Salvation… how? – Branson Despres

Posted: February 17, 2014 in Uncategorized

To continue the series of how to answer questions that people have while having a spiritual conversation, let’s take a look at the most basic, fundamental one: “what does it take to be saved?”  Obviously when we share the gospel with people, having a correct answer to this question is very important, but it is also crucial to be familiar with the common responses that people have in order to be able to show the fault in their thinking and point them towards the truth. Much of the populace is misinformed when it comes to what actually saves them.

Many people misconstrue that you just have to ask for forgiveness for your sins, and if you say sorry enough then He’ll forgive you and you’ll be set.  Most of the time these people are familiar with 1 John 1:9, which says “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”  This is true, however they miss verses 7 and 8 altogether, which talk about how the blood of Jesus Christ cleanses us from our sin.  Confessing our sins and repenting are proper responses to the salvation that has been offered to us, but the salvation itself comes through our trust in Jesus’ death on the cross, his burial, and his resurrection. This trust applies Jesus’ sacrifice to our own sin, taking our punishment and deeming us righteous.

Repentance is a crucial part of salvation, but what is repentance?  The Greek word for it used in the New Testament is “metanoia” which means a change of mind.  This implies that repentance is more than just the act of asking for forgiveness, but it is a heart change that should lead to a true life change as well.  Paul gives us a picture of the difference between these two types of sorrow and the significant difference in the results in II Corinthians 7:10, “Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.”  Godly sorrow results in life change, which leads to salvation, but the “I’m sorry I got caught” sorrow leads to death.  I would greatly encourage all of you to memorize this verse, as it is a great verse to have when sharing the gospel.

Living here in the middle of the “Bible-belt” the majority of the people we come in contact with have heard of the verse John 3:16, whether it was from their parents, church commercials, or Tim Tebow’s eye black, which says “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only son, that whoever believes in Him will not perish, but have eternal life.” Don’t get me wrong this is an amazing verse, but taken at face value, it can easily be, and is often misinterpreted.

Many people see this verse and presume that it means if I “believe” in Jesus the same way I “believe” that George Washington was the first president of the US then I’ve stamped my ticket to heaven.  This kind of belief has no effect on the person’s life and is sadly very popular in today’s culture, even within the church.  James 2:19 says that even the demons believe in Jesus and shudder, and they sure as heck aren’t saved.  Jesus gave a picture of what he meant by the word “believe” in the verses before.  John 3:14-15 says “As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness; even so must the Son of Man be lifted up; so that whoever believes will in Him have eternal life.”  Our belief in Jesus should look similar to that of an Israelite who was bitten by one of the sand vipers and was on the brink of death (Numbers 21:6-9).  Their entire life became about their belief that the snake on the pole would save them, and nothing would have been able to stop them from seeing it.  This is what true belief that leads to salvation is.  It is not simply having head knowledge about a cool story; it is a deep trust that results in life change and should define who we are.

I would like to encourage all of you to have a firm grasp and understanding of the gospel and allow it to define who you are.   Be refreshed by it and allow it to be what drives you to be bold for the name of Jesus.  Hopefully hearing it from someone other than Miles, Thomas, or David will provide further encouragement, but I implore you to see evangelism as a privilege rather than a burden and begin taking steps to make it a priority in your lives this week.  Love you guys and I’m excited to see what God is going to do through each of you!

  1. Leanne Fishburne says:

    Praise God for Godly men! And Branson, you are definitely a Godly man!!! Thank you for your post, I plan on sharing it with my FB friends.

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