Dear Friends and Family,
At first I was going to call this blog post the True Way to Salvation, but I know there are many opinions on what is and isn’t required to actually be saved and spend eternity in Heaven. So instead, I’ll just call these God’s Requirements for the Christian Life, and let the scriptures speak for themselves in regard to salvation and Christianity!
I feel a strong sense of urgency and importance in people reading and understanding these words and scriptures, so I encourage you to read it a couple times or read it and meditate pieces at a time if this is too much to digest in one reading! After all, it took me several days to write it, all glory and thanks to God!
If someone asked you how they can be saved or know Christ, can you really tell them? Could you lead them to Christ? Did you actually go through all of the steps yourself? I have listed four important steps, which I will be posting to my blog in two parts.
STEP ONE: CONFESSION/REPENTANCE OF SINS
Step one is admitting you have sinned and repenting of your sins. This is a step many in outreach skip because they don’t want to preach the ugly stuff…they want to lure people in with words like, accept Jesus into your life and He will give you a new and improved life! He will answer all your prayers!
Many only want to hear the feel good messages and things that make them happy and inspire them. They don’t want to hear the things that make them feel bad or convicted about themselves, and they don’t want to be taught or counseled about what they may be doing wrong, according to the Bible. And when the Christian life isn’t easy and gets hard, many “Christians” fall away. They didn’t count the cost (Luke 14:25-35) and part of that cost right up front is having a repentant attitude. Here is some of what the Bible says about our sinfulness and need to repent:
Romans 3:23: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.
Acts 3:19: Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out…
Acts 2:38: Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
Mark 6:12: They (Jesus’s disciples) went out and preached that people should repent.
Luke 24:47: (Jesus said) and repentance for the forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.
Mark 1:15: Repent and believe the good news!
Acts 26:20: I preached that they should repent and turn to God and demonstrate their repentance by their deeds.
Acts 17:30: …now He commands all people everywhere to repent.
Acts 20:21: I have declared to both Jews and Greeks that they must turn to God in repentance and have faith in our Lord Jesus.
1 John 1:8-10: If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned, we make Him out to be a liar and His word is not in us.
There are more scriptures the tell us to repent before accepting the Lord, but I hope those will suffice to convince you!
STEP TWO: BELIEVING IN AND ACCEPTING JESUS CHRIST AS SAVIOR AND WAY TO ETERNAL LIFE
Another important step that most Christians don’t have a problem with believing, but other religions do, is that Jesus is Savior and we must accept Him as your Lord and Savior in order to be saved for all eternity!
John 3:16 is the most quoted scripture to salvation and is often mistaken for the ONLY step to salvation: For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in him (Jesus) shall not perish but have eternal life.
John 14:6-7: Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really know me, you will know my Father as well. From now on, you do know Him and have seen Him.”
Romans 6:23: For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 4:24-25: but also for us, to whom God will credit righteousness—for us who believe in him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead. He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification.
Acts 20:21 again: I have declared to both Jews and Greeks that they must turn to God in repentance and have faith in our Lord Jesus.
John 17:2-3: For you granted him (Jesus) authority over all people that he might give eternal life to all those you have given him. Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.
Romans 3:22: This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe.
Acts 4:11-12: Jesus is “‘the stone you builders rejected (abused, mocked, and crucified), which has become the cornerstone. ’Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.”
See Isaiah 53 to read a tragic but beautiful and moving prophesy of what Jesus did for YOU and me! PLEASE don’t let it be in vain…
2 Peter 3 is one of the many scriptures that warns and promises Jesus is coming again! Will you be ready?
STEP THREE: BAPTISM BY WATER AND THE HOLY SPIRIT
The next step is that we must be baptized in water and by the Holy Spirit! Being baptized in water symbolizes publicly our repentance and cleansing of our sins. It also symbolizes Jesus’s death by crucifixion and His resurrection. This is another one many people want to skip! Or they may get baptized in water but not by the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is God living inside of us! The Holy Spirit leads us, guides us, comforts us, ministers to us, manifests gifts and fruits of the Spirit through us, and even can intercede on our behalf! If the Holy Spirit is not in us, Christ is not in us, which is clearly stated a couple of the scriptures to follow. The Holy Spirit is not optional in being a Christian because He is part of the Godhead (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; see this site for more about the Godhead).
