It is hard to believe that a month ago I was in Jamaica, along with 17 others, for a mission trip. I intended to write this post almost as soon as I returned home, but as usual, life gets busy, and I didn’t make the time to write the post as one of the many reflections I had from my trip.
I’ve now been blessed with the opportunity to go to Jamaica specifically for the purpose of spreading God’s Word three times. Each experience has taught me a lot; not only about myself, my fellow workers, and the Jamaican people, but also, and most importantly, the power of the Gospel. God’s Word is powerful, and does bring salvation to those who are willing to obey it.
Romans 1:16: “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ,for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek.”
Teaching the Gospel in Jamaica also reminds me of the seriousness of sin and why we need salvation from sin. Sin, transgression of God’s law (1 John 3:4), separates us from God (Isaiah 59:1-2). Once we reach an age of understanding, we all sin (Romans 3:23), and because of sin, are worthy of death (Romans 6:23). Our sin separates us from God, and condemns us to a place of everlasting punishment for eternity (Matthew 25:31-46).
Thankfully, God sent His Son, giving us the gift of salvation if we choose to accept it. However, we must realize that there are certain things that God says we must do to accept His gift of salvation - to be washed of our sins so that we are no longer separated from Him. The Bible teaches that to be saved – to come to God - and be cleansed from our sins we must hear and understand God’s Word (John 6:45), believe that Jesus is the Son of God (John 8:24), confess that Jesus is the Son of God (Romans 10:10), repent of our sins (Acts 17:30), and be baptized (immersed) (Mark 16:16). One example of conversion recorded for us in the Bible is found in Acts 8:26-40. There we see the account of the Ethiopian eunuch: Philip taught the eunuch about Christ (Acts 8:30-35), the eunuch believed in Christ (Acts 8:37), he repented (Acts 8:36), he confessed Jesus as the Son of God (Acts 8:37), and was baptized (Acts 8:38). Notice that the eunuch’s joy comes after his baptism (Acts 8:39), not before. Sadly, some men have perverted God’s Word teaching that baptism isn’t essential to salvation. Consider some of the things that happen at the point of baptism: we receive remission (forgiveness) of sins (Acts 2:38); our sins are washed away (Acts 22:16); we are saved (1 Peter 3:21); and we are added to the church (Acts 2:47). If sin separates us from God, how can we be right with Him if our sins have not been washed away?
For further discussion about what God teaches through the Bible about how to receive salvation, I encourage you to listen to this lesson by Brother Dan Winkler about becoming a child of God. As always, I’d love to discuss this further with you as well – you can email me (beingwhatiwanttobe at gmail dot com) or write in the comments below.