Introduction: In our last two lessons we discussed the power of the
Holy Spirit, grace and salvation. That logically leads to our study
this week. What would you answer if someone asked: “How can I be
saved?” Many years ago, a fellow in my Sabbath School class asked me
whether he was saved. I told him I was sure that he was saved because
he knew the gospel, he understood grace. However, I as I reviewed our
conversation later, it occurred to me that with my focus on grace, I
had not suggested that he repent of his sins. He unexpectedly died a
little later. Sometimes our conversations are more important than we
realize. Let’s jump into our study of the Bible to be sure we know
what to say when someone asks us, “How can I be saved?”

  1. Guilt

    1. Read John 16:7-8. My best friend when I was growing up no
      longer seems to have any interest in me. I used to see him
      regularly when our travel paths crossed. Because it had
      been decades since he attended church, I would talk to him
      about his salvation when I would see him. He used to say,
      “I’ve spent years in therapy to get over guilt.” I would
      respond, “Guilt is good” – meaning that he should pay
      attention to his conscience. My wife says that it is my
      fault that we are no longer friends. What do you think, is
      it the work of the Holy Spirit alone to help us recognize
      our need to repent, or should we be helping?

      1. How are you convicted of your sin? Is it because of
        the words of others, or the Holy Spirit speaking to
        you? (I am mostly convicted of sin when I am studying
        the Bible. But, the words of others also help me to
        see things more clearly. I believe the Holy Spirit
        speaks through the Bible and others. However, I know
        that no one likes to be criticized. My friend and I
        used to be very open and frank with each other, but I
        think my wife is right that I pressed too hard.)

      2. If you are worried about the salvation of friends,
        co-workers, family or neighbors, what should you do?
        (The most fundamental rule of Christianity is love
        ( Matthew 22:37-40). I think that we need to love
        those who are not serious about God, and pray that
        the Holy Spirit will convict them of their need for

    2. Read 1 John 1:8. What is the problem with this person?
      (This person is self-deceived.)

      1. Is this common? (Read Romans 3:10-12 and Jeremiah
        17:9. We all want to deceive ourselves about our sin
        problem, including you and me.)

      2. What does this problem suggest about us and
        recognizing our need to repent? (We need to give our
        own hearts a good, long look. Let’s look more closely
        at this in the next section.)

  2. Repentance

    1. Read 1 John 1:9-10. What is necessary for the forgiveness
      of sin? (To recognize it, contrary to our natural
      inclination, and confess it.)

    2. Read Acts 2:37-38. What does Peter tell us to do when we
      are convicted of sin? (To repent and be baptized.)

      1. Notice something very odd. Peter says you will
        receive the Holy Spirit after you repent. How do you
        explain that? We previously learned that the Holy
        Spirit brings repentance. (We know from the Pentecost
        story that the Holy Spirit was already present in
        power. It was the Holy Spirit working with Peter and
        the others who convicted the listeners of their sins.
        Peter is telling them that in the future they can
        have the Holy Spirit as an active agent in leading
        their life and living in them.)

    3. Read Psalms 51:3-4. To whom should we confess our sins?
      (King David says that we only sin against God. Thus, the
      confession is to God.)

    4. Read Leviticus 6:1-5. Notice that this repeats the idea
      that sin is being unfaithful to God. But, what does it
      suggest we should also do? (It says that we need to make
      restitution. There is a personal aspect to sin that
      requires us to try to make things right, to the extent

    5. Read James 5:16. What does this mean? The texts we read in
      Psalms and Leviticus say that we sin only against God,
      does James disagree with this? (This seems to be more like
      a Christian “support group” situation in which we confess
      our failures and pray for each other.)

    6. After reading these texts about repentance, why do you
      think God tells us to repent? Why is repentance directed
      to God? Is there a practical reason for this?

    7. Read John 3:19-20. What reason does this text suggest that
      we would not want to confess our sin to God? (Because we
      love the sin. If we confess the sin, we are saying that we
      should turn away from it. Confession of sin to God is an
      admission that we have a problem – and that is the first
      step to turning away from sin.)

  3. Belief

    1. Read Mark 16:15-16. How important is belief? (It makes the
      difference between life and death.)

    2. What, exactly, is it that we need to believe to be saved?
      (Read Romans 10:9-10. We need to believe that Jesus is our
      Lord, that He died for our sins, and that He was raised to
      eternal life. We need to believe that He did that for us,
      and that if we accept what He has done for us, we have
      died and will be raised in Him to live eternally.)

    3. If Jesus is our substitute, if belief in Him gives us
      salvation, why do we need to repent and confess our sins?
      (I’ve not completely worked this out in my mind, and my
      thoughts at this point are tentative, but I think that it
      has a great deal to do with our decision to turn away from
      sin and turn to God. This is not so much about single sins
      as it is about areas of sin in our life. We give God all
      of our life.)

  4. Salvation Illustration

    1. Read Matthew 22:2-3. Often we learn something more easily
      when it is illustrated with a story. What is this story
      about? (It is an illustration of the Kingdom of Heaven.)

    2. Read Matthew 22:4-6. Why did the invited guests not come
      to this wedding? (They were either indifferent or

      1. Does that describe the world today?

    3. Read Matthew 22:8-10. What kind of people ended up coming?
      (Both good and bad.)

      1. What was most important to these people coming to the
        wedding — which we learned represents the Kingdom of
        Heaven? (That they came. They were not indifferent,
        they were not hostile, they made the decision to

        1. Is that what is really meant by repenting of
          sin? That we decide to come to God?

        2. Did these street people have help in coming?
          (Notice that they were “gathered.” God
          encourages us to be saved.)

    4. Read Matthew 22:11. Where do you think the guests got
      their wedding clothes? (They had been in the streets, they
      must have received them from the King when they came to
      the wedding.)

    5. Read Matthew 22:12. Why was the man “speechless?” (He had
      no excuse. This is further proof that the wedding garment
      was a gift – all he had to do was accept it!)

    6. Read Matthew 22:13-14. After considering this story, what
      do you think God means when He says, “few are chosen?”
      (God cannot mean few are invited. He cannot mean that
      merit is the basis for being chosen because both good and
      bad came. What God must mean is that few chose the free
      gift of the wedding garment. Few accept the free gift of
      Jesus’ righteousness.)

      1. Why do you think that is? (People love sin more than
        they love God.)

  5. Freedom

    1. Read John 8:31-32. What happens after we receive the free
      gift of salvation? (We hold to the teachings of Jesus.)

      1. Why? By obedience do we merit salvation? (No. Our
        robe of righteousness is a free gift. In obedience we
        experience the freedom of a life well lived. We
        experience the freedom of being released from the
        slavery of sin. We experience the freedom of walking
        with God! All of this reflects our decision to love
        God rather than sin.S)

    2. Friend, what will you say when someone asks you how to be
      saved? How about this: Repent of your sins, accept the
      life, death and resurrection of Jesus through baptism,
      accept righteousness as a free gift of God, and then
      experience the freedom of living a life in accord with
      God’s will. If you have not accepted salvation, why not
      accept right now?

  6. Next week: Growing in Christ.