Churches of Christ in America have for several generations now used as a teaching tool a technique to help us remember all that the New Testament teaches about what God requires of us to receive the salvation He offers by His grace. We call this technique “The Five Steps of Salvation,” or “The Plan of Salvation.” These 5 steps are to 1) hear God’s Word (Rom. 10:17); 2) believe in Jesus (John 3:16); 3) repent of sins (Acts 17:30); 4) confess our faith in Jesus (Acts 8:37); and 5) be baptized (Acts 2:38; Mark 16:16).
It is true that one must “hear” God’s Word in order to be saved. Faith is necessary for salvation (John 3:16), and faith comes by hearing the Word of God (Rom. 10:17). Jeremiah wanted desperately for the earth to “hear the word of the Lord” (Jer. 22:29). God spoke of the dangers of becoming “dull of hearing” (Heb. 5:11-14; Matt. 13:13-15) and having “itching ears” (2 Tim. 4:3-4) which are interested in listening to only what we want to hear.
Yet there’s something else we must consider, Christians. We know the New Testament teaches that absolutely everyone will stand before the judgment seat of Christ and be judged (2 Cor. 5:10). We know that ignorance of God and His will is no longer excused because God requires everyone everywhere to repent (Acts 17:30-31). We know that eternal hell waits for those who do not obey the gospel (2 Thess. 1:7-9).
My question is this. We know this. That is, we know that the Bible says this. But do we really believe it?
I ask because we say that the very first step in the “5-step plan of salvation” is that one must “hear the Word” in order to be saved. If anyone is to be saved, that isn’t going to happen without them first “hearing” God’s Word.
And yet…how many of us actually talk to others about God’s Word? How many of the people whom you personally know, Christian, have heard the gospel come out of your mouth, directed at them?
If you are keeping the gospel to yourself, then how exactly are they going to “hear the Word” so that they will start on the road which will lead to them avoiding hell and going to heaven? From whom are they going to “hear” it, if not you? The preacher at your church? He doesn’t know them. You do. Have you invited them to church so you can introduce them to him and work with him to set up a Bible study with them?
What, you haven’t?? Why not? Don’t they first need to “hear the Word” in order to be saved? Don’t you want them to be saved?
Or do you really not believe as much as you claim or think that hell waits for everyone who does not obey the gospel?
And if that is the case, then what does that say about YOUR faith?
Ezekiel 3:17-21 (ESV)
17 “Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel. Whenever you hear a word from my mouth, you shall give them warning from me.
18 If I say to the wicked, ‘You shall surely die,’ and you give him no warning, nor speak to warn the wicked from his wicked way, in order to save his life, that wicked person shall die for his iniquity, but his blood I will require at your hand.
19 But if you warn the wicked, and he does not turn from his wickedness, or from his wicked way, he shall die for his iniquity, but you will have delivered your soul.
20 Again, if a righteous person turns from his righteousness and commits injustice, and I lay a stumbling block before him, he shall die. Because you have not warned him, he shall die for his sin, and his righteous deeds that he has done shall not be remembered, but his blood I will require at your hand.
21 But if you warn the righteous person not to sin, and he does not sin, he shall surely live, because he took warning, and you will have delivered your soul.”