“And He (The Holy Spirit), when He comes, will convict the world regarding sin, and righteousness and judgment …”
— John 16:7-9

I can’t tell you how many times I heard the Gospel before I finally truly HEARD the Gospel. When it hit me, my life changed in an instant.

All that self confidence went out the window, my sense of safety and security dissolved, and I was left, naked, exposed, and alone before a VERY serious God.

I couldn’t escape the predicament, yet I was still alive, so I figured there must still be hope somewhere, somehow.

C.S. Lewis observed in his book, Mere Christianity:

“It is after you have realized that there is a real moral law, and a power behind the law, and that you have broken that law and put yourself wrong with the power — it is after all this, and not a moment sooner, that Christianity begins to talk.”

I wrote in my book, My Origin, My Destiny, “We’re not talking about a casual chat about a trivial matter. When (the) Titanic was listing and rescue seemed distant, the wiser passengers sprang into action, knowing that time was running out. They didn’t argue about the seemingly extreme action of abandoning ship, nor did they debate the seriousness of their dilemma. They knew something had to be done — and done quickly.

“Likewise, with spiritual salvation, when God begins exercising people about the personal spiritual peril they are in, trivialities go out the window. For most people, this often requires a jolting paradigm shift that dramatically revises their entire outlook about themselves and where they stand with God.

The late theologian John Stott wisely pointed out in The Cross of Christ:

“If we bring God down to our level and raise ourselves up to His, then of course we see no need for a radical salvation, let alone for a radical atonement to secure it. When, on the other hand, we have glimpsed the blinding holiness of the glory of God and have been so convicted of our sin by the Holy Spirit that we tremble before God and acknowledge what we are, namely, ‘hell-deserving sinners,’ then and only then does the necessity of the cross appear so obvious that we are astonished we never saw it before.”

What must I do to be saved?

In a particularly dramatic episode in the Book of Acts, the Apostle Paul and Silas were incarcerated for sharing the Gospel with the people of Philippi.

As written in Acts 16:29-30, angels were sent by God to release them with an earthquake that shook everyone, including the jailor to their core:

“And the jailer asked for lights and rushed in, and trembling with fear, he fell down before Paul and Silas; and after he brought them out, he said, ‘Sirs, what must I do to be saved?’”

In Believer’s Bible Commentary, the late Bible commentator Bill MacDonald wrote:  

“Now a new emotion swept over the jailor. His fears of losing his job and perhaps his life gave way to deep conviction of sin. He was now afraid to meet God in his sins. He cried, ‘Sirs, what must I do to be saved?’ This question must precede every genuine case of conversion. A man must know he is lost before he can be saved. It is premature to tell a man how to be saved until first he can say from his heart, ‘I truly deserve to go to Hell.’”

MacDonald added, “The only people in the New Testament who were ever told to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ were convicted sinners.”

When I finally “got it,” that is, my absolute, eternal lostness, no one had to sell me on my need to be saved — that was more than obvious.

This wasn’t about how I compared with my fellow human beings, it was about how I stood before a blindingly holy God and His divine principles.

I was WAY out of step with Him and in need of divine intervention if there was to be any hope at all for me. That’s when the Gospel came crashing into my consciousness like a tornado ripping a house from its foundations.

How About You?

Have you ever “gotten it” about where you stand with God? Have you ever been convinced of the peril you are in, if you were to die today? Have you ever taken the time to interrupt your busy life and just concentrate on the condition of your eternal soul?

“For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it. For what does it benefit a person to gain the whole world, and forfeit his soul? For what could a person give in exchange for his soul?”
Mark 8:35-37

D.C. Collier is a Bible teacher, discipleship mentor and writer focused on Christian apologetics. A mechanical engineer and internet entrepreneur, he is the author of My Origin, My Destiny, a book focused on Christianity’s basic “value proposition.” Click here for more information, or contact him at don@peervalue.com. The opinions expressed are his own.