The purpose for the gospel of Jesus is to bring about salvation. The information taught about Jesus in the Bible is for this purpose (Jn. 20:31). The charge of Jesus to the church is to distribute the gospel (Mt. 28:19-20).
As a summary statement of what is required of a person in order to become a Christian, there are five distinct events that must take place. We might think of these events as keys that unlock doors. Until the key is turned in the lock, the door will not open to allow access to what is inside.
Hearing - The gospel of Jesus is information based. Unless that information becomes known, it is of no value. No one can be saved from sin unless they hear the gospel of Christ. “...And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard?” (Rom. 10:18).
Believing - An acceptance of the message of the gospel, with all its essential parts, is the key that opens the next door. “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes...” (Rom. 1:16). Without belief one can go no further toward being saved.
Repenting - The meaning of repentance is to change. The message of Jesus has at its core the intent to change the lives of people. Repentance, that is a changed life, is required in order to have, and maintain, forgiveness of sins (Lk.13:3; 24:47). Since sin is what causes us to be lost in the first place (Rom. 6:23) “how can we who died to sin live any longer in it?” (Rom. 6:2).
Confessing - The Jews of Jesus’ day had ruled that any person who had confessed that they believed Jesus was the Christ would be put out of the synagogue (Jn. 9:22). Jesus said that anyone who does not, will not be allowed into the kingdom of heaven (Mt. 10:32-33).
Being Baptized - Having used four keys to unlock the four previous doors, one final door remains. Then Peter said to them, "Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins...” (Acts 2:38). Paul said one is baptized into Christ (Gal 3:27. Peter said baptism now saves us (1 Pet. 3:21). Jesus said if we are not baptized we will be condemned (Mk. 16:16). Without remission of sins there can be no salvation. Entering the kingdom of heaven requires ALL of the doors be opened.
- Tim Orbison