would expect this from an atheist, the Christian who would do so is either ignorant of the Scriptures or rebelliously blasphemous, and in either case has exposed a serious flaw in his faith.
Furthermore, by stating in Matthew’s account, “Have you not read that he (God) who created them (Adam and Eve) from the beginning made them male and female,” and in Mark’s account, “But from the beginning of creation, God made them (Adam and Eve) male and female,” Jesus is placing Adam and Eve at the very beginning of the existence of this world. The Genesis record does the same by stating that Adam and Eve were created on the sixth day along with the land-dwelling animals (Gen. 1:24-31). Christians who state that the days in Genesis were in reality symbolic of millions of years each in their attempts to make the biblical account coincide with the flawed and unproven theories of Darwinistic evolution have Adam and Eve coming onto the scene millions of years after “the beginning.” By doing so, they are disagreeing with their Lord and Savior who said the opposite. If they choose to persist in doing so, even after “receiving the knowledge of the truth” (Heb. 10:26-31), they make their Christianity meaningless and put their soul in eternal peril.
I am continually amazed that some can apparently believe that God raised a Man from the dead after giving this same Man and his followers the ability to perform many miraculous signs which defy the laws of science…all while finding it hard to believe that God could also create the world, animals, and man in six literal days, and later decide to destroy that entire world with water and several cities with fire and sulfur. I am even more amazed that these same folks proclaim to put their faith in this Man as their Lord and Savior…all while basically stating or implying that he, his followers, the Spirit who inspired them, and God the Father himself are wrong about their testimony as to the beginnings of our race.
Yet, perhaps we should not be amazed at this, because the same God who told us about the beginning of the world in Genesis also told us that false teachers would come, giving preference to empty human theories and philosophies over doctrine, and that many naive brethren who lack knowledge themselves would follow after them (Hos. 4:6; Matt. 7:15-27; Acts 20:28-32; Rom. 16:17-18; Gal. 1:6-10; Eph. 4:11-14; Col. 2:8; 1 Tim. 1:3-7; 4:1-2; 6:20-21; 2 Tim. 3:1-9; 4:1-5).
You can’t confess Christ while denying his Word, but that’s what you do when you do not take Genesis for what it says. May we all choose to have faith which trusts in our God over men!
I believe the answer to this dilemma is devotion. A husband may claim to love his wife, and may even do things for her, but if he is not devoted to her he will likely do those things (if he does them at all) out of grumbling obligation. Whereas if he ardently respects, admires and cherishes her, he will greatly desire to do anything for her and more. The same is true in regard to our relationship with the Lord. God wants us to do His will because we want to not merely because we have to (Jn. 4:23-24). Through devotion do we realize that His commandments are not burdensome (1 Jn. 5:3). He said, “If you love Me, keep My commandments” (Jn. 14:15). Do you, friends?
We may not think of that shepherd boy as a preacher, but perhaps we should. When David arrived at the battlefront, almost every word he spoke proclaimed the power and majesty of God. His words give great insight into the heart that God described as being like His own heart. David’s older brother saw him as a youth who had abandoned the sheep and said David was filled with pride and was insolent in his heart (1 Sam. 7:28). But he was wrong.
That young man had seen the providence of God when he killed a bear and a lion who were ready to kill a helpless lamb. David knew God’s nature and the challenge of Goliath had to be answered. He was not concerned about how big that giant was, for he knew how big God was!
As a youth he had also faced sin’s temptation and dealt with it. He showed how a young man could cleanse his heart “by taking heed according to Your word” (Psa. 119:9). It was in the sheepfold that he learned of God’s green pastures, still waters, the rod, the staff and the cup overflowing with oil.
Yet he was not always a young man. His words in Psalm 71:17-18 give us great insight into the devotion he had first as a youth and the devotion he had in his old age. Look at the words of that psalm.
“O God, You have taught me from my youth;
And to this day I declare Your wondrous works.”
David knew God from his youth and he had declared God’s glory to others. He knew God and he unashamedly taught others about Him. What was he like as he grew old?
“Now also when I am old and grayheaded,
O God, do not forsake me,
Until I declare Your strength to this generation,
Your power to everyone who is to come.”
David understood that the truths which he had used to cleanse his young heart were the same truths that following generations needed to cleanse their hearts. They needed them because God’s words are eternal and truth does not change. David said, “The entirety of Your word is truth and every one of Your righteous judgments endures forever” (Psa. 119:160). He had taught those truths as a young man and now as he grew old he asked God to continue using him.
Read his words again. Every generation needed God’s words, and David emphasized that that needed the entirety of His words—every single one of His righteous judgments. Mankind does not change. The needs of every generation are the same. God’s remedy for sin does not change.
It was an older generation who taught young David. He owed them a great debt. The same is true of you!
“Unless the Lord builds the house, They labor in vain who build it; Unless the Lord guards the city, The watchman stays awake in vain” (Psalm 127:1).
We recognize the Bible as our only authority and guide for everything we do.