As I mentioned earlier, people love to quote John 3:16 as the end all and be all of Christianity. However, that’s just PART of what this chapter and what the Word has written about the road to salvation. People too often take on verse out of context and you really MUST look at the surrounding and correlating scriptures! In that same chapter in verses 3-8: Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.” “How can someone be born when they are old?” Nicodemus asked. “Surely they cannot enter a second time into their mother’s womb to be born!” Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.
Acts 2:38 again: Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
Matthew 3:5: People went out to him from Jerusalem and all Judea and the whole region of the Jordan. Confessing their sins, they were baptized by him in the Jordan River.
In Matthew 3:11, John the Baptist said: “I baptize you with water for repentance. But after me comes one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He (Jesus) will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.
Mark 1:4: And so John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.
Matthew 28:19: Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit…
John 14:15-26: “If you love me, keep my commands. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.” Then Judas (not Judas Iscariot) said, “But, Lord, why do you intend to show yourself to us and not to the world?” Jesus replied, “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. Anyone who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me. “All this I have spoken while still with you. But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.
In Acts 1:4-5, Jesus reminds his disciples to wait on receiving the Holy Spirit: Wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.
Acts 8:15-17: They prayed for the new believers there that they might receive the Holy Spirit, because the Holy Spirit had not yet come on any of them; they had simply been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. Then Peter and John placed their hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit.
Acts 19:1-9 speaks of believing and of baptism by water and by the Holy Spirit as three different important steps: While Apollos was at Corinth, Paul took the road through the interior and arrived at Ephesus. There he found some disciples and asked them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” They answered, “No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.” So Paul asked, “Then what baptism did you receive?” “John’s baptism,” they replied. Paul said, “John’s baptism was a baptism of repentance. He told the people to believe in the one coming after him, that is, in Jesus.” On hearing this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. When Paul placed his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they spoke in tongues and prophesied. There were about twelve men in all. Paul entered the synagogue and spoke boldly there for three months, arguing persuasively about the kingdom of God. But some of them became obstinate; they refused to believe and publicly maligned the Way. So Paul left them. He took the disciples with him…
Colossians 2:12 describes the symbolism of the water baptism: having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through your faith in the working of God, who raised him from the dead.
Romans 8:5-17 speaks of living by the flesh versus living by the Spirit. When the Word speaks of flesh, it speaks of our human nature and tendencies for sinfulness and selfishness: Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace. The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. Those who are in the realm of the flesh cannot please God. You, however, are not in the realm of the flesh but are in the realm of the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not belong to Christ. But if Christ is in you, then even though your body is subject to death because of sin, the Spirit gives life because of righteousness. And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you. Therefore, brothers and sisters, we have an obligation—but it is not to the flesh, to live according to it. For if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live. For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.
1 Corinthians 2:10-16: these are the things God has revealed to us by his Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. For who knows a person’s thoughts except their own spirit within them? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. What we have received is not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may understand what God has freely given us. This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, explaining spiritual realities with Spirit-taught words. The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit. The person with the Spirit makes judgments about all things, but such a person is not subject to merely human judgments, for, who has known the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ.
How to receive the Holy Spirit? You must repent, accept and believe in Jesus, be baptized in water, and then you can simply receive the Holy Spirit in faith or ask God to be filled by the Holy Spirit! Don’t believe me? This is what Jesus says in Luke 11:5-13 about asking: Then Jesus said to them, “Suppose you have a friend, and you go to him at midnight and say, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves of bread; a friend of mine on a journey has come to me, and I have no food to offer him.’ And suppose the one inside answers, ‘Don’t bother me. The door is already locked, and my children and I are in bed. I can’t get up and give you anything.’ I tell you, even though he will not get up and give you the bread because of friendship, yet because of your shameless audacity he will surely get up and give you as much as you need. “So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. “Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”
Read 1 Corinthians 12 about the gifts of the spirit, meaning the different gifts given to those who have received the Holy Spirit in order that they may be used of God. Keep in mind that it may take some time in the Word and in the Holy Spirit for these gifts to manifest, and you may have one or many!
I hope you have a blessed day in the Lord! Know that I love you enough to care that you know the truth and are saved!!! Look out for Part 2 and share this post!