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How to be Saved

Wes  —  February 29, 2012

The greatest truth is this, “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners” (1 Timothy 1:15). The Son of God wrapped Himself in human flesh, suffered, bled, and died that man might be reconciled to the Father through Him. He conquered death through His resurrection, and gave man the hope of eternal life. It is truly Good News!

But how does one receive the salvation that is offered in Christ Jesus? There is too much confusion over this all important subject. So, try and forget all you’ve ever heard about how to be saved, and just listen to the Word of God:

1. Sin is the Reason Salvation is Needed – We have all committed sin (Romans 3:23). Sin is literally “missing the mark” that God has set for us. We weren’t born with sins (Ezekiel 18:20), we chose to sin. And the sin we chose to do separated us from God (Isaiah 59:2). The consequences of sin is death (Romans 6:23); it is what each of us deserves. We deserve to die and spend eternity in hell, separated from God. That’s the bad news.

2. Man is Saved by Grace – Man is incapable of saving himself. Since man’s problem is sin, he must be saved from his sin problem. He must be forgiven of his sins. The bottom line is this, you cannot do anything to deserve the forgiveness of sins. You cannot merit your salvation. Ephesians 2:8-9 says that good works don’t earn salvation. You could do a million good things for others and for God, and those good works would never wash away sin. Only the blood of Jesus can wash away sins (Hebrews 9:22). That’s why salvation is by grace. Salvation is something you are given in spite of what you deserve.

3. Man is Saved through Faith – Ephesians 2:8-9 says that man is saved “by grace through faith.” We are told in Hebrews 11:6 that “without faith it is impossible to please [God].” God is spiritual, invisible, and unseen (John 4:24; Colossians 1:15). Therefore, since you cannot see God, faith is defined as being sure and convicted of things you cannot see (Hebrews 11:1). God, and the salvation He offers, is unseen. You must have faith that He is real and salvation is real. Receiving the salvation of God is not a matter of seeing, hearing, smelling, or feeling something. It is received “through faith.”

4. Faith Includes Belief – At the core of faith is a belief that God is who He says He is (Hebrews 11:6). Real faith believes that God is all-powerful, all-knowing, and is present everywhere, because that is what Scripture says about Him. Real faith believes that Jesus is God’s Son, because that is what Scripture says about Him (Acts 8:37). Real faith believes Jesus died, was buried, and was resurrected (1 Corinthians 15:1-4), because that is what Scripture says about Him.

5. Faith Includes Trust – Belief is not the full extent of faith. After all, even the demons believe God is who He says He is (James 2:19). Faith also includes a profound trust in God. In order to receive salvation man must trust that God will do what He says He will do. In the eleventh chapter of Hebrews, multiple examples are given of men and women who were saved from peril when they trusted in God to keep His promises. Man cannot be saved from his sins if he does not trust God to forgive him.

6. Faith Includes Obedience – This is where some misunderstand “faith” and “grace.” Receiving grace through faith does not mean that obedience isn’t necessary. In fact, James says that without obedience, there really is no faith (James 2). As you read through the examples of faith in Hebrews 11, you will find they all obeyed whatever God told them to do in order to be saved. “By faith Noah…in reverent fear constructed an ark” (Hebrews 11:7). Therefore, if man is to receive God’s gift of salvation by faith, he must do whatever he is told to do to receive it.

Here is what God tells man to do to receive salvation:

  • Hear the Gospel – Since man is saved by grace through faith (Ephesians 2:8-9) and faith comes from hearing God’s word (Romans 10:17), the first thing man must do is really listen to the Good News about Jesus Christ!
  • Believe – Believing God, as already discussed is a part of having faith. In fact, it is called a “work” by Jesus (John 6:29). Man must be obedient to God by believing Him.
  • Repent – Sin was the problem that God man into the situation where he need saving. In order to receive grace, man must die to sin (Romans 6:1-7). Repentance is about changing your mind, your heart, and your life from sin and turning fully toward God.
  • Confess – Scripture says that man’s faith in Him must be so great that he is willing to confess that faith, even if it were to cost him his life (Matthew 10:32-33; Acts 8:37; Romans 10:9-10).
  • Be Baptized – Baptism is not something that a Christian does in order to be obedient. Baptism is something a sinner does to become a Christian. We are told that it’s at the moment of baptism a person’s sins are washed away by the blood of Jesus (Romans 6:1-7; Acts 22:16), his sins are forgiven (Acts 2:38), he is clothed with Christ (Galatians 3:26-28), he is saved (1 Peter 3:21), he receives the gift of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38), and he is added to the church (Acts 2:47).

