A-B-C…Easy As 1-2-3???
I was listening to the Jackson 5 one day recently. It wasn’t I’ll Be There or Baby, Give Me One More Chance. No, it was ABC. What happened when I heard it? I immediately thought about the ABC’s of Salvation.
You know the ABC’s of Salvation, right? It’s A for Admit that you’re a sinner. B for Believe that Christ is God’s Son. C for Confess your sins. It’s a neat little formula for salvation. There’s just one problem from my perspective. I don’t see in the Bible what I’ve heard all of my life as the “Plan of Salvation.”
I know that someone just spit out their Diet Mountain Dew. Someone’s head just started spinning around like Linda Blair in the Exorcist. “What do you mean you don’t see the Plan of Salvation? Haven’t you read the Bible?” Yes, as a matter of fact I have. It’s just that I don’t see anyone laying out a neat three, four or twelve step plan for salvation in the Bible.
Did Jesus tell Nicodemus that he had to do the ABC’s to see the kingdom of God? No, he told him he must be born again.
Did Jesus tell the woman at the well that she had to know the ABC’s to drink the Living Water? No, He told her He had living water which if she drunk she would never thirst again.
Did Jesus tell the rich, young ruler that he had to learn the ABC’s to inherit eternal life? No, He told him to go sell everything and follow him.
Did he tell the woman caught in adultery to do the ABC’s and sin no more? No, He told simply to go and sin no more.
Did He tell the disciples to make disciples through the ABC’s? No, He told them to make disciples by going, baptizing and teaching.
Did He tell them that they would witness the ABC’s throughout Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and the rest of the world? No, they would simply be His witnesses.
Did Peter tell everyone in Jerusalem it was as easy as ABC to repent and believe?
Was Paul called to be the apostle to the Gentiles and take the ABC’s to the world?
Did Paul explain the ABC’s to those gathered at Mars Hill?
I say all of this because the ABC’s, I think, has become something of a sacred cow in the denomination I belong to. It’s just that this isn’t how I understand the Bible to describe the Gospel we believe.
Paul says in 1 Corinthians 15:1-11 that this is the Gospel he preached: Christ died for our sins, was buried, was raised on the third day, he appeared to Peter and the twelve, 500 hundred others, James and the apostles and finally to Paul. And it is through belief in this that you are saved.
Yes, that is a bit more detailed than the ABC’s. It’s not a simple formula. And maybe the ABC’s will give some a formula to share the gospel. I just don’t think the gospel is about a formula you share to save people. It’s about what sharing what Jesus did and that it takes belief to be saved.
How about you? Is the Gospel a simple formula for salvation to be shared? Is it as easy as A-B-C? Or is it much more?