As followers of Jesus, we are called to share our faith with others. To “go and make disciples.” However, understanding how to explain the Gospel and salvation is not always an easy task. We know what Christ has done for us, but putting it into words can be difficult.
If that describes you, you’re in luck! Because today we are going to easily define and help you understand what exactly the Gospel mean
How to Explain Salvation:
God softens your heart
This is an important first step. God is always the one to soften someone’s heart in order to help him/her understand salvation. It is your job to preach the Gospel. But all the preaching in the world can’t soften a heart. Only God can.
It isn’t something good in humanity that responds to the Gospel. It is God who enables hearts to soften in a way where they could respond. Because this is true, when given a chance to share the Gospel, immediately begin praying and begging God to soften the heart of the hearer
Important Truth from Scripture to Share:
One of the big truths that must be communicated when sharing the Gospel is the fact that Jesus is the ONLY way to heaven.
No good deeds, no religious activity, no kindness shown can earn your way into heaven. This is such a hard concept to communicate sometimes! I vividly remember the first time I looked a friend in the eyes and told her she wasn’t good enough to earn salvation. The shock in her face and the defensiveness she felt made me tear up. Looking back at my 20-year-old self trying to explain humanity’s sinfulness, I wish I had used more tact, but the outcome of letting this person know, for the first time in her life, that Jesus is the only way, is not something I would ever take back.
And while our sinfulness may not be the part of the Gospel we want to highlight, if we don’t see ourselves as sinners, we don’t see our need for a savior.
Because the Bible tells us in Romans 3:23 “All people have sinned”. Most people you speak with will agree with that statement. In fact, I have yet to meet someone who disagrees with this statement.
The Bible continues to tell us in Romans 6:23, “The penalty for our sin is death.” Which means an eternal separation from God. Death is what we earn with our sin which we all just agreed we have done. This is where you might get some pushback. But remember, the Bible is true and is what we base our beliefs on. To read more on this topic, check out 5 Reasons Christians Base Their Beliefs on the Bible.
Once we understand we all sin and the consequence is eternal separation from God, Romans 5:8, “Jesus Christ died to pay the penalty for our sins” makes so much more sense and gives us a reason to rejoice. This verse needs to be highlighted as you share! God made a way!!
The Need for a Conscious Decision
Understanding you are a sinner and in need of a savior then requires a response. Responding to the Gospel is more than just acknowledging or knowing the facts and approving of them or agreeing with them. In addition to knowing, agreeing and approving the facts, we must make a decision to depend on Jesus for salvation.
And as you share the Gospel, it is important to let the person know they need to respond. The Gospel isn’t just another intellectual acknowledgment. Instead, each person must individually turn from themselves and choose to follow Christ in faith.
This turning from self and following Christ is a vital step you need to emphasize. The graphics below may help you understand the concept a bit better.
The need to repent of sins and then trust in Christ for forgiveness is the full and true proclamation of the gospel. A commitment for Christ, if genuine, includes a commitment to turn from sin. If we only preach faith and not repentance, we are only preaching half the gospel
So What Does Being Born Again Mean?
“Born Again” (also called regeneration) is a secret act of God in which he imparts new spiritual life to us. Once we have turned from our sins and turned to God, we are born again.
It is important to note that we are passive in this process. John 1:12-13 states, “But to all who did receive him, he gave them the right to be children of God, to those who believe in his name, who were born, not of natural descent, or of the will of the flesh, or of the will of man, but of God”. God did the giving of new spiritual life, not us.
Just like we were passive in our own physical birth, we are passive in our spiritual rebirth as well. God is who makes us a new creation.
So when we read verses like 2 Corinthians 5:17 which state, “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has passed away, and the new has come” we know this verse is describing what happens when you are born again. You are literally a new creation!
What Does It Mean to Be a New Creation
We are no longer characterized by our sins.
We are characterized as a child of God. Your past no longer defines you. Your current status as a child of God defines you.
We begin to reflect him in our lives.
Galatians 5:22-23 lists the results in our life that will be seen over time as we continue to turn from ourselves and follow Christ. It is important to remember as we seek to understand “born again”, that no where in scripture does it point to activity in the church or miracles as evidence of this process. It always points to character traits.
We can be confident that we will overcome the world.
1 John 5:4 tells us “because everyone who has been born of God conquers the world. This is the victory that has conquered the world: our faith”. By faith, you are now a new creation, and you now have the ability to overcome the pressures and temptations of the world.
Walking through these steps with someone who does not understand the Gospel doesn’t need to be intimidating. Simply remember God is the one in control and you just need to communicate a few truths. God will use you as you seek to share truth with those around you.
You might also be interested in reading:
- Understanding Creation
- Understanding the Trinity
- Balancing Cultural Beliefs with Understanding Biblical Ethics