If we were to pay attention to polls, we would believe that the vast majority of Americans are saved. However, it is very hard to tell these days. It seems that it has become common practice to invent new and religious ways to count heads without actually evaluating salvation.
It is common to hear these vague and insufficient salvation testimonies: “I’ve been born again”; “I know Jesus”; “I love God”; “I go to church”; or “I’ve accepted Jesus”. Isn’t being born again a reference to the New Testament? How does merely knowing Jesus obtain salvation? It seems loving God and going to church are things we must do, but do we save ourselves? You can see the problems with these statements if they are the only message of salvation expressed.
I know some are thinking, “Who are you to judge someone’s salvation?” 1 Cor 2:15 says that he that is spiritual judgeth all things. It is most important to discern (judge) the clarity of the gospel. As ambassadors of God’s grace gospel, we are tasked with communicating a message upon which people’s souls rest. If that message is not being delivered or received successfully, it will be the greatest communication failure in someone’s life.
This is not an issue to be lazy with or to cut corners. Better to be sure that the message is understood than to justify a weak testimony as covering up someone’s ignorance of the gospel. People cannot believe what they do not hear (Rom 10:17). People do not understand what they cannot communicate. I cannot know that someone understands the gospel unless I hear them communicate it.
If the only testimony heard is a verbal claim on Christianity (“I’m a Christian”) then that person may die not knowing the gospel of the grace of God which has more to do with the cross than their religious affiliation. That’s when I have the opportunity to present the gospel more perfectly.
Last week I traveled to perform a wedding ceremony, but more importantly I was transporting part of the wedding cakes. I was given directions over the phone. If someone else were to ask me for directions to the wedding it would be a failure in communication to merely say: “Just trust the map”; “Try to drive the best you can and you’ll make it”; “Just be a bride follower”; “Oh, don’t worry if your late, the groom loves you!”
Which map do I trust? How will my effort at driving take me the right direction? Bride follower, how? The groom’s love does not help me get to the wedding. Hopefully, you see my point.
A clear guide would say something like, “turn right at 2nd street, go 5 miles, pull into the parking lot on the left.” They would not refuse steps just because the directions took a few more seconds to explain. Neither would they change the directions just as not to appear to say the same thing every time someone asked. The directions are clear and they work, every time. It is the same with the gospel.
Speak the Gospel that Saves You
It is important that those who understand the gospel speak it plainly and straightforwardly to each other and to unbelievers. This is the only way for the message to be communicated clearly.
Jesus Christ accomplished everything needed to save my soul from the penalty of my sins when he graciously shed his blood on the cross and resurrected unto eternal life. There is nothing else I need to do but to be able to understand it enough to express it plainly and completely.