What's Wrong With
As you read the following scene, try to guess:
What's wrong with this picture?
Bill looked up from his park bench.
"I'm going around inviting people to our church services and. . . . ."
"I already attend a church, thank you."
"Oh. Well, perhaps you would be interested in reading this. . ."
"Is that a gospel tract?" Bill asked, looking at his watch. His lunch hour over.
"Yes, it is."
"Don't bother son. I already believe in Christ."
"Then you are trusting in Him to save you?"
"Yes, yes. Look, I don't want to seem rude, but I have to get back to work."
Later that day, on the way home, Bill had a second encounter: "I'm sorry Miss,
keep your gospel tract. As I already told someone today, I've trusted Christ as Saviour.
Now if you don't mind, it's been a long day."
Bill arrived at his apartment and found, among the usual assortment of junk mail
and bills, a letter from his church.Dear Mr. Miller
In reviewing your membership status we find no record of you ever having
been baptized. Please search your personal records and have a copy of your
baptism certificate forwarded to us as soon as possible. Thank you
Bill's eyes flew wide open as he read the letter a second time. Turning the apart-
ment upside down could not produce a certificate. The following morning, Bill went
to see the church secretary.
"I'm Bill Miller. I got this letter in the mail."
The secretary slowly examined it through the bottom half of her glasses. "I see.
How unfortunate. Do you have a copy?"
"No. That's my problem. I can't even find the original. How serious is this?"
"Well, I'm afraid as far as we're concerned you've never been baptized," she said, handing
the letter back to him.
"WHAT! But that would mean I'm not saved! You people gotta do something. . ."
Turn the page to see if you guessed the right answer.
The problem with this picture is that Bill is not entrusting his
soul to what he claims to believe.
Twice, Bill claimed that he was trusting Christ to save him. Yet, by the end of the story, it is obvious
that he did not truly understand what it meant to trust Christ. To learn from his mistake, let's begin by
asking you, the reader, the following question:
Do you know what it means to trust Christ as your personal Saviour?
According to the Bible it means: to trust that Christ's death on the cross has totally paid for your
sins. In other words, DON'T TRUST your good deeds, church membership, religion, baptism, self-
righteousness or anything else to save you, because the Bible says: "For by grace are ye SAVED
THROUGH FAITH [TRUST1]; and that NOT OF YOURSELVES: it is the gift of God: NOT OF
WORKS, lest any man should boast." (Eph. 2:8-9) Instead, you have to, "...TRUST IN THE LIVING
GOD, who is THE SAVIOUR OF ALL MEN, specially of those that BELIEVE [TRUST]." 1 Tim. 4:10
The reason you can't save yourself and must trust Christ is because you are a SINNER: "FOR ALL
HAVE SINNED, and come short of the glory of God." (Rom. 3:23) And the consequences of your sinful
state is death (eternal separation from God in Hell): "For THE WAGES OF SIN IS DEATH; but the gift
of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." (Rom. 6:23) That is why Jesus Himself said: "Ye
shall die in your sins: FOR IF YE BELIEVE [TRUST] NOT THAT I AM HE, YE SHALL DIE IN
YOUR SINS." John 8:24
He also said: "I AM THE RESURRECTION, and the life: he that believeth [TRUST] in me, though
he were dead, yet shall he live: And whosoever liveth and BELIEVETH [TRUST] IN ME SHALL
NEVER DIE." (John 11:25-26) In fact, to save YOU is why Christ died in the first place: "God
commendeth [proved] his love toward us, in that, while we were yet SINNERS, CHRIST DIED FOR
US. Much more then, being now JUSTIFIED BY HIS BLOOD, we shall be SAVED FROM WRATH
[Hell] THROUGH HIM." (Rom. 5:8-9) Jesus Christ took our sentence of death and DIED IN OUR
PLACE. The Bible says: "WE HAD THE SENTENCE OF DEATH IN OURSELVES, that we should
NOT TRUST IN OURSELVES, BUT IN GOD which raiseth the dead: Who delivered us from so great
a death, and doth deliver: in whom WE TRUST THAT HE WILL YET DELIVER US." 2 Cor. 1:9-10
Therefore: "If thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus [REPENT], and shalt BELIEVE
[TRUST] in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, THOU SHALT BE SAVED.
For whosoever shall CALL upon the name of the Lord SHALL BE SAVED." Rom. 10:9,13
1 Webster's dictionary defines FAITH as: "a belief in the value, truth, or trustworthiness of someone or
something; belief and TRUST in God." BELIEF is defined as: "something that is TRUSTED or believed."
