God's Plan of Salvation
In order to be saved (become a Christian, be “born again”) you must first understand your present condition.
- Romans 3:10 | “As it is written: ‘There is none righteous, no, not one’” — God requires righteousness (the state of being in right standing in God’s eyes), but no one is righteous.
- Romans 3:23 | “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” — There are no exceptions to this – all of us have sinned and come short of God’s standard of righteousness. What is sin? Any action, word, thought, attitude, or desire that is contrary to God’s commands, as well as the failure to act or speak in obedience to God’s commands.
- The Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:1-17) are a good measuring stick to show our sinfulness. Have you ever put anything ahead of God? Taken God’s name in vain (used His name carelessly)? Dishonored your parents? Murdered anyone? (According to 1 John 3:15, hatred toward a brother qualifies as murder.) Committed adultery? (According to Matthew 5:27-28, lusting after someone qualifies as adultery.) Stolen anything? Told a lie? If you answer “yes” to any of these questions, God’s commands have been violated and that makes you a sinner.
Now that you realize your sinful condition, it is essential that you understand there is nothing you can do to correct the situation in your own power. There is no work you can perform, ceremony to partake in, etc., which can fix the problem of sin.
- Isaiah 64:6 | “But we are all like an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags” – God doesn’t think highly of our self-righteous acts.
- James 2:10 | “For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all.” Doing well in some areas doesn’t “make up” for our failures in others.
If you can’t fix the sin problem in your own strength, then is there any hope?
- Romans 5:8 | “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Jesus died to pay the debt for our sins even while we were sinners.
- Romans 6:23 | “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” We deserve death – not just physical death, but eternal separation from God. However, God gives us what we don’t deserve – forgiveness of our sins and the opportunity to be made righteous.
Salvation is provided only through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ – there is no other way.
- John 14:6 | “Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.’”
- Acts 4:12 | “Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”
- Ephesians 2:8-9 | “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.”
- Since we have all sinned, the only one qualified to pay the debt for sin was God Himself. Therefore God came in the flesh as a man – Jesus Christ. As a result, we must go through Jesus to be made right with God.
Salvation doesn’t come automatically. It is a gift that must be accepted.
- John 1:12 | “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name.”
- Romans 10:9 | “that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.”
- Romans 10:13 | “For whoever calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
Do you feel led to receive Jesus Christ as your Savior and Lord? John 6:44 tells us that no one can come to Jesus Christ unless God draws him. No one just decides, “I think I’ll get saved today.” God also wants you to understand the cost of being a follower of Christ. Your love for God must far exceed your love for your family (Luke 14:26). You must completely surrender to the lordship of Christ (Luke 14:33). You must be prepared to suffer persecution from the world (2 Timothy 3:12). The cost of following Christ is great. The cost of not following Christ is eternal torments in the lake of fire (Revelation 20:15).
If you realize your need for forgiveness and salvation, sincerely call on the Lord in prayer. Confess to God that you are a sinner. Call on God to have mercy on you for your sins. Repent of, or turn away from, your sins. Ask God to save you in the name of Jesus. Confess that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that Jesus died for the penalty of your sins and arose to life.
After receiving Christ, commit to reading and studying God’s Word (the Bible) and living according to its instruction. Pray regularly. Follow in water baptism as a symbol of your new birth. (Baptism doesn’t save you; it is a way of professing the salvation that has already occurred.) It is also important to fellowship with other followers of Christ in order to grow in your relationship with Christ.