I was reading the Holy Bible today and a truth jumped out at me from Acts 10:30-45 concerning the simplicity of the plan of salvation. I'll share what I learned with you in a moment, but first let me share with you the story of Cornelius. We read in Acts 10:1-2 that Cornelius was a military leader, a centurion over an Italian squad of 100 soldiers. Cornelius was a good man, but lost. Acts 10:2, “A devout man, and one that feared God with all his house, which gave much alms to the people, and prayed to God alway.” This is amazing! Here's an important man in the community, well respected, who fears God, prays, and gives much money to the poor and needy. Yet, Cornelius was not a born-again Christian, on his way to Hell.
My friend, no amount of religious devotion, involvement in your church, sincerity, or personal human effort, can get you to Heaven. There are millions of people burning in Hell this very moment—who spent their lives doing good, helping others, praying, fearing God—yet they failed to do the will of God concerning salvation. What is the will of God? I'm glad you asked. John 6:40, “And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.”
This leads me to the heart of this article that I'm writing. In a vision God appeared to Cornelius and told him to go see the Apostle Peter, so that Peter could witness the Gospel to him. Here is the Biblical account of the matter . . .
Acts 10:30-45, “And Cornelius said, Four days ago I was fasting until this hour; and at the ninth hour I prayed in my house, and, behold, a man stood before me in bright clothing, And said, Cornelius, thy prayer is heard, and thine alms are had in remembrance in the sight of God. Send therefore to Joppa, and call hither Simon, whose surname is Peter; he is lodged in the house of one Simon a tanner by the sea side: who, when he cometh, shall speak unto thee. Immediately therefore I sent to thee; and thou hast well done that thou art come. Now therefore are we all here present before God, to hear all things that are commanded thee of God. Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons: But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him. The word which God sent unto the children of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ: (he is Lord of all:) That word, I say, ye know, which was published throughout all Judaea, and began from Galilee, after the baptism which John preached; How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him. And we are witnesses of all things which he did both in the land of the Jews, and in Jerusalem; whom they slew and hanged on a tree: Him God raised up the third day, and shewed him openly; Not to all the people, but unto witnesses chosen before of God, even to us, who did eat and drink with him after he rose from the dead. And he commanded us to preach unto the people, and to testify that it is he which was ordained of God to be the Judge of quick and dead. To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins. While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word. And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost.”What I want you to notice, and this is my sermon, is the simple plan of salvation that the Apostle Peter gave to Cornelius. Remember, God sent Cornelius to go find Peter, so that he could learn how to be saved and go to Heaven.
Carefully notice that:
- Peter didn't tell Cornelius to follow Jesus.
- Peter didn't tell Cornelius to surrender all to God.
- Peter didn't tell Cornelius to get water baptized.
- Peter didn't tell Cornelius to make Jesus his Lord.
- Peter didn't tell Cornelius to join a church.
- Peter didn't tell Cornelius to get religion.
- Peter didn't tell Cornelius to publicly confess Christ as his Savior.
- Peter didn't tell Cornelius to invite Jesus into his heart.
- Peter didn't tell Cornelius to start a relationship with Jesus.
- Peter didn't tell Cornelius to change his life.
- Peter didn't tell Cornelius to turn away from his sins.
- Peter didn't tell Cornelius to forsake the world.
1st Corinthians 15:1-4, “Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures.” [emphasis added]In Acts 10:30-45 Peter said that anyone who believes on the name of Jesus, Who died on the cross for our sins and raised up the third day, shall receive a pardon for their sins. That was the simple Gospel message, which Cornelius simply and quietly BELIEVED and was immediately saved. Amen!!! Whew, that's good stuff! Peter never told Cornelius to do anything to be saved, he simply preached the Gospel of Christ's death on the cross for our sins, His burial, and bodily resurrection the third day. The very moment that Cornelius believed, he was forever born-again and saved. The hardest part about salvation for people to understand is that you get it by DOING NOTHING!!! You simply REST COMPLETELY in the finished work of Jesus Christ, and then God does the saving... ALL OF IT!!!
