The simple truth about the Gospel of God’s Grace is – it’s simple, uncomplicated and direct. Here’s why I say that.
The Apostle Paul and his ministry partner Silas visited many cities preaching the Gospel. One of them was Philippi in Macedonia. Paul and Silas spent many days in that city sharing the simple, uncomplicated truth of God’s salvation through Grace. On the Sabbath day they went to the riverside and spoke to the people who were there. One of the people was named Lydia. “The Lord opened her heart to heed the things spoken by Paul.” (Acts 16:14) On another occasion a slave girl who was possessed with a spirit of divination (able to tell future events) followed Paul and cried out saying, “These men are the servants of the Most High God, who proclaim to us the way of salvation.” (Acts 16:17) This girl was telling the truth about Paul and Silas, but it annoyed Paul greatly. The men who owned the slave girl were making a lot of money from her ability to tell the future because of the evil spirit in her. Paul looked at the girl and spoke to the spirit of divination. “I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her.” (Acts 16:18) The spirit came out of her and the girl lost her ability to tell people’s future. The men who owned the girl were so angry when they lost their ability to make money off her that they seized Paul and Silas and took them by force to the local magistrates. They lied about what Paul and Silas had done in the city and the magistrates had Paul and Silas beaten and thrown into prison. The jailer put them in the inner prison and fastened their feet in stocks. What did Paul and Silas do? They prayed and sang hymns to God. Everyone in the prison heard them, including the jailer.
Something amazing happened about midnight: a violent earthquake shook the foundation of the prison. All of the prison doors flew open and the chains on every prisoner came loose. The jailer woke up, saw the prison doors open and drew his sword to kill himself. He preferred suicide to what would be done to him for losing his prisoners. However, Paul yelled out to the jailer not to harm himself because all the prisoners were still in their cells. The jailer called for lights, rushed in to Paul and Silas’ cell, fell at their feet trembling, and asked the most important question anyone could ever ask: “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” The jailer had heard Paul and Silas praying and singing hymns to God. He knew a little about their spiritual beliefs, but the events that unfolded at midnight led the jailer to get right to the heart of what was most important to him at that moment: what must he do to be saved.
We are now going to learn how simple, how uncomplicated and how direct the Gospel of Grace should be. Paul had recently won a great victory in Jerusalem and had received everyone’s acknowledgement as being THE Apostle to the Gentiles (Acts 15). Paul had cemented his position powerfully in Antioch (Galatians 2:11-21). He could have launched into a long presentation about how great he was, how close to God he was and how difficult it would be for the jailer to be saved. But that was never part of Paul’s Gospel of Grace. Look at what he said to the jailer: “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household.” (Acts 16:31)
That’s it! That’s the Gospel! Place your faith and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved, you and your household.” It’s that simple, uncomplicated and direct.
The word “believe” in the Greek language of Paul’s day meant “completely trust in, rely upon.” It meant more than just believe in the “fact” that Jesus existed or that He had died for their sins. It meant that salvation comes to those who completely trust in and rely upon the Lord Jesus Christ for their salvation. The message of God’s Grace is that we’re lost and can’t save ourselves. Only God can save us through the death of His Son Jesus Christ on the Cross. We believe that fact and completely rely upon it to save us.
Saving faith is so powerful, it affects your life and the life of your family. Paul was telling the jailer that God would so powerfully impact his life that his family would see it and would also believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and be saved. As we learn later, the jailer’s family was also saved through the simplicity of the Gospel Truth.
Paul never added anything to that simple message of salvation. Read the remaining chapters of Acts and all of Paul’s letters and you’ll see the same simple truth about the Gospel of Grace: “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved.” There is no need to do anything else to be saved. Salvation is a gift that God gives freely to all who will come to Him and believe in the saving power of His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.