The Bible is the record of God’s work to provide salvation for man. God created man in a perfect fellowship with him and in perfect conditions. Man’s choice to disobey God (sin) brought on all humanity the consequence of that sin. We do not inherit Adam’s sin, but we do all transgress the will of God and sin. Salvation is the forgiving of our sin and providing the renewed fellowship with God both now and ultimately through eternity in the place we call heaven.
We all sin, so once we sin there is no means by which we can, by ourselves, receive forgiveness. We do not have the ability to bring forgiveness, but God has extended his grace to us in Jesus. This is why Jesus came to die on the cross and be raised again. Through his sacrifice we can be forgiven and in his resurrection we have the hope of eternity (Matthew 1:21; 20:28; 1 Corinthians 15:20-23). There is no other who can give this promise by their own power over death, as Jesus did (John 10:11, 17, 18; Romans 1:1-6; Acts 17:30, 31).
Jesus died to make salvation available to all (John 3:16; 1 John 2:1, 2). But is salvation given to all automatically? No. When Peter and the apostles were asked what to do by those who heard and believed he did not tell them they were already forgiven, but he told them what was necessary for their forgiveness (see Acts 2:36-38). Three thousand did as he instructed and were added by the Lord to his body, the church, which is made up of his disciples. In the New Testament you will find no other way to become a Christian than the way Peter described. The same instruction was given to all, and every disciple was forgiven at the same point of their obedience (see Romans 6:3, 4; 1 Peter 3:21).
This is emphasized in a general manner in the letter to the Hebrew Christians. Of Jesus he wrote, "And having been perfected, He became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him" (Hebrews 5:9). We need to believe he is the Son of God, and we must obey. Our faith is seen in our obedience (read James 2:14-26).
Scripture quotations are given for you to do as the noble Bereans did, who "received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so" (Acts 17:11). You are urged to prove by the Scriptures the validity of the articles written.
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