From the Beginning

Last week I shared a bit about the new life, the new birth, that we have in Jesus Christ. I learned so much that first year of being a Christian, but it was just the beginning. What I’ve seen and heard and felt in almost 40 years with Christ is quite remarkable to me. The Lord has taken me to depths that I have difficulty describing, but it’s worth a try. Let’s start from the beginning.

The first words I remember studying about as a new Christian were “save,” “saved,” “salvation,” “Savior,” “faith,” “believe,” and “believer.” I learned that each of these words in the New Testament were first written in Greek and that understanding their meaning in the original language of the New Testament was important to a Christian. So, here’s a quick look at those seven words and what they mean:

“save” – sozo … to save from danger, to deliver

“save” – diasozo … to bring safely through

“saving” – peripoiesis … preservation

“salvation” – soteria … deliverance, preservation

“savior” – soter … deliverer, preserver

“faith” – pistis … firm persuasion, conviction based on hearing, trust competely

“believe” – pisteuo … be persuaded of, place confidence in, trust in reliance upon

“believe” – peitho … to be persuaded

“believer” – piston and pisteuontes … believing ones, trusting ones

To be saved is to be saved from danger. To have salvation is to have deliverance and preservation. Our Savior delivered us from danger and preserves us. To believe that we are in danger and in need of being saved means we must place our faith and trust in the Savior Who alone can save us.

I placed my faith and trust in Jesus Christ because I believed my soul was in danger and that He was the only One who could deliver me from that danger and place me in a safe place. To be saved is to be “safe.”

I’ve heard people say that Jesus did not come to save anyone because no one needs saving. Their view of Jesus is that He was a kind teacher who brought lots of wonderful stories to the Jewish people. I agree that Jesus is a kind Teacher and He did tell the people of Israel many wonderful stories, but I disagree that no one needs saving and that Jesus did not come to save people. That contradicts everything in God’s Word. In fact, saving people is the primary reason Jesus came to earth as a baby. Here’s what the angel of the Lord told Joseph, Mary’s husband: “And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name JESUS, for He will save His people from their sins.” Matthew 1:21

Jesus’ name in the Greek (Iesous) is a transliteration of the Hebrew name (Joshua) that means “Jehovah is salvation.” The angel told Joseph to call Mary’s baby Jesus, “for He will save His people from their sins.” The very NAME God gave His Son means “Jehovah is salvation.”

Here’s more proof that Jesus came to save people from His own words:

“For the Son of Man has come to save that which was lost.” Matthew 18:11

“For the Son of Man did not come to destroy men’s lives but to save them.” Luke 9:56

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.” John 3:16-17

“Yet I do not receive testimony from man, but I say these things that you may be saved.” John 5:34

“I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture.” John 10:9

“And if anyone hears My words and does not believe, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world but to save the world.” John 12:47

The followers of Jesus Christ did not change that message. They continued to teach that Jesus came to save people even after He ascended back to His Throne in Heaven.

“And it shall come to pass That whoever calls on the name of the LORD Shall be saved.” Acts 2:21

“And with many other words he testified and exhorted them, saying, ‘Be saved from this perverse generation.” Acts 2:40

“So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved.” Acts 2:46-47

“This is the ‘stone which was rejected by you builders, which has become the chief cornerstone.’ Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” Acts 4:11-12

“But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved in the same manner as they.” Acts 15:11

“And he brought them out and said, ‘Sirs, what must I do to be saved?’ So they said, ‘Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household.” Acts 16:30-31

“Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him.” Romans 5:9

“For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.” romans 5:10

“But what does it say? ‘The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart’ (that is, the word of faith which we preach): that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” Romans 10:8-10

“For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him. 13 For ‘whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved.” Romans 10:12-13

“For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” 1 Corinthians 1:18

“For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through wisdom did not know God, it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe.” 1 Corinthians 1:21

“For we are to God the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing.” 2 Corinthians 2:15

“But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and madeus sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” Ephesians 2:4-10

“This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief.” 1 Timothy 1:15

“For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” 1 Timothy 2:3-4

There is no question about what the New Testament teaches concerning our being in danger and Jesus Christ being our Savior:

“For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.” Matthew 2:1

“And many more believed because of His own word. Then they said to the woman, “Now we believe, not because of what you said, for we ourselves have heard Him and we know that this is indeed the Christ, the Savior of the world.” John 4:41-42

“The God of our fathers raised up Jesus whom you murdered by hanging on a tree. Him God has exalted to His right hand to be Prince and Savior, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins. And we are His witnesses to these things, and so also is the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey Him.” Acts 5:30-32

“For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.” Philippians 3:20

“Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ, by the commandment of God our Savior and the Lord Jesus Christ, our hope.” 1 Timothy 1:1

“Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me His prisoner, but share with me in the sufferings for the gospel according to the power of God, who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began, but has now been revealed by the appearing of our Savior Jesus Christ, who has abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel, to which I was appointed a preacher, an apostle, and a teacher of the Gentiles. For this reason I also suffer these things; nevertheless I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day.” 2 Timothy 2:8-12

“To Titus, a true son in our common faith: Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ our Savior.” Titus 1:4

“… looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ.” Titus 2:13

“Simon Peter, a bondservant and apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who have obtained like precious faith with us by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ.” 2 Peter 1:1

“You therefore, beloved, since you know this beforehand, beware lest you also fall from your own steadfastness, being led away with the error of the wicked; but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and forever. Amen.” 2 Peter 3:17-18

“And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son as Savior of the world.” 1 John 4:14

The human race is an endangered species physically and spiritually and in great need of a Savior. That’s what Jesus does. He saved people from everlasting punishment. Does God save everyone? No. He saves only those who “believe in the Lord Jesus Christ.” What does it take to become a believer? Faith. We must believe that Jesus is the one and only way to be saved.

“There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. This man came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all through him might believe.” John 1:6-7

“He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him. But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” John 1:11-13

“This beginning of signs Jesus did in Cana of Galilee, and manifested His glory; and His disciples believed in Him.” John 2:11

“Therefore, when He had risen from the dead, His disciples remembered that He had said this to them; and they believed the Scripture and the word which Jesus had said. Now when He was in Jerusalem at the Passover, during the feast, many believed in His name when they saw the signs which He did.” John 2:22-23

“And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life … He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God … He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.” John 3:14-15, 18, 36

“Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life.” John 5:24

“Then they said to Him, ‘What shall we do, that we may work the works of God?’ Jesus answered and said to them, ‘This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent … And Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst … And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day … Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me has everlasting life … Also we have come to believe and know that You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” John 6:28-29, 35, 40, 47, 69

“He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.” John 7:38

“Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for if you do not believe that I am He, you will die in your sins … And He who sent Me is with Me. The Father has not left Me alone, for I always do those things that please Him.’ As He spoke these words, many believed in Him. Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed.” John 8:24, 29-31

“Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this? She said to Him, “Yes, Lord, I believe that You are the Christ, the Son of God, who is to come into the world.” John 11:25-27

“While you have the light, believe in the light, that you may become sons of light.’ These things Jesus spoke, and departed, and was hidden from them … I have come as a light into the world, that whoever believes in Me should not abide in darkness.” John 12:36, 46

“Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me … Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me … Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me? The words that I speak to you I do not speak on My own authority; but the Father who dwells in Me does the works. Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father in Me, or else believe Me for the sake of the works themselves.” John 14:1, 6, 10-11

“And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: of sin, because they do not believe in Me; of righteousness, because I go to My Father and you see Me no more … In that day you will ask in My name, and I do not say to you that I shall pray the Father for you; for the Father Himself loves you, because you have loved Me, and have believed that I came forth from God. I came forth from the Father and have come into the world. Again, I leave the world and go to the Father … Now we are sure that You know all things, and have no need that anyone should question You. By this we believe that You came forth from God.” John 16:8-10, 26-28, 30

“For I have given to them the words which You have given Me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came forth from You; and they have believed that You sent Me … I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me.” John 17:8, 20-21

“And he who has seen has testified, and his testimony is true; and he knows that he is telling the truth, so that you may believe.” John 19:35

“Now Thomas, called the Twin, one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. The other disciples therefore said to him, “’We have seen the Lord.’ So he said to them, ‘Unless I see in His hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe.’ And after eight days His disciples were again inside, and Thomas with them. Jesus came, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, ‘Peace to you!’ Then He said to Thomas, ‘Reach your finger here, and look at My hands; and reach your hand here, and put it into My side. Do not be unbelieving, but believing.’ And Thomas answered and said to Him, ‘My Lord and my God!’ Jesus said to him, ‘Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.’ And truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.” John 20:24-31

Salvation is the greatest experience I’ve ever had in life. I was lost, but now I’m found; was blind, but now I see. If you have not received Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior – if you have not confessed your sins to God, asked for His forgiveness and the wonderful gift of eternal life through Jesus Christ – I invite you to do that right now. Don’t wait, don’t put it off. We just don’t know what’s going to happen to us today or tomorrow or this week. We need to take care of eternal things now, while there’s time.

If you do pray to receive Christ as your Lord and Savior, please write to me and let me know. I’d like to pray for you and share some thoughts about becoming a child of God.

Tomorrow: What we become when we believe in the Lord Jesus Christ.

Blessings!

Mark McGee

GraceLife Ministries

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