Do not think that if you believe, trust, and obey what God has told you to do that you have some how earned your salvation and forgiveness. Again, man does not earn salvation, he receives it when he trusts and submits to God. Please, I beg you, take the time to search Scripture and see if these things are true (Acts 17:11). I want to leave you with one last verse:

“And now why do you wait? Rise and be baptized and wash away your sins, calling on his name” (Acts 22:16).

I love you and the God who gives salvation loves you,

Wes McAdams

 

 

Romans 10:9-10 Confession with the MouthRomans 10:9-10 says, “because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved” (English Standard Version).

The question before us today is, are these verses to be used (as many have tried to do) as “stand-alone verses” concerning the issue of salvation? When considering this passage should the seeker of truth come to the conclusion that nothing more is required of man than belief and confession? What then shall we do with verses concerning baptism? Does this passage make all of those passages obsolete?

Let us consider some important facts:

1. All of God’s word is truth (John 17:17) and it is all “breathed out” by God (2 Timothy 3:16-17). Therefore, when considering a subject such as salvation we must consider what all of Scripture says about it and not one isolated verse. Consider what these verses also have to say about salvation:

Mark 16:16 (ESV) Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.

Acts 16:31, 33 (ESV) And they said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household”…And he took them the same hour of the night and washed their wounds; and he was baptized at once, he and all his family.

1 Peter 3:21 (ESV) Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ,

What shall we do then? Should we throw out the passages that link salvation and baptism in favor of those which link salvation with belief? Or instead, should we accept them all and see the harmony of God’s word? I believe it is easy to see, when one takes into account the entire New Testament, that baptism is a part of what it means to come to Christ in faith.

2. Verses cannot be removed from their context within a chapter, nor can they be removed from the context within a book. The word “Law” is found over 50 times in the book of Romans, and the subject matter of the book can be summed up by passages such as Romans 3:28 (ESV), “For we hold that one is justified by faith apart from works of the Law.”

The overall context of Romans is saying that man is justified by putting his faith in Christ, not by obedience to the Old Covenant (the Law). One cannot read Romans 10:9-10 thinking that Paul is discussing, in context, whether or not someone should be baptized in order to saved. Paul is talking about whether or not man can be saved without putting his faith in Christ and confessing Christ as Lord.

Furthermore, when those in Romewere reading chapter 10 (not that it was divided into chapters at the time), we must assume that they read chapter 6 first; which says in part, “Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life” (Romans 6:3-4, ESV).

3. We must see the “Big Picture” of the New Testament! The big picture of the New Testament is that salvation is in Christ! One cannot be saved without coming to Christ in faith, trusting in the efficacy of His blood, proudly proclaiming a belief in Him, turning in shame from past sins, and appealing to Him for a clean conscience by being baptized in water (1 Peter 3:21) and having His blood wash away your sins (Acts 22:16).

Every passage of Scripture within the New Testament fits within that “big picture”. Passages dealing with salvation and baptism are not contradictory to those dealing with faith, trust, and belief. And in the same way, passages dealing with faith, trust, and belief are not contradictory to passages about baptism.

I hope this has helped you in your study of this passage. Remember, I love you. God loves you. I pray God blesses you! Have a wonderful day!

In Him,

Wes McAdams

 

Was Naaman cleansed from his leprosy by faith or by his works? “So he went down and dipped himself seven times in the Jordan, according to the word of the man of God, and his flesh was restored like the flesh of a little child, and he was clean” (2 Kings 5:14).

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