Have you ever wondered any of the following?
"What must I do to be saved?"
"What do I have to do to go to heaven?"
"What steps must I take to become a Christian?"
According to the Bible, the answer to these questions contains some bad news and some good news.
The bad news is, you can never do enough or be good enough to earn your salvation. No amount of religious practice can make you deserving of heaven. Why? Because ALL of us are sinners, unfit to dwell in the presence of a perfect, pure and holy God. The Bible says,
"For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23).
We were born under the power of sin's control, and all of us have at times failed to do what we know in our hearts is the right thing. That's bad news - because there is a price, or a penalty that must be paid for our sin. The Bible says,
"For the wages of sin is death" (Romans 6:23a).
The wages of sin - what we deserve - is death. We all face physical death, which is a result of sin. But a worse death is spiritual death that alienates us from God for all of eternity. The Bible plainly teaches that there is a place called Hell where people who are not saved while on earth will be in torment forever. Now THAT'S bad news!
But THANK GOD, there is some GOOD NEWS!
The same verse in the Bible that says, "For the wages of sin is death," goes on to say,
"... but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Romans 6:23b).
Salvation is a gift! You don't deserve it, and you could never earn it, but God offers it to you as a gift. The penalty for your sins (death) was paid for you by Jesus when He went to the cross and died in your place - not because you deserve it, but simply because He loves you so much. The Bible says,
"But God demonstrates his love for us in this: while we were still sinners, Christ died for us" (Romans 5:8).
That's GOOD NEWS! That means the only thing standing between you and heaven is your willingness to begin a RELATIONSHIP with the one who died for you. You see, Christianity is not about the practice of religion; it is about the presence of a relationship - a relationship with Jesus Christ as Lord. The Bible tells us clearly how to begin that relationship.
First, admit you are a sinner. The Bible says,
"As it is written: 'There is no one righteous, not even one'" (Romans 3:10).
Second, understand that you deserve death (eternal separation from God) for your sin. The Bible says,
"Therefore, just a s sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin,
and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned" (Romans 5:12).
Next, the Bible says to openly admit your belief in Jesus and your desire to make Him your
Savior and the leader of your life. The Bible says,
"That if you confess with your mouth, 'Jesus is Lord,' and believe in your heart that
God raised you from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe
and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved." (Romans 10:9-10).
But simply believing in Jesus will not result in a relationship with Jesus, for the Bible says that even the demons believe, and tremble. Therefore, beginning a relationship with Jesus as Lord will also require you to turn away from your old way of living, and to begin a new way of living, with Christ in control of your life. The Bible calls this changing of your life's direction, "repentance." In Acts some people asked the Apostle Peter how to receive God's salvation, and Peter answered the question this way:
"Repent, and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ
so that your sins may be forgiven. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit" (Acts 2:38).
Notice that along with repentance, Peter also instructed them to be baptized. Baptism means to immerse under water. It is an outward demonstration of what God does inwardly to your heart. When you surrender your life to Christ, you are putting to death your old sinful nature, and your record is wiped clean as all your sins are washed away. You then begin a new life, living for Jesus instead of for self. The sin that used to be in your heart is replaced by God's presence (the Holy Spirit). Going under the water is a clear outward expression of burying the old sinful nature. Rising out of the watery grave, just as Jesus arose from the tomb, demonstrates the new and eternal life you now enjoy because of God's amazing grace. Once you begin a relationship with Jesus, your life will never be the same. You will do "good works" and obey His teachings as found in Scripture, not because you HAVE to in order to merit salvation, but because you WANT to, out of love, appreciation, and devotion to your Creator and Savior. The Bible says,
"Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. Do not offer the parts of your body to sin, as instruments of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God, as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer the parts of your body to him as instruments of righteousness. For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace" (Romans 6:12-14).
You will never follow the teachings and commands of the Bible perfectly, for temptation and evil will continue to entice you. But the more you grow in your love and devotion to Jesus, the more you will grow to be LIKE Jesus. And THAT'S GOOD NEWS!
For more information on becoming a Christian, please contact us right away!