We, the editors and writers of Forthright Magazine, share a single concern: the soul’s salvation. We want more than anything to be saved, in order that we may enjoy God’s presence, both now and eternally. We also want every single person in this world to be saved, including you, our readers and subscribers.
For the alternative to salvation, to the pleasure of God’s presence, is perdition, the complete absence of his presence and blessing.
“They will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might” (2 Thessalonians 1:9, ESV).
To be where God is not must be a terrifying experience.
To move from perdition to salvation requires more than our own steam. Christ “suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God” (1 Peter 3:18). God’s salvation is a gift and makes salvation a possibility. To turn the possibility into reality, three conditions are necessary.
First, we must know. We must know our sorry state and its cause. We must recognize our helplessness to move from perdition to blessedness. We must discover the gift God has prepared for us in the cross of Christ. We must know the people God has formed for our strength and his mission.
As well, we must know that evil forces are at work in the world to deceive us (1 Peter 5:8,9; 2 Corinthians 11:3-6, 12-15; Titus 1:10,11; 2 John 7). We must be able to spot counterfeits by identifying the true message, the one church, and the teaching of Christ (Ephesians 5:17; 2 John 8-10; Matthew 7:15-23).
We must also know that God has determined how his gift is to be received. Satan has put a myriad of answers in the streets to the question, “What must I do to be saved?” (see Acts 2:37,38). God gives but one answer.
Second, we must believe, for knowledge is not enough. “[W]hoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him” (Hebrews 11:6). We must believe that Jesus is God’s only Son sent to save mankind (John 3:16; 8:24). We must trust that God will keep his promise to forgive and save (2 Peter 3:8-13; Hebrews 10:23).
We must believe in a final ressurrection and judgment, where all will answer for deeds, good and bad, done in the body (1 Thessalonians 4:14-18; Romans 2:6-11). We must believe God has revealed to us a pattern or model for faith and practice (Romans 6:17). Otherwise, it’s personal preference and general chaos (as in Israel, in Judges 21:25), and shipwrecked faith (1 Timothy 1:19).
Just as knowledge must be proved true, our beliefs must be tested as well (1 John 4:1). Wrong beliefs, however sincere, will not bring us to God. To be saved, we must believe the truth (2 Thessalonians 2:13). Faith must not rest in men, but in God (2 Corinthians 2:5).
Third, we must act, for belief must spill out into obedience.
We must decide to abandon our old ways and embrace the new life (John 3:3,5; Acts 2:38). We must confess that Jesus is Lord and Savior (Matthew 10:32,33; Romans 10:9,10). We must be immersed in water to have our sins removed through contact with the blood of Christ (Acts 22:16). We must be faithful to the Lord, even to the point of dying for our faith (Revelation 2:10). We must take the gospel to all peoples and places (Matthew 28:18-20). We must worship God in spirit and truth (John 4:24).
Faith alone, or mere sincerity, is insufficient to save. Eternal life is given only to those who obey Jesus Christ (Hebrews 5:9).
We want above all to know God and live forever with him. We want the same for you. Please consider seriously what the Word says about God’s plan to save the world.
There is no subject more important, nor more twisted, among men.
There is no subject more important, nor more twisted, among men, that that of the soul’s salvation.