People are saved when they are reconciled with God through Jesus Christ. In this sense salvation is not a process but something that happens in a moment. Though this is true, it is also true that there is a process that leads up to that moment. If we desire to be useful to God in the salvation of others, we need to understand how God leads people to Jesus Christ so that we will be able to work with God every step of the way as He leads people to the Savior. In these lessons we will cover the following steps in the conversion process:
- Human Sinfulness
- Conviction by the Spirit
- Repentance from Sin
- Faith in Christ
- Baptism into Christ
- Reconciliation with God
- Transformation by the Spirit
…at that time you were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world.
For My people have committed two evils: They have forsaken Me, the fountain of living waters, And hewn themselves cisterns—broken cisterns that can hold no water.
The Bible teaches that people are completely separated from God because of their sin. God created them, and they live in the world He created, and yet they do not know Him. They are completely separated from the source of life and spend their time chasing the things of this world that will soon pass away instead of the eternal God. The Bible plainly teaches that all people outside of Christ are without God and without hope in this world. They are lost in this world and unless they come to Christ they will be lost for all eternity.
Throughout history and throughout our world today there are many people who worship idols made of wood, stone and metal. Each of these idols represent a so-called god that people believe will give them what they need and/or want. They worship idols that are alleged to have the power to make them healthy, and they worship others that are purported to have the power to make them rich. Some are well-known for supernatural power, others for supplying happiness and still others supposedly give a person success and purpose in their lives. All idols are advertised as a way to get what you want out of life.
In our day a new idol has risen up in the guise of a false Christianity. It promises to give us everything all the other idols give us without the need to worship the various different gods. This false gospel says that if we will follow Jesus then God will give us success to satisfy our ambition and prosperity to gratify the lusts of our flesh. This idolatrous gospel teaches us to pray in this manner, “Not Your will, but mine be done.” It mocks at self-denial and teaches us to “bless ourselves because we deserve it,” and it encourages us to maintain a “healthy self-esteem,” while pouring contempt on biblical self-abasement. In short, it tells us that we should seek after the things of this world instead of renouncing this world and seeking the only wise and eternal God. It teaches people to “think positive” and “dream big” so that they can experience “their best life now.”
Such a religion is popular among people who love this world and are not willing to take up their cross in order to follow Jesus. Such teaching is an idolatrous abomination and is utterly condemned by God. It reveals that those who sponsor it do not understand the problem of mankind. These people think that godliness is a means to carnal prosperity instead of a means to eternal life in the presence of God and the Lamb. It is embraced and promoted only by people who have their portion in this life, and it is despised and rejected by those who know that God is the only source of true life.
We must understand mankind’s problem is not that they lack fulfillment and happiness, but that they lack God. It is not that they have a small and insignificant life, it is that they have no life at all. God is not a means to an end, He is the End and Goal of all things. Apart from Christ mankind is without God and without hope in this world. Our message must not offer people a way to fulfill their worldly lusts and ambitions, it must present God in Christ as the only thing worth pursuing. The living God does not offer to give us everything we want in this temporary world, instead He offers to give us Himself for all eternity.