In now over three decades of regular evangelism, my outline of the gospel presents four points, the third of which is either worded, Jesus Paid the Penalty for Sin, or, Jesus Died for You. Either way, I end that point by asking, Do you believe that Jesus died for you? Almost everyone says, yes, to that question. It occurs so often, that I would say everyone says, yes, to that question every time that I ask it. The third point is not where the presentation of the gospel breaks down. Many people without hesitation believe that Jesus died for them.
My question to you reader is, is someone saved who believes that Jesus died for him? A lot of people believe that. Do you think they're saved? To be consistent, many should say, yes. Almost none of the people, who say, Jesus died for me, at that point are saved. If they are saved, they were already saved before I asked them that question.
Do you think anything is missing from what someone needs to believe, if he just believes that Jesus died for him? What more needs to be believed? More does need to be believed.
On the other hand, to be consistent, many churches should perhaps assume that someone is already saved because he does already believe that Jesus died for him. This is more than what some churches expect someone to believe. They ask the person to just reach out and accept the free gift of salvation or eternal life by praying for it. That is less than believing that Jesus died for him.
When someone believes Jesus died for him, he is believing that Jesus is Savior. Is that enough to be saved? Someone will reach that point by the time I get to the third thing he needs to know in our presentation. I never think that is enough. Someone hasn't believed in Jesus Christ, when he merely believes that Jesus died for him.
When I present the gospel, I explain why the person needed Jesus to die for him. I explain that I would die for him, but that wouldn't be good enough. I'm a sinner. At that point, I explain the Trinity, that Jesus is God, and that Jesus was sinless. He could die a substitutionary death. I most often also explain that Jesus shed His blood for him. I explain what the blood of Jesus Christ did, does, and means to him. I explain all of that, and when he believes that, I still don't believe that is a saved person.
What more does someone need to explain for someone to be saved? Why isn't someone saved after that third point, when I ask, do you believe Jesus died for you? He says, yes. Everyone says, yes. When I explain it, he saying, yes, to Jesus as God, Jesus as sinless, Jesus as having shed His blood, and Jesus shed blood as washing away sin? When he says, yes, why wouldn't he be saved yet? What's missing?