Religious But Lost
By Radio Pastor Perry F. Rockwood
Published by The Peoples Gospel Hour
1. Religion Is Not Salvation
The Bible is full of important questions. The first was asked by God Himself when He came down into the Garden of Eden after Adam and Eve has sinned. “Adam,” He called, “Where art thou?” (Gen. 3:9). God asks this question of you today. Where do you stand with Him? Are you on God’s side or the devil’s side? Are you on the way to Heaven or on the way to Hell? Are you living for Christ or are you standing against Him?
Another Bible question is recorded in Genesis 4:9: “Where is Abel thy brother?” God asked this question of Cain. Now I ask you, Are you interested in your fellow man? Have you witnessed to him of Christ? Have you showed him how to be saved and sure of Heaven?
One of the important questions in the entire Bible is that which was asked of Paul and Silas by the Philippian jailer: “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” (Acts 16:30).
How would you have answered this distressed Philippian jailer? Most people would have told him that we are saved by good works. RELIGION teaches works, while SALVATION is on the basis of faith in the finished word of Christ on Calvary’s Cross.
The word “religion” is found five times in the Bible, and the word “religious” twice. In almost every case they are used in association with works, religious ceremonies and ritual-not with faith. The Greek word most often used means a ceremonial service caused by fear and trouble. This is religion according to the Bible. The only place in Scripture where religion is spoken of in a good way is in James 1:27. Here the apostle speaks of “pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father” and he associates it with the good works of a Christian.
There are only two gospels being propagated in the world-the gospel of works and the gospel of faith. God says salvation is the result of a work that has been DONE on our behalf by the Lord Jesus Christ. Satan teaches that salvation is BY DOING.
D. L. Moody, the great evangelist of 100 years ago, was travelling on day by train to Chicago. The engineer, who was a Mormon, heard that the famous preacher was aboard and invited him up to the cab for a talk. Their conversation centred around the matter of salvation. The question was, “How could a person be saved and made sure of Heaven?” They discussed this subject all the way into Chicago. When they arrived Moody and the Engineer climbed down from the cab. As they shook hands in farewell, Mr. Moody said to the Engineer, “You know, the real difference between your religion and mine is one of spelling. You spell your religion DO, I spell mine DONE.”
All through the Bible we have examples of those who tried to be saved by good works and self effort. When Adam and Eve sinned we read in Genesis 3:7: “And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons.
Instead of turning to God for mercy and forgiveness, they ran from the presence of God and sought salvation by their won good works. Man today knows that he is naked before God and needs a covering for his sins. So what does he do? He turns to religion and tries to provide a covering by his own efforts.
If people could get saved by their own good works they would boast all over Heaven about what they did to get there. One man would say, “I built a hospital.” Another would say, “I established a college.” Still another would say, “I preached for forty years.” Others would boast, “I was a deacon and a tither.” “I read my Bible and belonged to the church.” “I was baptized and confirmed and went faithfully to Mass.” “I lived a good moral life.”
You see, the effort of Adam and Eve to provide a homemade covering for sin has been perpetuated in all their offspring. Basically, man is a religious creature and worldwide he worships some kind of a god. In this way he seeks to quiet his guilty conscience and make atonement for his sins. He sews his fig leaves together in one form or another. It may be the pagan mother who sacrifices her child to some god seeking forgiveness of sins. It may be the ancient heathen who threw his son into the open mouth of the fire god, Moloch. It may be the village tribesman who subjects himself to the horrors of the witchdoctor.
But do not be deceived! A fig leaf apron covering is not confined to pagans in faraway lands. Many such coverings are being worn right here in our civilized country. Most people try to get to church at Christmas and Easter but this religious show is nothing but a fig-leaf covering. 90% of all people plan to have their saved by doing the best they can and by going through religious ceremonies.
