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Salvation – ABC to BRO

If you have been around the American church for very long, you will have learned several tools for communicating salvation to those poor wayward souls who do not yet know Christ.  There is the Roman Road, GOSPEL, and, of course, the ABC’s of salvation to name a few.

I want to take a look at the ABC approach to witnessing for just a moment.  A quick internet search will show that the ABC’s are not as simple as we would be led to believe because the letters are not always assigned the same meaning. I will demonstrate the one that I am most familiar with, here:

  • A – Admit your a sinner.
  • B – Believe in Jesus
  • C – Confess that Jesus is Lord.

Seems simple enough on the surface – maybe too simple.

For instance, in order for someone to admit they are a sinner, they must first Believe that there is a greater authority on what is right or wrong.  Otherwise, how are they to define sin?  Conviction of sin can only come from a true knowledge of God’s character and how out of step from that character we are.  It is my belief, then, that the first letter in this acronym must be “B” for Believe.  That belief is what leads the lost person to be convicted of their sin and seek Repentance.  Which, “R”, is the letter I would use for the second part of the acronym that I  propose.  And finally, repentance/belief are both marked by Obedience and the means that “O” is the final part of my acronym.

Salvation which is another way of saying someone coming to Faith in Christ, brings an important point to this discussion.  Let me define faith as this:

Faith, is in the same moment, both a belief and the response to that belief.

Let me use that definition to walk my acronym:

B – Believe there is a God whose character has demonstrated our need for redemption and that this same God made a way for this redemption through His son, Christ Jesus.

This belief must be acted on by either rejecting His authority or accepting it.  By accepting it, we are called to Repentance.

R – Repentance is agreeing, in love, with God that we are contrary to His will and that we need His forgiveness for redemption.  That belief calls for action on our part to turn away from our own desires and, instead, seek His will in our life.  This requires Obedience. For the new convert, they are to follow in obedience by being baptized and publicly confessing that Christ is Lord.

O – Obedience is believing that God knows best for our lives and has set forth instructions for godly counsel in His Word, the bible.  That belief calls for us to be modeling our lives after His teachings.

With each step, a belief (faith) is followed by action.  I think James, the brother of Christ, would concur with this equation.

I would like to point out that the version of the ABC’s that I have presented here never get around to dealing with repentance.  This along with the problematic issue of admitting sin before belief, makes me wary of using this particular tool in an effective manner.

If I had more time, I would dig into the following verses. 1 Corinthians 13:13, Luke 9:23,  Hebrews 11:1, James 1:27, and 1 Peter 3:15.  Take some time and dig into these verses and see how Faith, Hope, and Love fit together.

  1. November 23, 2009 at 8:44 am

    Tony: good to see you back! I agree with this post. I have always been troubled first by the “easy believism” that seems to be the product of the first approach and others like it but more than the order. Since I am an “adult immersion” type I also have trouble with the baptize (sprinkle) then believe order as well. This is a good post. Glad you are back.

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