Whenever you see the word “must” in the Bible, remember that it is a word of divine necessity. It is not an option or a suggestion; it is not exclusive to some—it is universal to all. Belief or unbelief in its truth does not diminish its reality in any way.
There are three “musts” in the Gospel that will stand the test of time:
- In John 3:7, Jesus said, “You must be born again.”
- In John 3:14, Jesus said, “As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up.”
- In John 4:24, Jesus said, “God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”
All three of these Gospel “musts” are vital elements of the good news. The new birth, the cross, and the worship of God in spirit and truth are non-negotiables. The fact that we must be born again and given a new nature tells us that we can be, if God chooses to give us His divine life by His Spirit through the Gospel. The second “must” emphasizes the utter and absolute necessity of Christ’s work on Calvary’s tree. Without the work of Christ at Calvary, there would be no atonement or forgiveness for our sins, no heaven, and no salvation.
It is the work of Christ on Calvary and the work of the Spirit in our hearts, applying to us the work of Christ’s redemption, that makes it possible for us to worship the Father in spirit and truth.
Here is a fourth “must” that you must deal with. It’s located in Acts 4:12—
“And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.”
In Romans 1:16, the Apostle Paul declares,
“For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God [not that it presents or suggests the power of God] for salvation [without human manipulation or invention] to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.”
Is the Gospel an option for salvation? Absolutely not! Not according Jesus, Paul, or any of the other apostles! It is not an option for the man on Wall Street or the one on skid row. It is not an option for the municipal judge or the prison inmate. What about the man in the dark jungles of the Amazon or in the mountains of Nepal? If any man is to be saved, the Bible declares that Jesus is the one and only Savior, and the Gospel is the good news about Him. (Cf. Rom.2:11-16)