To prove these statements as to what people believe concerning salvation, may I take you out on the streets of Halifax some Tuesday night as we go witnessing for Christ? We ask dozens of people this question, “Are you a Christian?” In almost every case the answer is, “Oh, yes, I am a Christian.” “Why do you say you are a Christian?” Here are some of the answers we receive: “I am a Christian because I have been baptized.” “I am a Christian because I have been confirmed.” “I was christened as a child.” “I belong to such-and-such a church.” “I read my Bible and pray.” “I go to confession and to Mass and say the rosary.” “I was born into a Christian home.”
Notice, there is one great omission in all of these answers. Not once is the name of the Lord Jesus Christ mentioned. How can a person be a Christian without Christ? How can a person be saved apart from the blood-atoning work which He accomplished for us on Calvary’s Cross? How can a person be a Christian who does not receive Christ as his own personal Saviour?
God knew that those fig leaves did not cover the sin of Adam and Eve. While they ran away from the presence of God, He came forth to meet them and to reveal to them that salvation can only be attained through the shedding of blood. Though they sinned against Him, He loved them still. Genesis 3:21: “Unto Adam also and to his wife did the Lord God make coats of skins, and clothed them.” The coats of skins could only be attained by the shedding of blood which is a type picture of Calvary. 1 John 1:7: “The blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin.”
The Word of God teaches us first of all that salvation is of the Lord. It is the work of God, not of man. God provided the sacrifice to cover the sin of Adam and Eve. And God has provided salvation for every sinner in the Person of His Son the Lord Jesus Christ. “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).
We are taught here also that salvation is provided by the death of an innocent substitute. 1 Peter 2:24, speaking of our Lord Jesus Christ, says: “Who His own self bare our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.” Christ’s death was a definite work of grace for the bearing away of our sins. Sin carries with it a punishment. Romans 6:23 says: “For the wages of sin is death.” This death (which is eternal separation from God) due each one of us because of our sins, Christ took upon Himself. The cup we could not drink, He drank. The suffering we could not bear, He Bore in our stead. Not only did He bear the judgment and penalty of our sins, but He also took upon Himself our sins in His own body on the tree.
This is the basis of salvation. God took our sins and placed them upon His sinless Son. Christ is the last Adam, the representative man, and as such all the sins of the world were placed upon Him. As in the first Adam all of us were cursed by sin and death, so in the last Adam-the Lord from Heaven-all who believe are saved and made alive. 1 Corinthians 15:22: “For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.”
Now that the work of salvation has been completed by Christ, God offers it to us as a free gift. Now if salvation is a free gift, how can good works save? Why do the multitudes try to DO so much to have their sins cleansed and forgiven?
Salvation is obtained on the basis of faith. “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast” (Eph. 2:8,9). Our Lord offers to you today salvation, forgiveness of sins, and eternal life. But you must personally receive Him into your heart. Trust Him today as your Saviour.
2. Spiritual Robbers
“Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way, THE SAME IS A THIEF AND A ROBBER” (John 10:1)….
Notice now that this verse contains very clear teaching concerning the all-important matter of salvation. Jesus is saying here that anyone who tries to get into Heaven by any means other than the way provided for by Him in the shedding of His blood on Calvary’s Cross, the same is a thief and a robber. He said: “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (John 14:6).
Jesus also said: “I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shell go in and out, and find pasture” (John 10:9). There is only one door into Heaven and that door is Christ. Anyone who tries to enter the pearly-white city through any other entrance is a thief and a robber. The devil has built back doors, side doors, and all kinds of other doors, but they are doors which are used only by thieves and robbers. Oh, Satan’s doorways may look inviting, but they all lead to Hell. The Lord Jesus Christ alone is the door-the means of entrance-into Heaven. There is no other way of access to God but by Him.
Religious thieves are robbers of the worst kind. They would rob God of the great salvation He has provided for sinners in the Person of His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. They would rob Jesus Christ of His redemptive work for the remission of our sins. Praise
God, they cannot rob Him of His Son nor the Lord Jesus Christ of His redemptive work, but because they try to do these things they are thieves and robbers.
