We know that saving faith requires the right information plus the right attitude. But exactly how much information do we need? What if you’re not sure about certain doctrines like the Trinity or the end times?
Peter’s first sermon
We don’t have to go far to find the answer to these questions. The Bible makes it clear that we don’t have to be theologians in order to respond to God’s free offer of salvation. In Peter’s first sermon, just after the ascension of Jesus, he focused his simple message on two basic facts:
Acts 2:32,36 “God raised Jesus from the dead, and we are all witnesses of this…. So let everyone in Israel know for certain that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, to be both Lord and Messiah!”
Peter teaches about what Jesus did (died and rose again) and who Jesus is (Lord and Messiah). Then over 3000 people responded to the message and were saved. They had no further doctrinal teaching, and yet they knew enough to become Christians.
Paul’s famous verse
The Apostle Paul later affirmed the simplicity of salvation in his letter to the Romans.
Romans 10:9-10 If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by confessing with your mouth that you are saved.
Sound familiar? Paul refers to the same basics from Peter’s first sermon: what Jesus did (rose from the dead) and who Jesus is (Lord). He gives no other qualifiers for saving faith – aside from making a clear, personal response to this information.
Don’t forget about the attitude
So the right information you need for salvation is pretty simple: know what Jesus did and who Jesus is. Though you’ll learn more as you grow in your faith, you don’t need to know more in order to start in your faith. But don’t forget this: salvation isn’t just about the information you know. It’s also about your attitude toward God. We see that in the people’s response to Peter’s first sermon:
Acts 2:37 Peter’s words pierced their hearts, and they said to him and to the other apostles, “Brothers, what should we do?”
That is the attitude of salvation, an attitude that says, “I want to go your way now, God.” If you’re ready for that now, pray a prayer like this:
“Jesus, I recognize I’m a sinner. I know that you died on the cross and rose from the dead so that I could have life. I’m turning from my sin now, and I’m turning to you in faith. I trust in you alone to forgive my sin and give me new life. Thank you for this free gift. Amen.”
- Watch the video together or invite someone to summarize the topic.
- What is your initial reaction to this video? Do you disagree with any of it? What jumped out at you?
- Read Acts 2. What were some of the main points of Peter’s sermon? How many people came to faith that day? Do you think you know more or less about the Bible than what they knew?
- What are some of the questions you have about the Bible or Christianity? Are they “core” issues or “fringe” issues?
- If you haven’t yet trusted Jesus for your salvation, what is holding you back? Is it a problem of information (struggling to believe the facts about Jesus) or of attitude (struggling to come to God on his terms)? Explain.
- Write a personal action step based on this conversation.