Published on November 19th, 2013 | by Jeff Price0
What Must I Do To Be Saved?
It is an age old question; “What must I do to be saved?” I can remember asking this very question once. And the reply I received was most likely the same one many of you who are reading this had once been given also:
“Pray and ask Jesus to come into your heart!”
So, where in the Bible can we discover evidence for this particular act of salvation? It can be found in same place where raising your hand so that “God sees that hand” or where you can be assured that you can “Just believe in Him and He will save you” – and that would be absolutely nowhere in the bible. Granted, belief is an essential ingredient. It is, however, not the only one necessary. indeed the belief that is spoken of in John 3:16 encompasses much more than a belief that God exists. I believe parachutes exist, but I don’t have a lot of faith in them. And as we will see, faith in God is key to our salvation.
The very reason for the Bible, the very reason for Christ’s life, death and resurrection and the very reason for our own existence is to come to a knowledge of – and relationship with – the Creator Of Creation through salvation. Unfortunately, this truth has become distorted and clouded by both man and Satan to the point that far too many of us are unaware that we are indeed not saved at all.
Salvation, simply put, is the spiritual deliverance from sin and that which results from sin, which is spiritual death. The Bible makes it clear that there is nothing that we can do or say that can bring us salvation because we are by our very nature sinful (Ephesians 2: 3) and when left to our own devices would not seek God (Romans 3:10-11) thus, we would remain slaves to sin. (Romans 6:16). Ephesians 2:8 further emphasizes this point.
Ephesians 2:8 also helps us to understand that God’s grace is not the only ingredient in our salvation. Our faith plays a part, also. Yes, God’s grace will save. But, it will only save those who have faith in Him. So, what is faith?
Hebrews 11:6 says that without faith it is impossible to please God. This poses the question, is faith merely a belief in God, the Savior and their power? No! Even the demons believe in God, as we are told in James 2:19, yet they certainly are not saved. Faith means much more than believing. It means believing to the point to which the believer has a strong desire to take action – action that turns him or her from their sinful ways. But, we must keep in mind that it is not action that saves. It is an action-oriented faith together with God’s grace that saves. It is this same action-oriented faith that is spoken about in James 2:20 when James states that “faith without works is dead.” So, we see that faith alone does not save and neither does belief nor action (works) alone. We are saved by God’s grace and our action-oriented faith. But, we have to be careful here. Many people will tend to confuse the concept of action-oriented faith with empty actions. Empty actions are focused on impressing God or displaying our belief in God to others for prideful reasons when the true focus of our actions should be on one thing – repentance.
Luke 13:3 says, “Unless you repent you will all likewise perish.” This poses yet another question, what is repentance? Faith is manifested in many ways, but for as many ways as there may be to show our faith, they all revolve around repentance. Faith that has prompted a person to action is seen in that person’s demeanor; which includes a new, more moral way of acting, speaking and thinking; in other words – his fruit. The fruit referred to here is the goodness and Godliness that inherently comes from being a truly repentant believer. A truly repentant believer will feel the need to not only turn from what is unacceptable to God, but also to pursue those things that are pleasing to God. This is what Paul is speaking of in Romans 6:3-13 when he mentions the “old man” dying with Christ. The “old man” is us in our sinful, unrepentant sate. When our “old man” dies with Christ, we are letting God put to death – spiritually speaking – the sinful, unrepentant person we are in order to allow us to be reborn as a new person who is both repentant of and saved from sin – walking in the newness of life mentioned in Romans 6:4. So then, every true Christian is a new person; not a person who no longer sins, but a new person who is no longer a slave to sin. Paul says later in Romans 6:18 that once we are set free from sin, we become slaves once again. But this time we become slaves of righteousness. Therefore, we as truly saved believers should now feel as strongly bound to righteousness as we once felt to sin. And because this new man is a new creation – 2Corinthians 5:17 – he is to be renewed in mind – Romans 12:2, Ephesians 4:23, Colossians 3:10 – and conduct – Titus 3:5-8, Ephesians 4:22, Colossians 3:10-12 – striving to walk in perfection – Hebrews 6:1.
So, then, that leaves us with the topic of baptism. One can not speak on the topic of salvation without addressing the issue of baptism. Many of our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ will insist that baptism is a fundamental element of salvation and will point to several Bible verses, such as John 3:3-5, 1 Peter 3:21 and Acts 2:38, that would seem to bolster their assertion. Indeed, baptism is an act of obedience toward God. We are commanded as Christians to baptize and to be baptized. Yet, while baptism is inarguably an essential element in one’s Christian life, it is not an essential element of one’s salvation. The whys and wherefores of this fact are wide and varied and are a study in and of its self. However, for the sake of brevity and staying true to topic, we will conclude the topic of baptism here.
In concludsion, there is nothing that we can do to merit salvation. The only way we can show our faith in God is if we are willing to accept and obey what He says. In fact, Mattew 7:21 tells us, “Not every one that says to me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that does the will of my Father which is in heaven.”
Romans 7:5 tells us that when we were unsaved the passions of sin were working in us, causing us to bear bad fruit – which leads to death. A truly saved person will produce good fruit simply as a result of being spiritually transformed and renewed into the type of person who adheres to the teachings of the One who has transformed him – not in order to be saved, but because he is saved. John 3:16 states that anyone who believes in Christ will receive salvation. Yet the rest of the New Testament tells us what it means to “believe” and how to attain that salvation and what a truly saved person’s life will look like.
Far too many people will profess to be saved simply because they believe there is a God and a Savior that died for our sins. While this is certainly a good starting point in the salvation process, simply raising a hand and/or praying what we are told is a “sinner’s prayer” is simply not enough to save a person’s soul. To become saved, one needs an active faith, a repentant heart, and God’s grace. These are the marks of true spiritual transformation and thus, true salvation. This, my friends, is how you know you are saved!