STEPS TO SALVATION
STEP 1: Hear
We must first HEAR the word of God.
Without first hearing the word of God we would never know we were sinners and that the result of our sin is spiritual death.
Please notice what Romans 3:23 says about our condition -
"For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God."
Now consider what Romans 6:23 says -
"For the wages of sin is death..."
Taken together, these two Bible verses tell us we are in trouble. We've sinned, and the penalty of our sin is spiritual death (separation from God). Without hearing we wouldn't know of Jesus' sacrifice for our sins and our need for Him. Notice what the apostle Paul says in Romans 10:17
"So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God."
But hearing about God's Plan is NOT enough!
STEP 2: Believe
We must then BELIEVE what we read in the Bible.
Merely hearing the word of God doesn't save. We must believe what we hear or we are not likely to obey the Bible's commands. In John 8:24 Jesus says -
"...if ye believe not that I am He, ye shall die in your sins."
But belief is not enough! Notice what Jesus said in John 1:12 -
"But as many as received (believed) him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God...."
In other words, belief allows us "to become" children of God but does NOT by itself accomplish the task. In Matthew 7:21 we learn that just declaring our belief is not enough - we must DO what God requires of us -
"Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven."
So, believing is NOT enough!
STEP 3: Repent
We must turn away from sin.
Sin may be attractive, but it is what separates us from God
according to Isaiah 59:2-
"...your iniquities (sins) have separated between you and your God."
Therefore, if we want God's forgiveness, we must be willing to
repent of our sins. Repentance means "turning away from sin." We must do this and make the constant effort to sin no more. In Luke 13:3 Jesus said this about the need for repentance-
"...except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish."
Please notice also what is said in Acts 17:30 -
"And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent."
Are you willing to turn away from sin? To renounce sinful behaviors and thoughts and turn to the Lord? If so, then you are on the road to salvation, but you have not done all the Lord commands.
Repenting of sin is NOT enough!
STEP 4: Confess
We must confess our belief that Jesus is the Son of God.
Those who wish to be saved must confess their faith in Jesus. It was Jesus himself who said in Matthew 10:32-
"Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven."
Later, the apostle Paul said in Romans 10:10-
"For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation."
Finally, notice the Ethiopian eunuch's confession when Philip asked if he believed (Acts 8:37)-
"I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God."
But confessing our belief is NOT enough!
STEP 5: Be Baptized
We must be baptized to wash away our sins.
There is much religious confusion about baptism. Some think baptism isn't necessary, others believe we are saved before we are baptized. Note 3 things the Bible says baptism does -
1. Baptism shows our good conscience to God according to 1 Peter 3:21-
"...baptism doth also now save us - not the putting away of the filth of the flesh - but the answer of a good conscience toward God."
2. Baptism washes away our sins according to Acts 22:16-
"...arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins...."
3. Baptism gives us entry "into" Christ according to Galatians 3:27-
"For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ."
Since Paul says baptism puts us "into" Christ, then before we are baptized we are "outside" of Christ and lost.
BAPTISM & CHRIST'S DEATH
In Romans 6:3-4 the apostle Paul makes this comparison between Christ's death, burial and resurrection, and our water death, burial and resurrection-
"Know ye not, that as many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore, we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life."
Paul compares Christ's death, burial & resurrection to our death, burial & resurrection by baptism. Paul says our "newness" of life starts AFTER baptism, NOT before. Therefore, baptism is essential to start our new life in Christ. For people to say they are saved before baptism is the same as saying that Christ's mission was fulfilled before He was resurrected!
This is exactly what Jesus said in Mark 16:16-
"He that believeth AND is baptized shall be saved...."
Belief and baptism are both works necessary for salvation. But they are not works of merit. In other words, God does not owe us salvation because we have done these works. We are still saved by God's mercy and grace, but He requires we believe and be baptized to wash away our sins (Acts 22:16). God does the washing. God does the work of saving. But we must follow His instructions to believe and be baptized.
THE ARK & BAPTISM
In 1 Peter 3:20-21 the apostle Peter makes this comparison of Noah's salvation in the ark, and our salvation by baptism-
"...God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water. The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now SAVE us."
SOME FINAL WORDS ABOUT BAPTISM
Baptism Is Immersion, Not Pouring or Sprinkling. Some people believe baptism can be accomplished by sprinking or pouring. Baptism, however, is IMMERSION. The Greek word "baptizo" means "to make fully wet, to overwhelm, to immerse." Paul
calls baptism a "burial" in Romans 6:4
-"...we are buried with him by baptism into death."
According to John 3:23 John baptized near Aenon-
"...because there was MUCH water there."
Jesus said in Mark 16:16-
"He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved."
But baptism is NOT all that is required for salvation!
STEP 6: Stay Faithful
We must remain faithful until death.
While baptism puts us into Christ and washes away our sins, we must still be obedient and faithful to God, otherwise, we will lose our souls. The Bible tells us of the reward awaiting those who are faithful in Revelation 2:10 -
"...be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life."
Some people believe that once a person is saved, he cannot be lost. This contradicts what the Bible says in Hebrews 6:4-6 -
"...for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame."
In the above verses, the Hebrew writer is describing those who "fall away." If they never truly believed and were never truly obedient, then they could not fall away! Clearly the writer is speaking about true believers who first had and then abandoned their faith thereby putting Christ to open shame. Finally, Jesus himself warned of following Him and then later abandoning Him when He said in Luke 9:62 -
"...No man, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God."
Only by following God's word will we be assured of our place in His Kingdom.
(Lesson written by Wilson Braden)