What Must I Do To Be Saved?
The bad news is that you are a guilty SINNER who has sinned against the HOLY God of eternity. And the bad news gets even worse! There is NOTHING you can do to make yourself right with this HOLY God. No matter how hard you try it is not acceptable to God. We are too sinful, and He is too Holy. Within ourselves this bridge cannot be crossed. In the words of Scripture "all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags" (Isa. 64:6). More literally all the RIGHT things we do before God are still like soiled menstrual rags from a woman's period. God is so HOLY that He cannot look upon any sin (Hab. 1:13). God is light and in Him is NO darkness! (1 Jn. 1:5) God can have NO fellowship with sin. (Ps. 5:4) It was just ONE sin that brought DEATH to the human race and got Adam and Eve expelled from the Garden of Eden (Gen. 3). The standard is the perfection of God's glory and Romans 3:23 says, "all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God". This is the fallen lot of the whole of humanity. As it stands there we are without "hope and without God in the world" (Eph. 2:12).
But the GOOD NEWS is that God Himself has provided a SAVIOR in the form of His only begotten Son. God the Father sent God the Son on a rescue mission. We couldn't rescue ourselves so God in LOVE did it for us! We can't earn it. We don't deserve it! It's all of God's GRACE, meaning His undeserved favor!
There is one book in the Bible that tells us the explicit PURPOSE it was written was to tell us how to be saved - that is how to be forgiven and share in eternal life with God. This is the gospel of JOHN. We call John "The Gospel of Belief" because John tells us that he wrote so that we might believe and in believing we might have life (Jn. 20:31) Some form of the word "believe" is found about 90 times in the book. The most famous verse in the Bible is found in John 3:16.
John 3:16 (NKJV)
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
The gospel of John can be broken down this way.
John 1-11 - Emphasis on the PERSON of Christ who is the God-Man.
John 12-21 - Emphasis on the cross WORK of Christ.
John makes the SOLE condition for having eternal life that of BELIEF! But it must be the RIGHT KIND of faith! A true saving faith believes in Christ for WHO He is as well as for what He has done. It is WHO He is that gives His life and death infinite value making Him a worthy sacrifice for the sins of the entire world. There is overlap, but the first half of the book of John puts the emphasis on WHO Jesus is - that is His PERSON. The book begins by flat out telling us that Jesus is God in John 1:1. The next 11 chapters then present seven miraculous signs showing that Jesus is Messiah/God (see 2:1-11; 4:46-54; 5:1-18; 6:5-14; 6:16-21; 9:1-7; 11:1-45). From chapter 12 on the emphasis is on Christ going to the CROSS! It climaxes with Christ's last words on the cross: "It is finished!" (Jn. 19:30). Jesus came to be "The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!" and He FINISHED this work on the cross (see John 1:29). Jesus, as the God-Man, paid for our sin debt in full! This is the GOOD NEWS!
However, this GOOD NEWS must be received on God's terms. And His terms are BELIEF in Christ as Lord and Savior. It is not enough to think you can just accept Christ as "fire insurance Savior" while rejecting Him as Lord. He must be believed on for WHO He is as Lord-God! He is the God who saves all who truly believe in Him for WHO He is. He is at once both LORD and SAVIOR and these two realities cannot be divorced! If Jesus is not your LORD, He will never be your Savior! At the beginning of the book John says, "as many as received Him [Jesus], to them He gave the right to become children of God, TO THOSE WHO BELIEVE IN HIS NAME" (John 1:12 - emphasis mine). His NAME is WHO He is. Who is He? The book of John presents 7 "I AM" statements emphasizing Jesus is the eternal God (see 6:35; 8:12; 10:7-9; 10:11-14; 11:25; 14:6; 15:1-5).
The climax of John is doubting Thomas coming to a post-resurrection faith when upon seeing the risen Christ He said to Him, "My Lord and my God!" (Jn. 20:28). Jesus responded by saying, "Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed." (Jn. 20:29). THIS is what it means to believe. It means to personally recognize Jesus as "My Lord and my God!" It is to recognize Him as your God-Master who saves you by His death on the cross and then rose again. As Savior He died for all our sins. As Lord-God Almighty He rose again the third day! A true saving faith believes in both the finished work of the CROSS and in the resurrected LORD. Jesus is at once the "Lamb of God" and the risen LORD! He is both Savior and Lord to all who truly know Him!
John 20:30–31 (NKJV)
30 And truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book;
31 but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.
What Must I do to be Saved