The Short / Simple Answer
“… ‘Sirs, what must I do to be saved?’ They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved…”
It’s really that simple. You (and I) must believe that God loved us so much that He gave His one and only Son (to die on the cross for our sins) so that whoever believes in Him (Jesus) shall not perish but have eternal life (John 3:16 paraphrased).
It can be summarized in this way:
- Heaven is a free gift that is not earned or deserved.
- Man is a sinner and cannot save himself.
- God is loving and merciful and doesn’t want to punish us. Yet He is also just and therefore must punish sin. See the dilemma?
- Jesus Christ is God who became man. He solved this dilemma by dying on the cross and rising from the dead to pay the penalty for our sins and to purchase a place in heaven for us.
- This free gift can only be received by faith. Faith is NOT mere head knowledge or temporary faith. It is trusting in Jesus Christ alone for eternal life.
Feel free to skip the next section entitled “The Longer Answer” if you like. However, also feel free to read it for a more in-depth understanding of God’s plan of salvation.
The Longer Answer
“Therefore no one will be declared righteous in his sight by observing the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of sin. But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.”
The above scripture says that righteousness from God (eternal life) is a free gift that is received through faith (belief) in Jesus Christ. It’s really that simple. The above scripture also states that no one will be declared righteous by observing the law. This means that we do not receive eternal life by doing anything other than believing in Jesus Christ and confessing Him to be our Lord.
“That if you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him 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.”
Here we see that the requirements for receiving the free gift of eternal life are confessing with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believing in your heart that God raised Him from the dead. That’s it. There is no requirement to keep the law (i.e. the Ten Commandments – do not steal, do not commit adultery, etc). However, keeping the Commandments will be a natural outworking of your faith in Jesus.
Likewise, there is no requirement for us to change our behavior before coming to God. He takes us as we are and transforms us over time into the likeness of His son Jesus.
“…he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”
This good work begins when we receive the free gift of eternal life. It continues until the day the Lord Jesus Christ returns for his people.
In addition, there is no prerequisite to do good works in order to receive eternal life. Ephesians 2:8-9 reads:
“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith — and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God — not by works, so that no one can boast.”
Every other religion in the world (other than Christianity) requires that you do good works in order to earn your passage into heaven. The problem with this is how do you know when you’ve done enough? And, how could you ever do enough to deserve to live forever in heaven?
Not only does God allow us to live forever with Him, but He also gives us the many promises that are in His Word – the Bible. Promises such as peace, joy, healing, long life, meeting all our needs, protection, comfort, answering our prayers, deliverance, rest, forgiveness, grace, mercy, love, compassion, hope, success, wisdom, and etc. The list is seemingly endless.
Why would anyone choose not to take advantage of these wonderful promises?
You can receive Christ right now by faith through prayer
(Prayer is talking to God and allowing Him to talk to you)
God knows your heart and is not as concerned with your words as He is with the attitude of your heart. The following is a suggested prayer to be prayed (preferably) out loud:
“Lord Jesus, I need You. I believe that you died on the cross for my sins and that God raised You from the dead on the third day. I open the door of my life and receive You as my Savior and Lord. Thank You for forgiving my sins and giving me eternal life. Take control of the throne of my life. Make me the kind of person You want me to be.”
Does this prayer express the desire of your heart? If it does, I invite you to pray this prayer right now and Christ will come into your life, as He promised.
What do I do next?
Firstly, I would encourage you to visit the following website, http://4laws.com/laws/text/. This website will give you a deeper understanding of the gospel, what it means to be a Christian, and the steps that should be taken next.
Secondly, tell somebody. Remember that one of the two requirements for receiving eternal life is to confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord.’ If you prayed the above prayer out loud then you confessed with your mouth to Jesus that He is your Lord. However, it is also important to confess this with your mouth to another human being. I would suggest that you confess to someone whom you know (or at least suspect) to be a Christian. Otherwise, you may not get a very favorable response, which could be very discouraging to a new Christian. Remember the words of Jesus in John 15:18-21:
“If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. Remember the words I spoke to you: ‘No servant is greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also. They will treat you this way because of my name, for they do not know the One who sent me.”
Being a Christian is not easy. It’s not for the faint of heart. It means going against the grain of this world in which we live. The world hated and persecuted Jesus first. So, it stands to reason, that the world will also hate and persecute Jesus’ followers or disciples.
But be encouraged because the benefits far outweigh the costs. Can we put a price on eternal life? Can we put a price on all of the promises listed above (peace, joy, healing, etc)? Can we put a price on not having to go down to the pit (hell) for eternity where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth (Matt 13:49-50)?