There’s wonderful power in God’s Word. The gospel is God’s power unto salvation (Rom. 1:16). It is obvious that the Jew, Muslim, Hindu, and Buddhist reject the gospel altogether. However, it just as true that most denominations do not believe the gospel is the power unto salvation. Some believe the gospel is totally unnecessary to salvation. Their belief is that the Holy Spirit works directly on the heart of a sinner. To quickly surmise, it is all subjective and based on feelings and emotions.
The gospel is not just Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. It includes all of the New Testament. Paul wanted to preach the “gospel” to the saints in Rome (Rom. 1:7, 15). Did he want to tell them about the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus? No. He had other things to teach them; things he termed as the “gospel.” Further, notice that men are saved when they obey “the faith” (Acts 6:7). “The faith” is the gospel and the gospel is the faith. There is one faith, one body of divine truth and it is found exclusively in the New Testament (Eph. 4:5 f; Gal. 1:8, 9).
The gospel saves a man initially as he hears it, believes it, and obeys it. It also keeps him saved as he continues in it. (Jn 8:31) Paul said, “I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received, and in which you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast that word which I preached to you” (1 Cor. 15:1, 2). He also said that we will be presented as holy, blameless, and above reproach “if indeed you continue in the faith, grounded and steadfast, and are not moved away from the hope of the gospel which you heard” (Col. 1:23).
If there ever was a case for salvation by direct divine action, it was the case of Saul of Tarsus. On his way to Damascus the Lord appeared to him (Acts 9). Saul believed and asked the Lord, “’Lord, what do You want me to do?’ Then the Lord said, ‘Arise, and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do’” (Acts 9:6). After spending three days as a penitent, prayerful man, Ananias came to see him (Acts 9:9, 11, 17). Paul later revealed that Ananias said, “And now why are you waiting? Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins” (Acts 22:16). In other words, Saul was not saved by the experience on the road to Damascus as denominational doctrine proclaims. He was not saved directly by the Lord on that day, nor by the prayers he offered for three days. Rather, he had to hear the commands as given by Ananias. When he obeyed, he was saved.
There is power in the Word. It is the power to save a soul, and if we are going to be saved we need to spend time in the Word. If we are going to help save others, we must know the Word. (Mt 11:29) To know the Word is to study God’s Word rightfully. (2 Tim 2:15) Then are we able to become wise unto salvation. (2 Tim 3:15) Then, and only then, are we able to preach the gospel, and save a soul from death. (2 Tim 4:2-5 f; Jam 5:19,20)