Celebrating the 25th anniversary of this gospel tract that has been read by thousands around the world.
The Lord gave me the mind to write this tract when I was a young evangelist nearly 25 years ago. From the time the Lord saved me out of religious church tradition, I had a burden for “my kindred according to the flesh” because I felt that many of them were religious and lost just like I was — in church every Sunday, but on my way to hell. See, I came out of a very religious church background, from both the Baptist and Pentecostal/Holiness traditions.
My dad was a Baptist preacher and my mother who is still living is a Pentecostal preacher. Eventually, my mother won my father over to the Pentecostal/Holiness side later in his life. So ever since I was truly born again on Dec 19, 1979, I have had a burden to share with the black community and whosoever will what salvation is and what it is not. Even to this day, we have many black people, many white folks, and other races as well, who still believe they must somehow work their way to Heaven. And that is simply not the case, because as the prince of preachers, Spurgeon said, “it is all of grace.” Since this is Black History Month, I have decided to share with you what salvation is and what it is not in ON “BEING SAVED” IN BLACK AMERICA II.
While growing up in a very religious and church-going family, I often heard the phrase “Being Saved.” Now to me and my peers, “Being Saved” was a rather spooky and mystical thing, and only the real holy folk could be such — whatever it was. I was under the impression that anyone who went up and took the chair after the preacher said, “The do-o-o-rs of the church are open,” was saved. And then, if a person got baptized he got a little more saved. And then, if they really got a dose of this “Being Saved” stuff, they would follow a set of rules like not drinking and smoking. These really saved folk would also engage in shouting and/or speaking in some unknown tongue on Sunday mornings. Now if a person was considered a hard case, he would have to be put on the mourner’s bench until he saw a vision or felt some kind of a change. Then, he was considered saved.
Even though I was raised in this religious environment, I was still rather doubtful about this thing called “Being Saved.” I just could not buy what people said “Being Saved” was. I always had questions in my mind about this matter such as: Saved from what? Saved to what? Was a person saved to live a sinless life? Could a person ever lose this “savedness”? If so, how and at what point? It wasn’t until I was a grown man and in the Air Force that these questions, along with a host of others were answered. I finally found out what it really meant to be saved according to the Holy Scriptures. Allow me to share with you what “Being Saved” really means. But first, let me share with you what it does not mean…
WHAT “BEING SAVED” DOES NOT MEAN
I am a firm believer that before a person can fully grasp and appreciate truth, error must be exposed for what it is: error. Here are some things many believe “Being Saved” is, but is not:
1. Having your name on a church roll does not mean that you are saved. A person may be a good standing and long standing member of a very fine church. He may attend that church faithfully. But if he hasn’t been saved, he will go to Hell with the vilest of sinners. For the Bible states in Ephesians 2:8-9: “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.”
2. Being baptized will not save you. There are many baptized people in Hell. I was baptized at the age of twelve, but I didn’t get saved until I was nineteen. Baptism is a very important aspect of the Christian’s life, but one should only get baptized after one has been saved. This is to testify to others that you are identifying with Jesus Christ and His death, burial and resurrection. The penitent thief on the cross was saved, but he never got baptized before he died. The Apostle Paul told some Corinthian believers this in I Corinthians 1:17: “For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel. Not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect.” Brother Paul would not have made that statement if baptism was necessary for “Being Saved.”
3. Being able to speak in an unknown tongue does not prove that one is saved. Speaking in tongues is not evidence of being saved. In I Corinthians chapter 12, Paul asked some rhetorical questions regarding the gifts of the Spirit that demanded some very obvious answers: “Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Are all workers of miracles? Have all the gifts of healing? Do all speak with tongues? Do all interpret?” The obvious answer to these questions is an emphatic NO! If everyone does not have the gift of tongues, it stands to reason that tongues are not necessary to be saved.