The Bible speaks of the blood of our Lord Jesus Christ as precious: “Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot” (1 Peter 1: 18,19).
The blood of Christ is precious because it is royal blood. In some mystical sense it was the blood of God (Acts 20:28; John 1:1,14). It is the blood of the divine-human One (2 Cor. 5:21; Heb. 4:15; 1 John 3:5).
Since God places such value upon the precious blood, it is of vital importance to the Christian life. Indeed, without it there can be no life. The one who rejects the blood rejects salvation.
Through the blood was have redemption. “And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by the blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation” (Rev. 5:9).
Through the blood of Christ we have propitiation: “And He is the propitiation for our sins:and not for our’s only, but also for the sins of the whole world” (1 John 2:2).
Through the blood of Christ we have forgiveness and loosing from sin: “In whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace” (Eph. 1:7).
Through the blood of Christ we have peace with God. “And, having made peace through the blood of His cross, by Him to reconcile all things unto Himself; by Him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven” (Col. 1:20).
Through the blood of Christ we have nearness of God: “But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ” (Eph. 2:13).
Through the blood of Christ we are sanctified: “Wherefore Jesus also, that He might sanctify the people with His own blood, suffered without the gate” (Heb. 13:12).
Through the blood of Christ we have cleansing from sin as we walk in the light. “But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His son cleanseth us from all sin” (1 John 1:7).
Those who reject the blood atoning work of our blessed Lord as thieves and robbers. Why? Because they preach and teach another way into Heaven.
Take the “SINCERE” robbers. We have them all over the land. Their doctrine is that it doesn’t really matter what you believe so long as you are sincere. Oh, the multitudes that have been sincerely wrong!
There is also the religious robber who says, “DO THE BEST YOU CAN.” Recently, while conversing with a man concerning the salvation of his soul, he said: “Well, if I do the best I can, what more can God expect?” I replied, “Now tell me are you honestly doing the very best you can?” “No,” he replied, “but I am doing my best to do the best I can.” I said to him, “Then you will never reach Heaven, for in trying to do your best you are failing in the effort.”
I praise God that it is not MY BEST that saves me but the best that Heaven could offer-the Son of God-who gave HIS BEST by shedding His precious blood for the remission of my sins. Salvation is not of works nor by doing. It is based on what Christ has already done.
Many spiritual robbers today trust church rituals and ceremonies, membership and service, for salvation. The fact of the matter is, you can do any or all of these religious works and still die and go to Hell. If you believe that performing religious duties and ceremonies will take you to Heaven, you are adding your own works to God’s salvation, and are taking away from the precious blood and ROBBING JESUS of all He has done for you on Calvary’s Cross.
Another well-known robber is the thief called “TRADITION.” Tradition never has and never will save one soul. Yet multitudes follow the customs of their ancestors rather than the Word of God. What does the Bible say about tradition? Let me read 1 Peter 1:18,19: “Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, RECEIVED BY TRADITION FROM YOUR FATHERS, But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.”
May I ask you this question: “Are you really saved?” “Are you born again by the Holy Spirit of God?” “When were you saved?” “What were the circumstances relating to your new birth?”
Groups of robbers are also on the increase today. They work as a gang. They teach that there is no such place as Hell. “A God of love would never send anyone to Hell,” they say.
The fact of the matter is, God did not prepare Hell for us. It was prepared for the devil and his angels (Matt. 25:41). We are either a child of God or a child of the devil. If we die as the devil’s child, we must go to the devil’s home which is Hell. If we die as a child of God, then we go to the place prepared for us by our Lord which is Heaven.
Let me ask this further question: “When was the last time you heard your preacher preach on Hell? How many times the past month has the radio or TV preacher taught the reality of Hell for all who die unsaved? This subject is being pushed into the background even by evangelical and fundamental preachers. But the Bible-God’s Holy Word-tells us over 200 times in the New Testament alone of Judgment and Hell and the Lake of Fire.