Let's now look at Bill's mistake.
He, like many others, has erroneously defined the word believe as: "to be of the same opinion," "to
agree," or "to feel that something is right." When it comes to salvation, agreeing with the fact that
Jesus Christ died for your sins is NOT THE SAME AS TRUSTING in Jesus Christ to save you from
your sins. In our story, Bill agreed but didn't really trust.
FOR EXAMPLE: a person can look at a chair and say "I believe that this chair would hold me if I sat
in it." Yet, real belief (trust, faith) does not exist until the person sits down on the chair, trusting it to
hold him. When it comes to salvation, a person may say, "Yes, I believe that Christ died in my place to
pay for MY sins and I fully agree that He can save me." Yet at the same time, when the proverbial "push
comes to shove," the very same person may actually be trusting in a religious work (baptism, church
membership, etc.) to get them to Heaven. In our "picture," Bill Miller did just that. He said he trusted
Christ, but in reality he was trusting something else (his baptism) to save him. Jesus said: "I AM THE
WAY, the truth, and the life: NO MAN COMETH UNTO THE FATHER, BUT BY ME." John 14:6
OR TAKE ANOTHER EXAMPLE: It is possible for a person to believe and fully agree that it's
safe to travel to the Moon, yet not be willing to actually go there for fear of dying. It's one thing to
intellectually agree that the spaceship CAN get you there. It's another thing to TRUST that it WILL get
you there. Likewise, Bill might have believed that Jesus could save his soul from Hell, but in reality he
wasn't ENTRUSTING it to Him as Saviour. He was actually trusting in his baptism. Baptism was his
saviour. Referring to Christ, the Bible says: "Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is NONE
OTHER NAME under heaven given among men, WHEREBY WE MUST BE SAVED." Acts 4:12
How about you?
Perhaps you claim to know Christ as Saviour. Perhaps you even go around calling Him Lord. But
imagine yourself standing before Him on that dreadful day of judgment. Imagine that He is on the verge
of casting you into Hell. In an act of fearful desperation, what would you say? What actions or deeds
would you trust and mention in an effort to justify yourself and save your soul from Hell? Be honest with
yourself. Would you say something like this:
"But Lord! How could you do this? Don't you remember, I was baptized? What about all the times I
went to church? I was a faithful member. Remember all the good deeds I performed? I wasn't that
bad of a person. But Lord! . . . . . . . ."
Or would you, with complete assurance, say:
"But Lord! You promised, in your Word, that you had paid for my sins with your shed blood.
Therefore, I haven't been trusting in anything else to save me. I simply repented and took you at
Whatever you would tend to cling to in that moment of desperation is the very thing you are actually
trusting. Be honest with yourself, is it Christ, and Him alone, or is it something else?
IF You were to die today, are you 100% SURE
you would go to Heaven? The Bible says
YOU CAN BE SURE (1 John 5:13).
BUT FIRST, you must realize that what keeps
you from going to Heaven are your sins, because:
"...your iniquities [sins] have separated
between you and your God," Isa. 59:2.
In fact, in God's eyes YOU ARE A SINNER: "For
all have sinned, and come short
of the glory of God;" Rom. 3:23.
And Jesus, referring to sinners, said that He:
"shall send forth his angels, and they shall
gather out of his kingdom all things that offend,
and them which do iniquity [sinners];
And shall cast them into
a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing
and gnashing of teeth." Mat. 13:41-42
SECONDLY, you must realize that there is
NOTHING you can do to save yourself and earn
Heaven: "For by grace are ye saved through
faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the
gift of God: Not of works, lest any man
should boast." Eph. 2:8-9 Baptism, good deeds,
church membership, self-righteousness are all
examples of good works that cannot save you,
because: "Not by works of
righteousness which we have done, but
according to his mercy he [Christ] saved
us," Titus 3:5.
THE ONLY WAY you can get saved
is through Jesus Christ. He said: "I am the
way, the truth, and the life: no man
cometh unto the Father, but by me."
(John 14:6) THAT'S WHY: "...while we were
yet sinners, Christ died for us."
(Rom. 5:8-9) THEREFORE: You must REPENT
(change your mind); admit that you are a Hell
deserving sinner and can't save yourself. And
call upon Christ, and Him alone, to save you.
"if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord
Jesus [REPENT], and shalt believe in thine
heart [TRUST] that God hath raised him
from the dead, thou shalt be saved." Rom. 10:9
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[Christian Helps Ministry (USA)] [Christian Home Bible Course]