It's Not Enough To Believe Jesus Died On the Cross for Your Sins

by David J. Stewart | November 2016

1st Corinthians 15:3-4, “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.”

       One thing I love about God is that He gives us a clear definition of “the Gospel,” by which we are saved if we BELIEVE. There is no need to guess or speculate. The Gospel is the power of God unto salvation. Romans 1:16, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.” To be saved you must BELIEVE. What must you BELIEVE? You must BELIEVE that Jesus is the Christ, Who DIED on the cross for your sins, was BURIED, and three days later He miraculously, and bodily, RESURRECTED from the dead. This is “the Gospel.”

I was watching a water baptism ceremony online after a church service today. I won't mention the church, but it is one of the largest independent Baptist churches in the United States. I noticed something that bothered me. Before they baptize each convert, they ask this question, “Do you believe Jesus Christ died on the cross for your sins?” And that's it! If they answer, “Yes,” then they get dunked in the baptistry tank. I started to wonder why they left off Christ's burial and resurrection. I mean, the Gospel does include Jesus being buried and raised up three days later. If Christ dying on the cross is all that really matters, then let's just baptize people under water and let them drown, because bringing them back up out of the water symbolizes Christ's physical resurrection from the dead.

The significance of Christ's burial is that His death wasn't staged. The disciples didn't fake Christ's death. Jesus was prepared for death by Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathaea. These dear believers took Jesus' body down off the cross, prepared the body for burial, and then placed Him into a new tomb hewn in rock. The tomb was covered with a large stone and then sealed with a Roman mark, soldiers standing guard to ensure that Christ's body was not stolen by His followers. Three days later the tomb was found opened, not to let Christ out, but to show the world that Jesus is risen! This is the Gospel.

I think it is a bad thing to ask people if they believe that Christ died for their sins, but not ask them if they believe Jesus was buried and raised up from the dead. I mean, that is part of the Gospel. Did you know that there are 8,200,000 Jehovah's Witnesses who believe that Jesus died on the cross for their sins, but did not bodily raise from the dead? It is true. JW's believe Christ only raised up in spirit, and not in physical form. Nor do JW's believe that the Holy Spirit is a Person. They deny the Godhead. JW's do not believe that Jesus is the Father. They teach that Jesus and Michael are both angels, and sons of God only in that fashion. So the Baptist church in question could actually baptize a Jehovah's Witness, who denies Christ's physical resurrection, and they'd never know it. It is not enough just to ask a person, “Do you believe Jesus Christ died on the cross for your sins?”

I am not sure, but I think the reason why they ask this question is in response to nationwide criticism of a “1-2-3 prayerism” Gospel that often leads to false conversions. The allegation is that they do this to “boost their numbers” and “brag.” I think that is unjust criticism, for the Bible teaches that 3,000 souls were saved in just ONE DAY on the Day of Pentecost in Acts 2:41. Those 3,000 people were saved simply “by the hearing of faith” (Galatians 3:2). The apostle Peter preached the Gospel, and the crowd gladly received his word and were saved. Then they were water baptized (aka, believer's baptism). Baptism is the public profession of one's salvation, a snapshot if you please. Water baptism symbolizes the Gospel, in which you just placed your faith to be saved.

However, I agree that it is dangerous to lead a person to pray a prayer to be saved. The great risk is that the person may trust in their prayer and not understand the Gospel at all. I've seen it happen. In a radio interview, I heard a singing celebrity publicly profess faith in Christ because, “I prayed the 'Jesus' prayer' when I was a little girl,” She is a contemporary Christian music (CCM) artist, responding to a question about her salvation. She is as lost as a moose! You don't get saved by praying, you get saved by BELIEVING the Gospel with your heart (Romans 10:10). Romans 10:9 specifically mentions Jesus' resurrection. It is important that we include the resurrection, and not just Christ's death on the cross. By the way, I'm not writing this article to criticize anyone, otherwise I'd mention names. I'm simply letting everyone know that Christ's bodily resurrection must be included in the Gospel. Baptism pictures the Gospel. So why just ask a convert if they believe Christ died for their sins? I think it would be prudent to also ask a person if they believe Christ bodily raised up three days later?

I read in a Gospel tract recently, printed by Macedonia Gospel Publications, the statement: “Christ died, that history; Christ died for me, that's salvation.” Now I like that statement. The first time that I read it, an impression was made upon my heart, because this statement discerns between mere intellectual assent verses personally placing one's trust in what Christ has done to pay for our sins. Albeit, is it enough to believe that Christ died on the cross for one's sins? No, it is not. Is it enough to believe that Christ died, without being crucified on the cross, enough to be saved? No, it is not. The cross must be included! It is not enough to merely believe that Christ died for one's sins. You must also believe that Jesus was crucified on the cross. You must also believe that He was buried. You must also believe that He raised up physically from the dead three days later. It all must be included to be the Gospel.

Muslims believe that a man named Jesus once lived, and that He died, but they DON'T believe it was Jesus that died on the cross. The Koran teaches that Jesus was kidnapped, and someone else died in the Lord's place. You see, we make A LOT of assumptions when we leave off all these things. The Baptist church in question is assuming that the person they are water baptizing believed in Christ's bodily resurrection. Well then why ask them only about Christ's death for their sins? I'm not saying that they need to confront new converts in a theological interrogation room. The apostles didn't do that in Acts 2:41. In fact, the Bible doesn't mention any questions being asked.

It is clear to me that the Baptist church in question simply wants to make sure that they're not just baptizing people to “boost their numbers”; but rather, to ensure that the person they're about to baptize is saved. Albeit, I think it would be prudent to include the resurrection.” As I mentioned, there are millions of Jehovah's Witnesses, and other false religions, that deny Christ's bodily resurrection. If you don't believe that Jesus raised up physically from the dead, three days after being crucified, dying and being buried, then you are NOT saved. The Gospel is that Christ died on the cross for our sins. He was buried. And then miraculously, the Lord bodily resurrected the third day from the dead, for our justification. If you admit that you're a guilty sinner in God's eyes (Romans 3:19), and place you full trust in the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ, you are saved!!!

1st Corinthians 15:1-6, “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: And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve: After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep.”

“Every word in this Bible is inspired by God almighty!”
—Dr. Jack Hyles (a great quote from the classic sermon, “
A Friend At Midnight.”)

Psalms 116:15, “Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints.”

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(MP3 by Dr. Hyles, “The King James Bible crowd is going to come out on top!”)


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(a quote from Pastor Jack Hyles' classic MP3 sermon, “FORGIVENESS”)

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