“Hell! the prison house of despair,
Here are some things that won’t be there:
No flowers will bloom on the banks of Hell,
No beauties of nature we love so well;
No comforts of home, music and song,
No friendship of joy will be found in the throng;
No children to brighten the long, weary night;
No love nor peace nor one ray of light;
No blood-washed soul with face beaming bright,
No loving smile in the region of night,
No mercy, no pity, pardon nor grace,
No water, O God, what a terrible place!
The pangs of the lost no human can tell,
Not one moment’s ease-there is no rest in Hell.
Hell, the prison house of despair,
Here are some things that will be there:
Fire and brimstone are there we know
For God in His Word has told us so;
Memory, remorse, suffering and pain,
Weeping, and wailing, but all in vain;
Blasphemers, swearers, haters of God,
Christ-rejectors while here on earth trod;
Murderers, gamblers, drunkards and liars;
Will have their part in the lake of fire;
The filthy, the vile, the cruel and the mean,
What a horrible mob in Hell will be seen!
Yes, more than humans on earth can tell,
Are torments and woes of eternal Hell.”
3. Man’s Way Is Not Salvation
“There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death” (Proverbs 14:12).
We have already seen in our previous messages that every person is a sinner standing in need of salvation. Most people will admit that salvation is necessary in order to enter Heaven, but the vast majority are trusting in their own individual efforts.
It is important to know exactly what salvation is and what it is not. A doctor’s remedy can either make a break a man. I remember a time in college days when I suffered great pain. The college doctor treated me for lumbago, but my condition grew more serious. I went to another doctor who ordered x-rays and found I had physical need. Man’s basic spiritual need is for something to meet the sin condition of his heart. Far too many are trying wrong treatments and taking wrong medicines that have no effect whatever upon their sinful state.
Now we are not doubting the sincerity of these people. A doctor may be sincere and still give the wrong medicine to a patient. A seaman, unable at night to see clearly the needle of the compass, may be sincere in thinking he is steering his ship towards the harbour, while actually it is going towards the rocks. Sincerity will not save the ship. He needs more light to see the compass. And natural man needs the light of God’s Word if he is to know the proper way to be saved.
There are many ways that seem right unto a man.
1. There is the way of MORALITY. Praise God that many men and women have a high standard of moral living. It is good to see this in a day when there is so much immorality; but many are moral who have never been born again. They live ‘good’ lives, look after their families, pay their bills, and are honest in their dealing with others; but if they are basing their salvation on moral living, they are in for a big disappointment. God’s Word says that while this may seem right, “the end thereof are the ways of death.”
2. There is the way of RELIGION. This group of people believe in the church and attend it quite regularly. They have either been christened, baptized or confirmed. They have joined the church in membership and support it with their gifts. Some are church officers. They say. “Surely God can’t expect any more from me than this.” To them, their way “seems right” but they leave the Lord Jesus Christ out of the picture. They have never received Him as their Saviour. God’s Word says: “He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life” (1 John 5:12).
3. There is the way of the LODGE. I have had loved ones tell me that if they life up to the lodge nothing more will be required of them for salvation. But this, too, is a false way that leads to eternal death and separation for God.
4. There is the way of DOING. Many say, “I do the best I can and believe my efforts please God.” May I point out that no one has really done their best, therefore by their own standard they fail. God’s Word says, “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us” (Titus 3:5).
5. There is the way of LIVING UP TO OUR CONVICTIONS. The philosophy here is, “It doesN’t matter what you believe as long as you are sincere.” Take a look at the many different cults today. Each one proclaims their own special way of salvation. And people say, “It does not matter. We are all heading in the same direction. Just live up to whatever teaching pleases you most. Stick by your convictions. “This is Satan’s lie and it leads to death. Jesus said: “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father but by me” (John 14:6). The only standard to go by in this all-important matter of the salvation of your soul is God’s inspired Word. When we take medicine, we follow the doctor’s instructions. When we go on a journey, we follow the road map. When the lawyer pleads our case before the judge, he follows the basic written principles of law. When we are seeking salvation, we must follow the written Word of God. Doctor’s prescriptions may be wrong, road maps may be altered, written laws may be revised, but God’s Word is eternal and unchanging. Jesus said: “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away” (Matt. 24:35).
