Pastors and believers who are too lazy to explain God’s word is a recipe for a generation of believers that do not know God and fail to deliver the difference between the gospel and salvation. You see these two are being used interchangeably but these are not interchangeable they just go hand in hand.
The gospel is the good news of Jesus Christ. That while we were still sinners He came and died on the cross for us so that we may have eternal life. The most quoted verse for salvation is John 3:16 , “For God so loved the world that He gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
Salvation is the outcome of your faith in believing the gospel. It is the gift received by you or me the sinner, in accepting Jesus sacrifice on the cross. Salvation comes with conviction that leads to repentance. I am not adding anything to the gospel I am simply stating that without repentance you cannot truly be saved. Repentance makes you change your way of living .
We as believers share the story of Zacchaeus the tax collector and the story about the woman caught in adultery to show that Jesus truly came to save the least of these . We all have greed in our heart and the lust for money, like the tax collector. We all have had desires of the flesh at one time or another so we have all been adulterers like the woman . So when we use these two very known characters of the Bible we are appealing to the masses. And so I will share some insight on them as well.
Jesus didn’t just go to the home of Zacchaeus the tax collector to just sit around and talk about nothing, judging from other stories in the Bible I am sure Jesus brought up the sin in the heart of Zacchaeus. I want to add that Jesus has us face our sins so that we may repent. He is not trying to embarrass or belittle us. It is when we face our sin that we are able to overcome it. And now back to the story at hand. I say that Jesus must have brought up the sin in the life of Zacchaeus because we see an answer from him pertaining to whatever Jesus said. In Luke chapter 19 verse 8 we see Zacchaeus say he will give half his possessions to the poor and to those he cheated he will return four times more. To this Jesus answers, “Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” Luke 19:9-10. Did you catch that? He said salvation has come to this house after Zacchaeus repents of the way he has been cheating people.
The other story we always use is the one of the woman caught in adultery. In the book of John chapter 8 when Jesus defends the woman caught in adultery he tells her accusers that “he who is without sin cast the first stone.” One by one the stones begin to fall from their hands because they are all sinners. Maybe not in the same way but sinners still. Jesus is physically saving this woman and also spiritually. After her accusers have left He asks her to stand up and He asked her to go and sin no more. He is asking her to change her way of living after being saved and being granted mercy.
As a believer in this generation I am embarrassed to say that I used to see the gospel and salvation as the same thing. I really thought they were interchangeable words, like many of us do. So friend, begin to know the difference between the gospel(the good news) and salvation.
Keep telling people about Jesus, about the gospel which is the good news that God loves us so much that He gave His one and only son for us to pay for our sins. Tell people how love kept Jesus on the cross, how it was His decision because He wanted us to have a chance at reconciling with the Father. He wanted our sins to be forgiven. Tell them that accepting this truth in their hearts with repentance is called salvation. Jesus is the good news, salvation is what He gives if we are willing to receive it.