In our previous “Spiritual Thoughts” lesson, Jesus made it perfectly clear, that there are obviously things that we MUST DO, to get to heaven. He Asked in Luke 6:46, “Why do you call Me Lord, Lord, and not DO what I say?” Obviously those who where calling him, Lord, Lord, did in fact believe in Him. But Jesus said, “That’s not enough just to BELIEVE, you must also DO what I say.”
So what exactly did Jesus say to do? What must we do, besides believe, to get to heaven?
Well one thing that Jesus said that we MUST do, is to REPENT. In Luke 13:3, Jesus said, “.. Unless you repent, you shall all likewise perish.” Now that must be fairly important, because He repeated it again in V-5, “I tell you no, but unless you REPENT, you shall ALL likewise perish.”
Must you repent to enter heaven? Jesus said, “Repent or Perish.” Some people try to say that repenting is actually a PART of believing. And so they reason, that if you believe, that you have somehow automatically repented. Shall we see what GOD has to say about this?
Jesus said in Mark 1:15, “The kingdom of God is at hand, repent AND believe in the gospel.” Why would Jesus say to do BOTH, believe AND repent, if they were one and the same? Take a look at this example..
On the day of Pentecost, the apostle Peter preached strongly to the Jews in Jerusalem. Listen to what he told them in Acts 2:22-23..
“Men of Israel, listen to these words. Jesus the Nazarene, a man attested to you by God, with miracles and wonders and signs, which God performed through Him in your midst, just as you yourselves know. This man, delivered up by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God, YOU nailed to a cross, by the hands of godless men, and put Him to death.”
Those are some pretty powerful words, aren’t they? Peter went on to say many more words, proving that Jesus was the Christ. But listen to how he sums it all up, in V-36, “Therefore, let all the house of Israel know for CERTAIN, that God has made Him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified!”
Wow, it doesn’t get any stronger than that! And these words caused those men to BELIEVE, because the very next verse, V-37 tells us , “Now when they heard this, they were PIERCED to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of them; Brethren, what shall we DO?”
Those men became believers right then and there! But they were far from saved, and they knew it. As a matter of fact, they stood condemned, and they stood condemned because of what they had done! And they clearly understood THAT, and they knew that something had to be DONE about it. And so they asked Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brethren, what shall we DO?”
Do you know what Peter told them to do? He said, “Repent, and let each one of you be baptized by the authority of Jesus Christ, FOR the forgiveness of your sins..” Acts 2:38. Those people were in SIN, and the apostle Peter told them what had to be done about that sin. He told them they had to REPENT. That means they needed to FEEL the sorrow for what they had done in crucifying the Christ. And they had to change their actions as a result of their Godly sorrow. We’re told in 2 Cor 7:10, “For sorrow that is according to the will of God, produces a repentance without regret, leading to salvation.” To repent means, “to turn again”. So we turn FROM the ungodly things we have done, and we turn to the DOING of God’s will. And it’s the DOING of God’s will, that leads to salvation.
So what is the very FIRST thing that Peter told those people to DO, after they came to the attitude of repentance? Let’s look again at that verse and see what he told them.. “..Be baptized in “the name of” Jesus Christ (that means be baptized by His authority), FOR the forgiveness of your sins..” The reason Peter gave for being baptized was FOR the forgiveness of sins. In order to have their sins forgiven, they were told to be baptized.
There’s not ONE thing that you could do in service to God, that would be acceptable to Him, while you remain in sin. That’s why it’s imperative, that the very first thing you must do, after believing in Christ, and coming to an attitude of repentance, is to get rid of your past sins. Those sins SEPARATE you from God! We learn from Isaiah 59:2, “But your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden His face from, so that He does not hear.”
Your sins have to be removed, before you can do anything else acceptable to God. How can you expect to please God, if you’re still separated from Him? How can you petition God, and ask for His blessings, and give Him your thanks, if His face is hidden from you so that He doesn’t hear? The obvious answer is, you can’t! So the very first thing that anyone has to DO, in turning to God to serve Him, is to get rid of those sins. Yes, there are things we MUST DO, to be saved! Believe is the first thing. Repent is the second thing. And once you come to repentance, it is IMPERATIVE, that you are baptized to cleanse yourself of sin.
The apostle Paul, before he became a “believer”, was know as Saul, the “persecutor” of Christians. But after he SAW with his own eyes, the risen Christ (which by the way blinded him), he became a believer. And he must have been very sorry then, for what he had done. And God sent a Christian named Annanias, to go to Saul and to tell him what he MUST DO. And Annanias told Saul, in Acts 22:16, “And now, why do you delay, arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on His name. In other words, calling on the authority of Jesus.
What Must I DO to be saved ?
The answer’s right there in the bible. All we have to do is read it, believe it, and obey it!
God says, “And without faith, it’s impossible to please Him.” Heb 11:6
Faith comes from the bible, “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” Rom 10:17
God says to believe and to confess, “For with the heart, man believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses unto Salvation.” Rom 10:10
God is, “..Patient toward you, not wishing for ANY to perish, but for ALL to come to repentance” 2 Pet 3:9
Our God, “..Desires ALL people to be saved, and come to the knowledge of the truth” 1 Tim 2:4
God says, “Baptism now saves us, not the putting away of the dirt of the flesh, but the appeal to God from a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ.” 1 Pet 3:21
Jesus is, “..The source of eternal salvation to ALL who obey Him.” Heb 5:9
Jesus said, “Continue faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life.” Rev 2:10