Every false religion in the world teaches a whole bunch of things that a person must DO to get to Heaven. But as we just saw for ourselves in the wonderful Scriptures in Acts 10:30-45, Peter simply preached the truth of the Gospel, and Cornelius BELIEVED and was instantly and forever born-again and saved. Salvation is not doing your best, it is having Christ's best put to your account through receiving Him by faith. God will not save anyone who is trying to be saved, He will only save those who are trusting to be saved. Religion is man trying to reach God through human effort, but Christianity is God trying to reach man by the sacrifice of His only begotten Son on the cross. 'HE THAT BELIEVETH IS NOT CONDEMNED!!!' (a precious salvation sermon by Pastor Jack Hyles).
Here are some excellent, doctrinally sound, helpful, Biblical sermons . . .
Dr. Hank Lindstrom (1940-2008):
- How Permanent Is Your Salvation?
- Wrong Repentance - No Salvation
- Why Inviting Jesus Into Your Life Is A False Gospel
- The Plan Of Salvation From The Bible
- Caught Between Grace And Works
- Is Repentance Part Of Salvation?
- Easy Believism
- Must A Christian Live A Changed Life? -Part 1
- Must A Christian Live A Changed Life? -Part 2
I love this passage of Scripture in Acts 10:30-45, because it plainly teaches that salvation is obtained simply by BELIEVING THE GOSPEL OF THE LORD JESUS CHRIST. The Apostle Peter simply told the Good News (Gospel) of Christ crucified on the cross for our sins, buried and risen three days later. When Cornelius believed, he was immediately saved. This is the childlike faith which brings eternal life. The way to be saved is not to DO, but to BELIEVE! That is, make it your own. If you've made what Christ did on the cross, and His resurrection, your personal hope for Heaven, you are saved!
Some time ago an evangelist traveling was singing to himself the song, ”I'm Redeemed.” A fellow passenger, hearing, joined him in the song. After singing, the evangelist put the question to the stranger, ”Have you been redeemed?” ”Yes, praise the Lord,” was the answer. ”May I ask how long ago?” ”Nearly 2,000 years ago.” The astonished evangelist echoed in surprise, ”2,000 years ago?” ”Yes, Sir,” said his fellow passenger, ”but I'm sorry to say it's not much more than a year that I have know it.” So many people for whom Christ died are still unaware that the great redemptive act of our Lord was for them. While He died in behalf of all men, He only died instead of those who by faith have claimed it for themselves.The Bible refers to the Gospel as “THE SIMPLICITY THAT IS IN CHRIST.” 2nd Corinthians 11:3, “But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.” We find further evidence of “THE SIMPLICITY THAT IS IN CHRIST” in Galatians 3:2, “This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit [capital “S,” for Holy Spirit] by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?” When a person is saved, God's Holy Spirit comes to indwell their earthly body permanently (1st Corinthians 3:16-17; Romans 8:9; 1st John 3:24).
Hence, the apostle Paul wrote a letter to the church at Galatia, saying that he only wanted to know ONE THING: How did you become indwelt with the Holy Spirit? That is to say, How did you get saved, by works or faith? The correct answer is “BY THE HEARING OF FAITH”! That is, if you BELIEVE the Gospel when you hear it preached you are saved, end of story! This is exactly what happened to Cornelius and many who were with him—they heard the Gospel being preached, and they gladly received it, believing on the Lord Jesus Christ.
Please don't allow anyone to mislead you into following a false plan of salvation, because you will go to the Lake of Fire (Hell) forever. Nearly every religion today, including many Baptist churches sad to say, are teaching the satanic lie that you cannot be saved unless you forsake sinful behavior and surrender your life to live for Jesus. This heresy is commonly called “Lordship Salvation.” That is a false plan of salvation. That is human effort. That is not what the Bible teaches. As you read for yourself, Peter never asked Cornelius to do anything. That's right, nothing! God doesn't save those who are TRYING to be saved; but rather, those who are TRUSTING to be saved. Salvation is receiving, not achieving. Salvation is a TAKE proposition, not a GIVE proposition!