6. There is the way of SOCIAL SERVICE. A business man once said to me, “I belong to the Rotary Club. Our main purpose is to help others. If we do that faithfully God will accept our efforts as being sufficient.” Now this way may “seem right” but again it ends in death. While we thank God for the social work of the various service clubs, there is no salvation in them. Remission of sins can only be obtained through faith in the blood of Jesus shed for sinners on Calvary’s Cross. In Hebrews 9:22 we read: “Without shedding of blood is no remission.”
7. There is the way of EDUCATION AND PHILOSOPHY. Many tell us today that knowledge is the highest aim of life. While education can be a wonderful help in our complex society, it does not bring salvation.
As a matter of fact, modern education ignores God. The Word of God is left out of the curriculum. Education exalts the pride of man and draws our young people farther and farther away from God. We need to give this some serious thought. What is modern education doing for the morals of our generation? Are we advancing in head knowledge at the expense of purity of heart? Modern education is getting nowhere fast. Modern philosophy has been compared to a blind man in a dark room looking for a black cat that isn’t there. God’s Word says: “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom” (Psalm 111:10).
A careful study of the Bible shows that the way of man which “seems right”, is not acceptable with God.
In Luke 18:9-14 Jesus told a parable for the primary purpose of showing those who “trust in themselves” that their own self efforts have no merit with God.
“And He spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others: Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican. The pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess. And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner. I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.
Here was a wonderful church-going man. He prayed, lived a good moral life, fasted twice every week, and tithed all his possessions. Yet, because he trusted in himself and in his own good works for salvation, he was rejected to God. But the publican, a poor outright sinner, called upon God for mercy and “went down to his house justified.”
Many other passages of Scripture also emphasize the truth that man’s way of salvation leads to death.
Romans 3:20: “Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in His sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.”Luke 16:15: “And He (Jesus) said unto them, Ye are they which justify yourselves before men; but God knoweth your hearts: for that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God.”
Men’s way of salvation may “seem right” but in ends in death.
4. The How of Salvation
Many year ago on a beautiful Sunday morning a man walked into a barber shop to get shaved. Just as the barber started his work, the church bells began to ring calling the people to worship the Lord. The man leaped wildly from the chair and rushing out the door, cried, “Stop those bells! Stop those bells!” A policeman caught him and asked what was the matter. The man broke down and said, “Sir, twenty years ago in old Vermont, I killed my father. We quarrelled on a Saturday night. On Sunday morning as he started out for the church belfry, I followed him. When he started to ring the church bells, I stabbed him to death. Every Sunday morning for twenty years the church bells have accused me. I can stand it no longer.”
I bring this message today to you who are unsaved. I believe the Holy Spirit is speaking to your heart concerning this matter of salvation. Your conscience has been troubling you for sometime because of past sins. O, do not put off for another moment the wooing of the Holy Spirit. As God speaks to your heart again today through the preaching of His Word, make your decision for Christ. He will forgive yours sins and give you peace and joy in your soul.
Salvation is so simple that even a child can understand and believe. In fact, Jesus said: “Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven” (Matt. 18:3). God wants us to be childlike in believing Him and in trusting Him to do what He has promised.
The Bible tells us: “Salvation is of the Lord” (Jonah 2:9). The One who is able to save to the uttermost is the Lord Jesus Christ the Son of God. He was with God from all eternity. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (John 1:1). This same Jesus came from heaven to this earth in order to bear in His own body our sins upon the Cross.
Isaiah 53:5,6: “But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon Him; and with His stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all.”
1 Peter 1:18,19: “Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.”
Christ made full provision for the penalty of our sins when He died on Calvary’s Cross. Everything that God required for our salvation has been done for us by the Lord Jesus Christ.
