We Must Know God to Be Saved
by Duane Leach
In our zeal to bring people into a saving relationship with Jesus Christ we can easily make assumptions based on our knowledge of the truth. It’s easy to use terms and concepts that are simply not understood by unbelievers. Helping them to see exactly what we’re talking about can become secondary to getting them to commit their lives to following Christ.
The gospel message is only good news if men understand why they need it. They must understand why Christ came to the earth and what His death, burial, and resurrection mean. They need to be confronted with their sin and that there are only two choices, life or death. They have to be shown that the gift of salvation that God offers will rescue them from an eternity in Hell, the second death, and grant them eternal life. Many times, they will hear about the gift but not about the Giver.
In John 17:3, Jesus prayed to the Father:
This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.
The starting point to truly understanding the gospel is who God is. Here we have eternal life defined by Jesus Himself. Salvation is not possible without knowing the true God and being given His life. That should be obvious but many who claim to be Christians have no idea who God is. If they don’t know the true God they aren’t really saved.
In Isaiah 45:5a God declares, “I am the LORD, and there is no other; besides Me there is no God.” God has no competition; He has no rivals. All others are false gods and idols, so He is the only One mankind needs to understand.
The most basic truth about God that people need to hear is that He is the sovereign Creator. He is the maker and sustainer of the entire universe. It belongs to Him and He makes the rules. His creation is accountable to Him. Modern man refuses to acknowledge that God brought the universe into existence. Romans 1:19 says men willfully suppress the truth of the general revelation found in creation. This is one of the greatest deceptions of our time, that nothing plus nobody equals everything. At every turn we are told that we just happened, that evolution is the answer and no Creator is needed.
God is also holy. He is separate from the creation He rules. He is not like any of the beings He made and there is nothing in creation with which we can compare Him. The Bible is our only guide to understand who He is and what He requires of us. He is righteous and His standard is perfection. Everyone sins and falls short of that standard (Romans 3:23) and will be judged accordingly. The only way for anyone to be saved is to have that sin dealt with.
Our culture is biblically ignorant and has a false view of God, at best. The idolatrous beliefs of most people have no place for a sovereign, holy Creator. They have no hope of eternal life because they have no knowledge of the true God. Our task is to bring them the truth that unless they know the God who has revealed Himself there can be no eternal life for them.