Final Arguments

So what should I do with the evidence?

God’s Plan of Redemption

God has a plan to redeem us from our sins. God’s plan of redemption was set in motion from the beginning of time and was completed when the Lord Jesus died on the cross and arose from the tomb after three days. The Bible gives many different terms to describe this plan. In John 3:3 Jesus said to Nicodemus, “unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” Other passages state that we must be converted (Matthew 18:3, Acts 3:19). Another term often used is “being saved” (Ephesians 2:8, Acts 4:12, John 3:17). In Acts 11:26 and I Peter 4:16, we find the term “Christian” being used for those that had been redeemed by God. No matter which term you choose, the bottom line question is: How do I obtain this relationship with God?

John 14:6 reminds us that Jesus is the way to God. We must have a correct understanding of Jesus, if we are to find the Father. Through many Biblical references, it has been established that Jesus is God in the flesh. There is no further need to elaborate on that point. In I Corinthians 15:3-4 we read the rest of the Gospel: Jesus died for our sins, He was buried, and He rose again the third day.

The cross is a vital part of God’s plan of redemption. The cross is a mystery to a nonbeliever. In fact, in I Corinthians 1:18 we read that “the message of the cross is foolishness to those that are perishing.” Why Jesus had to die on a cross and its relevance is difficult for the unbeliever to grasp. In the Old Testament, God’s plan for covering sins was offering animal sacrifices. In Leviticus 4:13-20 God tells the children of Israel to sacrifice a bull for their transgression. We also read there were different sacrifices required for various sins. The Lord commanded that the animals for sacrifices must be without blemish (Exodus 12:5, Leviticus 4:23, Numbers 6:14). Two things stand out here: 1) the animal sacrificed had to be perfect and 2) blood had to be shed. These were key requirements for gaining the forgiveness of God, as the people looked forward to Jesus’ death on the cross, which would end all sacrifices (Hebrew 10:10-12). Jesus’ death on the cross unleashed all the fury of God. Jesus took God’s wrath over man’s sin upon Himself and God accepted that sacrifice as payment for sin. Only Jesus could be the perfect, required, sacrifice. His death on the cross was the method God chose to redeem mankind.

The other element in I Corinthians 15:3-4 is the resurrection. Without the resurrection, Jesus would only have been a martyr who died for a good cause. The resurrection was God’s final sign that the cross was His work. Since Jesus prophesied that He would rise the third day, His claims of being Messiah hinged on fulfilling that statement. Belief in His death on the cross and resurrection are paramount to being redeemed. Mankind’s sin separated all people from a Holy God. Jesus bridged the gap through His death on the cross. However, that does not mean all sin is automatically redeemed. God has done His part in taking care of the sin problem, but man has a requirement, as well.

How to Be Saved

In the Gospels, Jesus commanded everyone to repent (Matthew 4:17, Mark 1:15, and Luke 13:3). In the book of Acts, the disciples preached the same message of repentance (Acts 2:38, 3:19, 17:30, and 26:20). In Christian circles, the term “repent” is probably one of the most misunderstood and misinterpreted doctrines of the Bible. We have all heard the expression “turn or burn,” which implies a person must change behavior or go to hell. This phrase suggests that behavior dictates the eternal destiny of individuals. The truth is, only God’s grace allows a person to stand without condemnation before a righteous and holy God. Behavior will never earn anyone a “ticket” to heaven. Entrance into heaven is only through the finished work of Jesus. Clearly, the Lord does care about personal behavior. He wants every person to glorify His Son after salvation. However, behavior does not get anyone into heaven.

The Greek word for repent is metaneo, which means to change your mind. All people need to change their minds about three things:1

    1. We must change our mind about Jesus. The world teaches that Jesus was not deity and that He is only one of many ways to God. We must believe in the deity of Christ! He is not a way; He is THE WAY (John 14:6).

   2. We must change our mind about sin. We must realize our sin is awful! We must come to grips with the fact that our sins have separated us from God (Romans 3:23). Man tries to downplay his sin by saying, “I am no worse than my neighbor,” or “Everybody else is doing it.” We need to view sin as God sees it. When we see our sin from God’s perspective, our response should be to sorrow over our separation from Him and to repent (2 Corinthians 7:10). Until we deal with our sin, we are facing eternal separation from God (Romans 6:23). Yes, we need to change our mind about sin.