The question, “Have you made your peace with God?” has often been asked by those ministering to others. The fact is, we do not have to make peace with God. Christ made peace on our behalf, our part is to receive Him as our own personal Saviour because of what He has done. Jesus “made peace through the blood of His cross” (Col. 1:20). “For He is our peace,… having abolished in His flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in Himself of twain one new man, so making peace. And that He might reconcile both unto God in one body on the Cross, having slain the enmity thereby: And came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were high” (Eph. 2:14-17).
Salvation is based on what Christ has done for us on Calvary’s Cross, not upon what we have done or are doing for ourselves. So many people want to talk about their own good works. They love to discuss the church, or the lodge, or religion, but salvation is a matter of dealing personally with Jesus Christ. Believers in the early church pointed men and women to Christ.
In Romans 10:13 we read: “Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
Peter, preaching before the Sanhedrin, said: “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).
When Philip preached to the Ethiopian eunuch, he preached unto him Jesus. (Acts 8:35).
Saul of Tarsus, that great religious leader of the Jews, was saved by receiving Christ as his own personal Saviour.
When Paul and Silas preached to the Philippian jailer, they told him to “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ,” and he would be saved. (Acts 16:31).
If you are to be saved, you must see Jesus. You must get your eyes off the things you are doing, and turn them upon the Saviour. When explaining the new birth to Nicodemus, Christ said: “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have eternal life” (John 3:14,15).
This serpent was a type of the Lord Jesus Christ dying for our transgressions. The children of Israel, because of their sins, had been bitten by fiery serpents and faced death. Moses pleaded for their salvation from this awful fate. God told him to put a serpent of brass upon a pole in the midst of the camp, and promised that all who looked by faith upon it, would live. The people looked, and they lived. In the same way, the moment any sinner will look by faith to the Cross-work of our Lord Jesus Christ, he will be saved.
Let us take a journey today back to Calvary. It is early morning. Barabbas, a man who was a robber and a murderer, is in an old Roman prison awaiting the day of his death. As he sits in his little cell, he becomes aware of the approaching steps of a prison guard. “The hour of my death has come,” he says to himself.
The guard slowly walks down the long corridor and stops at Barabbas’ cell. He turns the key and almost shouts with excitement, “Barabbas, you’re free.”
Barabbas cannot understand. He reproves the guard, saying, “This is no time for joking. It is the hour of my execution.”
No, Barabbas, you’re a free man. Come quickly with me.” The guard increases his pace as they walk along the corridor and up the stairs that lead to the open air. “Barabbas, you don’t have to die. Someone else has died for you.”
“Someone died for me? Who? I don’t understand.”
“Let us hurry, Barabbas, and you will see for yourself.” The two men ran quickly until they were outside the prison walls. Barabbas followed the guard until they came within sight of Calvary. There on the hill he saw three men crucified on three crosses.
“Barabbas, do you see that man on the centre cross? He is the one who is taking your place. He died for you.”
“He died for me,” thought Barabbas. “Today was my day to die. But He took my place. He died that I might live.”
This is truly a picture of the salvation that God has provided for every sinner. The Lord Jesus Christ died for you and me. “Wherefore He is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by Him, seeing He ever liveth to make intercession for them” (Hebrews 7:25).
In John 3:16 we read: “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
This familiar verse tells us exactly how to be saved:
“For God so loved world…” Here is a fact that we can easily believe and accept as true.
“That He gave His only begotten Son…” Christ is God’s love-gift to you and me. He came into the world to save sinners.
“That whosoever…” This means you and it means me. Salvation must become a personal matter.
“Believeth in Him…” This means to believe by faith. A head knowledge of Christ is not sufficient. Believing faith means to commit your life to Him. It is the heart’s response to His love.
“Should not perish, but have everlasting life.” If we will do what God asks of us, He will do what He has promised. The moment we believe, our sins are forgiven. We shall not perish, but shall have everlasting life. To have something means to own or possess it. God says we have-possess right now-eternal life.”