That gospel song speaks to the awesome forgiveness we experience as Christians as a result of what Jesus has done for us. And how we all need it! Nothing in my past held against me. I’m washed clean.
Some variety of the sinner’s prayer is often promoted as the critical step in becoming a Christian:
“Dear Jesus, I am sorry for my sins. I believe you are the Son of God, who came and died and rose again for me. Please forgive me of my sins, and come into my heart. Amen.”
Oh Happy Day, indeed!
But that’s not enough. The forgiveness step in salvation, as wonderful as it is, is only one small piece. Jesus, Paul, and other New Testament writers present a much more radical picture of what it means to become a follower of Jesus.
Paul said clearly, “If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” (Rom. 10:9) That’s clear. Believe in your heart. Confess with your mouth. You are saved! Hallelujah!