4. Trying to keep the law, much religious activity, and keeping the Golden Rule will not save you. One can’t keep the law because all have broken the law at some point in their lives. For the Bible states in Romans 3:23: “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” One may be a preacher, a deacon, an usher and still not be saved. One could shout, dance, sing in the choir, work on every auxiliary in the church and still die and go to Hell. Why? Because religious activity, no matter how much, no matter how sincere, does not save a soul. For the Bible says in Titus 3:5: “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost.”
5. Seeing a vision or feeling a change at some time in your life is not a basis for “Being Saved”. True salvation is not based on sight or emotions, but rather on the eternal, infallible Word of God: the Bible. Now the Holy Scriptures state in the book of II Corinthians and Hebrews respectively that”We walk by faith and not by sight…” and “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”
6. To be born into a religious family does not assure that you are saved. Just because your grandparents and parents are saved or religious does not mean that you are automatically saved yourself. It is a fearful truth that every man will have to stand before the Judge of the universe for himself. Psalm 49:7 states: “None of them can by any means redeem his brother, nor give to God a ransom for him…”
In short, none of the above are ways of “Being Saved.” There is only one way of being saved. Allow me to share it with you now.
WHAT “BEING SAVED” REALLY MEANS
Error being exposed, truth can glisten like a beautiful diamond on the backdrop of black velvet. In order for one to be truly saved, one must first:
1. Recognize the fact that he needs to be saved. Or realize that he is a sinner and totally unable to save himself. Let’s face a cold, hard fact. We all have sinned. We all have done something wrong in our lifetime. Everyone born into this world since Adam, with the exception of Jesus Christ, has transgressed the Word of God. The Bible states in Ecclesiastes 7:20: “There is not a just man upon earth that doeth good and sinneth not.” And the Bible also says in Romans 3:23: “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.”
2. Second, one must realize the fact that there is a horrible punishment for those not saved. That penalty, that punishment, is a place called Hell. Hell is as real as the house you live in, the clothes you wear, the water you drink. Now, whether you believe that there is a Hell or not, it really doesn’t matter because your unbelief will not change the fact that there is a Hell. For the Bible says, “Let God be true and every man a liar.” If you would investigate the Holy Scriptures, you would find a myriad of verses regarding that awful place. For example, King David said in Psalm 9:17:”The wicked shall be turned into hell and all nations that forget God.”Jesus Christ said in Matthew 5:22b: “…Whosoever shall say thou fool shall be in danger of hell fire.” He also stated in Matthew 25:41: “Then shall he say unto them on the left hand, depart from me ye cursed into everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels.” So, friend of mine, there is a very severe punishment for the unsaved and their sins. And that is a place called HELL.
3. The third thing that we must recognize is that God loves us very, very much. God is “not willing that any should perish” (II Peter 3:9). God loves us so much that He gave His only Son. As the Bible states: “…God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). Someone once said, “That if anybody ought to want to go to Heaven, it ought to be black folk with all the trouble we’ve seen.” So if it is our desire to bypass that awful place called Hell (and it should be), we need to realize that God loves us more than we love ourselves. And He has made a way for us to escape. And that is by simply believing in the person and accomplished work of Jesus Christ, plus nothing, minus nothing. Now the way for us to apply this to our own lives is to be willing to repent (that is to change our minds about sin), and do as Romans 10: 9-13 says: to simply believe with your heart that Jesus Christ died, was buried and rose again for your sins, and then call upon the Lord in prayer and ask Him to save your soul. And believe me, He will. Romans 10: 9-13: “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe 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.”
If you are willing to trust Christ as your Saviour, please pray with me the following prayer: Heavenly Father, I realize that I am a sinner. For Jesus Christ sake, please forgive me of my sins. I now believe with all of my heart that Jesus Christ died, was buried, and rose again. Lord Jesus, please come into my heart and save my soul and change my life. Amen.
Congratulations on doing the most important thing in life and that is accepting Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour!
Remember, friend, Believe by faith. Share the faith. and Keep the faith!