     3. We must change our mind about self. The secular humanists teach that man is continually getting    better. They obviously are looking at intellectual accomplishments rather than morality. We must  understand that we cannot come to God on our own merit. The Bible teaches that, “We have turned, every one, to his own way…” (Isaiah 53:6). No one will ever find favor with God on personal merit. We must realize that we are inherently sinful and cannot change on our own. The Good News is that because of God’s plan of salvation, we have hope!

Biblical repentance is agreement with God about our sin and the realization that we need Him to change our lives. We don’t have to stop sinning to be saved; rather, we need to be saved so that we can stop sinning! We recognize that only Jesus can change a life and give victory over sin (I Corinthians 15:57). Repentance is stating, “I’m sick and tired of being sick and tired and I know I need the Lord to change me.” Man has the easy part (repentance); God has the hard part (changing us). As we learn to let Him work in our lives, change becomes easier and quicker.

Many have tried coming to God without Biblical repentance and have experienced the same result, which is failure. The scribes and Pharisees were the religious leaders during Jesus’ time. They were self-seekers; they felt sufficient in themselves; and they rejected Jesus. They were in error, and Jesus denounced them as hypocrites (Matthew 23:25-33). No one will ever come to God without repentance. We must change our minds! We must let go of our self-life, and let God make us anew!

The Bible tells us that we must receive Christ (John 1:12). In Revelation 3:20 we read that Jesus is standing at the door of our individual lives and knocking. If anyone hears His voice and opens the door, He will come in. It is not enough to know the truth; we must also act on it. We do not benefit from knowing what Jesus did for us if we do not invite Him into our lives. We receive Him by faith as our Savior. Through an act of our will, we ask Jesus to come into our lives. The Bible says God is a Spirit (John 4:24). That is where faith comes into play. We ask Jesus, whom we cannot see, to be our Savior. Only by God’s grace does this take place (Ephesians 2:8-9). We will never earn or deserve salvation. The Revelation 3:20 passage refers to opening the door of my life to let Jesus come in. This door is unique in that it only has a doorknob on the inside. Jesus will not open the door because He gave each person a free will. Due to that provision, He cannot force a person to take any action. Each individual has 100% choice to open the door or leave it closed. By my own volition, the need for Jesus to change me and make me into a new creation is believed and received.

Salvation takes place in a mere moment of time. Although it may take years to reach this point, salvation occurs immediately upon receiving the Gospel into my heart. I must sincerely believe that Jesus is God in the flesh, that He died on the cross for my sins, and that He rose again the third day. I must also sincerely repent, acknowledge my personal sin, ask God’s forgiveness, and realize the need for inner change. By faith, I must ask Jesus into my life as my personal Savior. I know I have received salvation, or am born again, after trusting Jesus Christ to take away my sins. That is how I know that I have entered into eternal life (I John 5:13, John 3:16, John 5:24, John 6:47, and John 10:27).

If you sincerely believe and want Jesus to come into your life, pray this prayer:

“Jesus, I believe you are God in the flesh. Thank you for dying on the cross for my sins and rising again the third day. I confess that I am a sinner, and I repent from all my sins. Please come into my life and be my Savior. Amen.”

If you sincerely repented and invited Jesus into your life, you are now a new creation in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17). Be assured that God has forgiven all your sins (Psalm 103:12, Romans 3:24) and guarantees you eternal life. In addition, from now on, Jesus is with you to help you work out the issues of life (Philippians 4:13).


I remember a conversation with a young adult several years ago. This individual did not believe in God and questioned what the Bible says. He asked me, “What happens if you are wrong and there is no God?” I replied, “I will have lived a good moral life built on helping others, and I will have been a positive influence in the world for good.” Then I asked him, “What happens if you are wrong?” After a long discussion, we finally agreed on two things: 1) If he is wrong, his life on earth will have been an entire waste, completely missing the point of why he was created and 2) he will be in hell for all of eternity. I ask you: Which one of us do you think has the most to lose?


     1.  C.I. Scofield, The New Schofield Study Bible, New King James Version, Footnote #4 on Acts 17:30,           (Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1989) 1343.