It sounds simple doesn’t it – all you have to do is believe in Jesus and you will be saved. Really? That’s it? In a word – yes! It is that simple but it’s simplicity doesn’t make it any easier to believe. There are many things that get in the way of belief. Here are two difficulties which I think most people can relate to. I have certainly experienced both. The first is the fact that many people have already heard, and liked the sound of what the gospel message contains, but they have then dismissed it as fantasy or fairytale. They think it just sounds too good to be true. The second difficulty is this: they see no evidence of the truth and reality of the Gospel message in action around them. In the passage below, the jailer is reduced to a trembling wreck at the feet of his two badly tortured prisoners who sang hymns after a flogging and then sat serenely in their cells after an earthquake had essentially been sent to release them. The jailer wanted to know what they knew because they had demonstrated the power and truth of their faith in God. He could see with his own eyes that their faith was clearly well founded.
Acts 16:25-34 NLT
Around midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening. Suddenly, there was a massive earthquake, and the prison was shaken to its foundations. All the doors immediately flew open, and the chains of every prisoner fell off! The jailer woke up to see the prison doors wide open. He assumed the prisoners had escaped, so he drew his sword to kill himself. But Paul shouted to him, “Stop! Don’t kill yourself! We are all here!” The jailer called for lights and ran to the dungeon and fell down trembling before Paul and Silas. Then he brought them out and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved, along with everyone in your household.” And they shared the word of the Lord with him and with all who lived in his household. Even at that hour of the night, the jailer cared for them and washed their wounds. Then he and everyone in his household were immediately baptised. He brought them into his house and set a meal before them, and he and his entire household rejoiced because they all believed in God.
As I said, it may be simple but it is not easy. It is possible, and quite often is the case, that a person can come to believe in an instant. But just as often, it is something that builds up over time with slow and steady exposure to the gospel message. Either way, belief in God can be fragile and so it needs to be nurtured like a delicate plant in a potting shed. After the jailer had expressed his desire to be saved, Paul and Silas shared the word of the Lord with him and all in his household. My goal, as this project of mine continues, is becoming increasingly clear. I am keen to share the word of the Lord with those who have struggled to read it in the past. I want to share the word of God with those who are asking what they must do to be saved.
2 Kings 8:1-9:13, Acts 16:16-40, Psalms 143:1-12, Proverbs 17:26