Nana Yaw Aidoo
God is love (1 John 4:8) and as such, He desires that all men would be saved (1 Tim. 2:3-4; 2 Pet. 3:9). However, even though God desires the salvation of all men, not everyone will be saved. In fact, the Bible teaches that the majority of men will be lost (Matt. 7:13-14). And the reason why this is so is not God’s inability to save (far from it) but the three-letter word, sin (Isa. 59:1-2; Eccl. 7:29).
What is Sin?
The New Testament defines sin in about four different ways. First, it teaches that violating our consciences constitutes sin (Rom. 14:23). Second, we learn that to know the right thing and yet to not do it is sin (Jam. 4:17). Third, we see sin as the breaking of law (1 John 3:4) and finally, we are taught that all unrighteousness is sin (1 John 5:17). What these definitions as a whole teach is that man is helpless on His own to be right with God.
Forms of Sin
All sin can be grouped into two forms. First, positive or doctrinal sins and second, moral sins. Positive sins are those sins that are committed when men violate positive law. They might not necessarily be immoral. This form of sin can be seen in such passages as Leviticus 10:1-3 and 2 Samuel 6:1-8. Moreover, moral sins are those sins that are committed when men violate moral law. Examples are fornication, lying, abortion etc. (cf. Pro. 6:16-19).
Spiritual Consequences of Sin
Even though sin might lead to physical consequences, our focus in this article is on the spiritual. Some spiritual consequences of sin are;
It separates us from God (Isa. 59:1-2).
It makes us fall short of God’s glory (Rom. 3:23).
It leads to spiritual death (Rom. 6:23)
It enslaves us (John 8:34)
It will keep us from heaven (1 Cor. 6:9; Gal. 5:21).
Everyone Has a Guilty Charge
As if the foregoing consequences are not enough, the Bible tells us that we are all guilty of sin (Rom. 3:23). Thus, since we have all sinned, and are deserving of or have earned (that is the meaning of the word “wages” in Rom. 6:23) sin’s consequences, the most important question today ought to be; what must I do to be saved from sin? People in the day of the apostles, realizing the enormity of sin and its spiritual consequences asked this very important question (cf. Acts 16:30). It is a tragedy that rather than ask this question, men of today are bothering their souls with questions of relative unimportance.
There is good news however. The good news is that we have the opportunity to be saved from sin because of the man Jesus Christ (1 Tim. 2:5) who is also the Son of God (John 10:30). Through His death, burial and resurrection, He made provision for all not just a select few (Titus 2:11) to be saved from both the guilt of sin and its spiritual consequences. This is why the death, burial and resurrection of Christ are the foundational principles of the gospel (1 Cor. 15:1-4). Therefore, since we can receive “so great a salvation” because of Jesus Christ, we need to ask what to do.
What Must I do?
Please permit me at this point to quote some passages of Scripture.
First, Mark 16:15-16. “And He said unto them, go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.”
Second, Acts 2:38. “Then Peter said unto them, repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for (unto—ASV) the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.”
Third, Romans 10:9. “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thy heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.”
By summing up (Psa. 119:160 ASV) the foregoing passages of Scripture, we learn that in order to be saved from the guilt and the spiritual consequences of sin, we must hear the gospel, believe it, repent of all our sins, confess our faith in Jesus Christ and be baptized unto the remission of sins.
Concerning baptism, the Bible teaches that at that point we contact the blood of Christ since we are baptized into His death (Rom. 6:3), which is where He shed His blood. We are therefore cleansed from our sins not by the water but by the blood of Christ (Rev. 1:5). Upon arising from the watery grave of baptism, we receive salvation from sin (1 Pet. 3:21), we get to walk in newness of life (Rom. 6:4), we become new creatures (2 Cor. 5:17) and we are added by the Lord Himself to the church of Christ (Acts 2:47; Acts 20:28). Furthermore, if we would remain faithful to Christ in His church, we shall receive eternal life as our victor’s crown (Rev. 2:10).
We then, as workers together with Him, beseech you also that ye receive not the grace of God in vain. (For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.) (2 Cor. 6:1-2).