Today I received an email from Rick asking me to evaluate a church’s statement on what a person must do to be saved.
Here is the statement he sent for me to evaluate:
To be saved and forgiven, God needs two things from you, FAITH and REPENTANCE. All those who are willing to repent of, or turn from their sin, believe in Jesus as Savior will be forgiven of their sins, just as if they never happened! We call this being born again or saved. When we are saved, we are forgiven of all of our sin and now we can go to Heaven when we die. This is the only way one can go to Heaven. Jesus said in John 3:3, “Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” Jesus also says that He is the only way to Heaven. John 14:6 says, “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” So for ANYONE, who would seek God’s forgiveness for their sins and truly believe that He alone can save them, they can be saved and totally forgiven of all of their sin. Romans 10:9-10 says, “That 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 with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.”
If you are willing to confess and repent of your sin and truly believe that Jesus is capable of saving you, you can be saved. Being saved or born again is a one-time event where we call out to God in faith and repentance. Once you are saved, you are adopted into the family of God, saved from the penalty of your sin and guaranteed a home in Heaven!
This church claims that there are two conditions to be born again: repentance and faith in Christ. To prove this they cite two verses, John 3:3 and John 14:6. Yet neither of those verses mention repentance or faith! Then they move to Rom 10:9-10, which mentions faith, but not repentance! In fact, here they bring in a third condition, confessing with your mouth the Lord Jesus.
I have a suggestion for churches. When you give a statement on what one must do to have everlasting life, follow these three simple suggestions: 1) cite Scripture that actually says what you are suggesting people must do to have everlasting life; 2) stick with verses from the Gospel of John, the only evangelistic book in the Bible (John 20:30-31); and 3) boldly proclaim the message that whoever believes in Jesus will never perish but has everlasting life (John 3:16; 5:24; 6:35, 47; 11:25-27).
No matter what a church publishes, most people will reject it. It is a mistake to write a statement in order to say what you think people want to hear. Instead, say what Jesus said. People may well disagree. But they will be receiving the clear message, not some man-made concoction.