We are saved by completely resting in Jesus Christ. Hebrews 4:10-11, “For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his. Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.” The Bible is speaking about Jesus, Who is our Sabbath today. In the Old Testament, God had instituted temporary ceremonial laws, which taught the Hebrews spiritual truths. God's command for men to work 6-days a week represents man attempting to merit eternal life through human effort. On the Sabbath Day, which was a ceremonial law, no work was done, which taught that salvation is completely through God's righteousness. Salvation is pictured by men ceasing from their own works, and instead resting in God's righteousness on the Sabbath. The Sabbath was nailed to the cross (Colossians 2:14-16). Today, Jesus is the fulfillment of the Sabbath Day, because Jesus is our Sabbath in Whom we rest for salvation. Amen! This is what Hebrews 4:10-11 is talking about.
The only “work” that we can do to be saved is to run to Jesus as our Savior. We do this by believing that Jesus is who He claimed to be—THE CHRIST! John 20:31, “But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.” Believe the 'Good News' of Christ crucified, buried and risen! John 6:28-29, “Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God? Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.” There is absolutely nothing that we can do to save ourselves, or even help save ourselves. We are all dirty, filthy, sinners, in need of the Savior. Jesus paid our debt of sin. Christ paid a debt that He did not owe, because we owed a debt that we could not pay. Praise God, JESUS PAID IT ALL!!! If you receive the Gospel as full-payment for your sins, you are saved.
This is such a beautiful passage of Scripture in Acts 10:30-45. The Apostle Peter never told Cornelius to do one thing to be saved. Peter never told Cornelius to “turn from your sins” (a popular heresy taught in today's apostate churches and Bible colleges). In fact, Peter never mentioned the word “repent” to Cornelius. You won't find even one mention of the words “repent” or “repentance” in Acts chapter 10. Could the Bible be any clearer that the man who believes has repented? I think not. Peter simply shared the 'Good News' of Christ crucified, buried and risen the third day! Cornelius believed that 'Good News' and was immediately, irrevocably and forever saved. It's that simple to receive God's free gift of eternal life.
For many of you, this truth has no doubt opened your eyes to the level of demonic doctrinal corruption in today's ecumenical churches. Anytime you hear a preacher saying that you must DO SOMETHING to receive God's free gift of eternal life, they are preaching another gospel. Anyone who errantly says you must “repent of your sin” (e.g., Dr. Sam Horn, Pastor Marty Herron, Dr. Steve Pettit, Bob Jones University, Moody Bible Institute, Pastor John MacArthur) is preaching a doctrine of devils. The price has already been paid on Calvary's cross! Jesus shed His precious blood to pay your debt of sin and mine (1st Peter 1:18-19). The price has been paid in full.
You don't have to “count the cost” to be saved (as Evangelist Billy Graham errantly preaches), because the price has already been paid in full. The only thing you need to do is BELIEVE! Simply receive Christ's sacrifice on the cross as payment for your sins, believing that He was buried, and after 72 hours physically resurrected from the dead (1st Corinthians 15:1-4). Cornelius didn't do anything to be saved, he just believed the Gospel when he heard it preached. What a beautiful precious Savior Jesus is!!!
“Men are not saved by analyzing the truth of the Gospel. They are saved by accepting the truth of the Gospel. It is true, whether men believe it or not. It is as true as the multiplication table. Men use the multiplication table to do what the multiplication table is supposed to do. The Gospel will do what it is supposed to do. 'It is the power of God unto salvation unto every one that believeth.'” —Dr. Bob Jones Sr., “Comments On Here And Hereafter,” chapter: Preaching, Evangelism, page 123; Bob Jones University Press, Inc., © 1942