I’m continuing my way through The Power of a Whisper by Bill Hybels. It’s interesting to go from Philip Yancey’s What Good is God, which is a book literally as big as all the world in its scope, to return to the question of living out faith in North America, which is rather mundane by comparison.
While Yancey finds authentication for his faith in seeing firsthand what God is doing in the church worldwide, Hybels finds fulfillment in sharing his faith with the people you and I run into every day. Both books together have made for a great weekend.
My big takeaway today has been Hybels’ concept of memorizing a Salvation verse. This is not a life verse; it’s not a Bible verse for which you’ve taken personal ownership. (Hopefully there are about 66 books’ worth of other verses, too.) No, this is the verse which for you embodies all that Christ has done on our behalf in pardoning our sins and inviting us to enter into His life.
Neither is Hybels suggesting a methodology. This is not advocating that you know the “ABCs of Salvation;” “The Four Spiritual Laws;” or “The Bridge Illustration.” (For more on those, consider this blog post.)
Rather, this is Hybels suggesting that with all the force of scripture, we should be able to verbalize the hope that we have in Christ in a single verse. One verse. And for him, that verse is Titus 3:5 -
He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit. (NASB)
Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost. (KJV)
But when God, our kind and loving Savior God, stepped in, he saved us from all that. It was all his doing; we had nothing to do with it. He gave us a good bath, and we came out of it new people, washed inside and out by the Holy Spirit. (Message)
As an alternative, he sugggests John 1:12 -
Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God (NIV)
But to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God. (NLT)
(And also Romans 10:13, which I know you know.)
Like Hybels, I would encourage you to memorize a salvation verse. Not just John 3:16, but challenge yourself to look for something different that encapsulates the core of the Gospel.
I’ll end with one I found quite some time ago; I Cor 15: 2-4 -
By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain. For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures… (NIV)