God wants you to be saved.
It is comforting to know that the Almighty God of heaven cares for each of us. Yes, He cares about you. God is not indifferent about your salvation. He wants you to be saved. Listen to the words of scripture:
"Who would have all men to be saved, and come to theknowledge of the truth" (1 Timothy 2:4).
"The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some count slackness; but is longsuffering to you-ward, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance" (2 Peter 3:9).
But sin separates us from God (Isaiah 59:1-2). Sin is a transgression-a violation-of God's will (1 John 3:4). It is against the very nature of sinless God (Deut. 32:4; Hab. 1:13; James 1:13). That being the case, God gave His Son as a perfect sacrifice to pay the ransom price and free us from sin (Matthew 20:28; 1 Timothy 2:6).
"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on him should not perish, but have eternal life" (John 3:16).
"For while we were yet weak, in due season Christ died for the ungodly.For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: for peradventure for the good man some one would even dare to die.But God commendeth his own love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.Much more then, being now justified by his blood, shall we be saved from the wrath (of God) through him" (Romans 5:6-9).
"Knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers,but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot" (1 Peter 1:18-19 NKJV).
Because you have sinned, you are due the wages of sin. "For the wages of sin is death; but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Romans 6:23). But through the grace of God, a way of salvation has been opened for mankind. Indeed, God's favor-His grace--is extended to all. "For the grace of God hath appeared, bringing salvation to all men, instructing us, to the intent that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly and righteously and godly in this present world" (Titus 2:11-12). Salvation cannot be earned. It is not of human merit. "For by grace have ye been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God (Ephesians 2:8). So you see, a way of salvation, given to you by your loving Heavenly Father, was made possible through the death of Jesus on the cross. His blood cleanses us from sin.
"Then, all people will be saved, right?" So some might ask.The answer is given by Jesus Himself: "Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat:Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it" (Matthew 7:13-14).
See for yourself then, that most will be eternally lost. Why? Because they chose a broad road instead of the Lord's way. Jesus shows us that there is but one way of salvation-through Him.
"And ye will not come to me, that ye may have life" (John5:40).
"I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins" (John 8:24).
"Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and thelife: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me" (John 14:6).
God wants you to be saved. He has given His Son that you might be saved. It is through Jesus that all saved are saved. Now, what must you do to receive salvation that is available only in Christ? It is important to consider the totality of the Scriptures concerning salvation. Do not wrest scriptures from their context. Here then is the way of salvation-the way to be "in Christ." Remember, forgiveness of sins is found in Christ (Ephesians 1:7).
You must believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. Remember John 8:24? "I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins." Further, the following passages point out that faith (belief) in Jesus Christ is essential in order to be saved.
"He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him" (John 3:36).
"He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; buthe that believeth not shall be damned" (Mark 16:16).
"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life" (John 3:16).
"And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved?And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house" (Acts 16:30-31).
It should be noted that there is more than one type of belief (faith) mentioned in the New Testament. There is the faith that saves (as noted in previous passages) and there is a dead faith. Read on...
"Nevertheless among the chief rulers also many believed on him; but because of the Pharisees they did not confess him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue:For they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God" (John 12:42-43).
"Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar?Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect? And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God.Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent them out another way?For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also" (James 2:19-26).
Please notice in John 12:42-43, that of the chief rulers "many believed on him." But their faith was as dead as the proverbial doornail. It did not prompt them to action. It was not a saving faith. James describes it as a "dead faith." Even the "devils also believe and tremble" (James 2:19). It is the faith that obeys heaven's will that saves! Read Hebrews eleventh chapter and see that faith and obedience action are inseparably tied together. For example... "By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went" (Hebrews 11:8).
Faith is essential to salvation. And remember, it must be a faith that obeys God-not a dead faith. So then, faith is something that you must do in order to be saved. Is salvation a "free gift" of God? Sure it is. And God tells you how to obtain the gift you cannot earn. It must be through faith. The faith that the Bible describes as active and alive.
The multitude on Pentecost asked, "Men and brethren, what must we do?" "Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost" (Acts 2:38). What happened then? Read in the scriptures...
"And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation.Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls" (Acts 2:40-41).
Here the apostle, inspired of God, clearly states that one must repent and be baptized in order to receive remission of sins. Jesus tied faith and baptism together when He said, "He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned" (Mark 16:16). The account of the Ethiopian's conversion in Acts chapter eight should also be considered. "Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus.And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized?And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him.And when they were come up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip, that the eunuch saw him no more: and he went on his way rejoicing" (Acts 8:35-39).
You see that the Ethiopian eunuch confessed Jesus Christ as God's Son. Jesus said, "Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven" (Matthew 10:32). Further, Paul wrote... "That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation" (Romans 10:9-10).
So we have seen that faith-a faith that is active and alive-obeys God's commands. God's commands include repentance (Acts 2:38)-a change of heart which leads to a change of life. They include confessing Jesus Christ as God's Son (Romans 10:9-10). Included here is being baptized for remission (forgiveness) of your sins (Acts 2:38).
"But," someone may object, "isn't baptism a human work of merit?" The answer is simple. Baptism is no more a work of human merit than is faith or repentance or confession. It is an act of faith-an act of humble obedience to God's commands. Man must believe-he must have faith. But faith is not a meritorious work. Man must repent of sins, but repentance is not a meritorious work. You must confess Jesus Christ but confession is not a meritorious work. You must be baptized for remission of your sins, but baptism, too, is the response of faithful obedience-not of trying to merit salvation. Baptism is a work only in the same sense that faith is a work.
"Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God?Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent" (John 6:28-29).
You'll easily see that faith is called by Jesus a "work." It is not of human merit, but the obedient response to God's commands. The same for baptism. By the way, remember when we earlier pointed out that you must be "in Christ" to obtain forgiveness of sins? The apostle tells us exactly how we get "into Christ"...
"For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ" (Galatians 3:26-27).
Baptism is part of God's way of salvation. All together, the Bible teaches that a person must believe, repent, confess, and be baptized in order to be saved.
When you are saved, you are added by the Lord to that church of which you read in your New Testament (Acts 2:47). That church is not a denomination. It did not originate with men-it was built by Christ (Matthew 16:18). It is Christ's body (Ephesians 1:22-23) and there is only one body (Ephesians 4:4).
Can we study with you about your soul's salvation? We stand ready to do that, and we humbly ask you to investigate your religious beliefs and practices in light of the Bible.
Further questions? Email us.