Jesus is enough for me. Now what?
Imagine you are driving through town. It's evening, the sun is setting, and you don't have a care in the world. You speed past a stop sign, assuming no one else is around. Soon after, the red and blue lights start flashing behind you and an officer walks toward your car. You say, "Good evening, officer. I know I ran a through that stop sign, but I have a deal for you. I'll drive around the block five times and stop at the sign each time. That will fix this, right?"
That won't work, will it? Scripture tells us the same is true about sin. We've all fallen short of perfection (Romans 3:23) and the letter of the law tells us that we can't erase that sin on our own (Romans 7:4-6). It doesn't matter how many times we go around the block, the sin is still there. Unlike the traffic citation you will receive for running a stop sign though, the result of sin is far more serious. Paul writes in Romans 6:23 that "the wages of sin is death..."
That paints a grim picture. We have all sinned, we can't remove that sin on our own, and the result of sin is death. It doesn't get more hopeless than that. Fortunately Paul continues.
The remainder of Romans 6:23 reassures us, "For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord!" We have an opportunity to clean our record because of Christ! Jesus came to earth as a man to live a life much like ours, but He succeeded at what we have failed at. He lived a sinless life. He didn't deserve to die, yet He chose to sacrifice Himself so we could be free from condemnation!
The mercy of Christ is the only reason we have a hope of life and He gave us a clear and simple plan for how we should respond to His gift.
Step 1: We must hear the Word of God. Without knowing what God has told us through His inspired Scriptures, we won't know what sin is, the consequence of it, and how we can escape those consequences. Look at Romans 10:17, Matthew 17:5, and Hebrews 1:1-2 to see why hearing and listening is so important to our faith.
Step 2: We must believe what we hear. God isn't looking for us to have a faith that is just going through the motions. He wants a living faith founded on the belief that His Son's sacrifice offers salvation that provokes us to act differently (James 2:24). Turn in your Bible to John 8:24 to see where Jesus says that belief is necessary to be free from the consequence of our sins.
Step 3: We must change. Sin separates us from God (Isaiah 59:2), so in order to come close to God we must repent of our sin. This is a continual process (1 Corinthians 6:9-18). If we aren't willing to give up sin, we cannot be saved. Study Acts 3:19 and Acts 17:30-31 to understand why only changed people can receive salvation from God.
Step 4: We must confess our faith. If you hear the Word, believe it, and are willing to change your life to come closer to God, you'll recognize the good news is something worth proclaiming to the world. To be saved, God needs you to tell the world that you accept Jesus as your Lord and Master. Read Romans 10:9-10 and Matthew 10:32 to see why we must confess.
Step 5: We must be baptized. Baptism washes away sin (Acts 22:16), it gives entry "into" Christ (Romans 6:3, Galatians 3:27), and Jesus, our only authority on the matter of salvation since He is the one offering it, made it necessary when he gave the command in Mark 16:16. Since baptism is for the forgiveness of sins (Acts 2:38), we are still lost in our sins until we are baptized.
Step 6: We must remain faithful. Repentance, confession, and baptism are just the beginning of a long race (1 Corinthians 9:24-27). God expects us to keep serving Him until the day we die. Bookmark Revelation 2:10 that gives us the hope of a "crown of life" if we remain faithful unto death.
We have a tremendous opportunity, but it's up to us to take it. We can remain dead in our sins or live with Christ. He leaves that decision to us. What will you choose?
We were lost in sin too. We know how heavy that burden can be and we are available day and night for when you are ready to accept this great gift of relief.