During this unprecedented global pandemic, many people are asking “is the world coming to an end?” And with that comes the question of salvation: “Am I right with God?” To answer that question, may I share the simplest, most basic invitation to salvation found in the Bible: “…if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the Scripture says, ‘Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.’ For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him. For ‘whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved’.” [Romans 10: 9-13]
Salvation is free, salvation is freedom – it’s that simple; not complicated. Just come as you are to accept the invitation.
If you are sincere, other things like obedience, fear [reverence] of God and repentance [changing your direction and doing that which is well-pleasing in God’s sight] will come. The Spirit will give you the desire to do and be like Jesus!
What makes it complicated is when people say things that become stumbling blocks toward salvation. For instance, I recently listened to a preacher who had a good message, but at the end, extended an invitation to salvation with this addendum to the scripture in Romans: “…and speak in tongues as evidence that you received the Holy Ghost.” Now if you were sitting on a pew and the Spirit was prompting you to accept the invitation, wouldn’t you give pause to that condition? Of course you would; this would all be new to you!
You most likely would not know the difference between God’s invitation to salvation, and the gifts of the spirit. Let’s not be confused.
1 Corinthians 12: 4-11 reads: “There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are differences of ministries, but the same Lord.
And there are diversities of activities, but it is the same God who works all in all. But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all: for to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, to another the word of knowledge through the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healings by the same Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another discerning of spirits, to another different kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills.”
People who believe that speaking in tongues is evidence of salvation, base it upon scripture in Romans 2:1-4. It was on the day of Pentecost (Feast of Weeks) when the Holy Spirit descended upon the Apostles and other followers of Christ. The Apostles were not speaking in an unknown tongue, but rather, were speaking in languages representative of all the Jews from every nation who had gathered there in Jerusalem. It was nothing short of a miracle, but it was not to be mistaken as evidence of salvation. If that were the case, then there are a lot of Christians hell bound because the gift of tongues has not manifested in them. Please read and search the scriptures for yourself, and be not misled by someone else’s misinterpretation.
The Bible means what it says! I love our Pentecost brothers and sisters in Christ, but what does it profit an unbeliever to walk into a church where everyone is speaking a language he or she cannot understand?
Larry Buford is a Los Angeles-based contributing writer. Author of “Things Are Gettin’ Outta Hand” and “Book To The Future” (Amazon). Email: [email protected]