Do you desire to learn how to become a Christian? If so, I encourage you to consider the truths found in this article with extreme urgency. When discussing how to be saved, essentially we are discussing life and death. I can’t emphasize enough, the gravity of this article. I encourage you to read every section thoroughly, but first allow me to ask you a few questions. Do you want a relationship with God? Have you ever thought about where you’re going upon death? What would be your response if you were in front of God and God asked you, “why should I let you into My Kingdom?” Take a moment to ponder this question.
Be honest, would you have an answer? Would your answer be, “I’m a good person, I go to church, I believe in God, you know my heart, I obey the Bible, or I got baptized.” Would you respond to God saying any of these things?
I ask this because your response can reveal your spiritual condition. If you did not have an answer or if you answered in any one of these ways, then this could reveal alarming news. Going to church does not save, nor does being a good person. Only the gospel of Jesus Christ saves. This is what I will attempt to explain in this article. Please consider all of these truths.
The Problem of sin
Let’s find out what is sin? Simply put, sin is any deviation from God’s holy standard. It is missing the mark of His perfection in thought, deed, words, etc. God is holy and perfect. Sin separates us from God. Some people might say, “what’s so bad about sin?” However, this statement reveals that we are looking at it from our sinful finite perspective.
Let’s attempt to look at it from God’s point of view. The holy mighty sovereign eternal God of the universe has created creatures from the dirt who have sinned against Him in a multitude of ways. One impure thought for a second is enough to separate us from a holy God. Be still for a moment, and dwell on the holiness of God. We have to understand how holy God is in comparison to us. Below, we will learn the consequence of sin.
Isaiah 59:2 “But your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden his face from you so that he does not hear.”
Romans 3:23 “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”
Romans 5:12 “Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all people, because all sinned.”
Romans 1:18 “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of people who suppress the truth by their unrighteousness.”
Colossians 3:5-6 “Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. Because of these, the wrath of God is coming.”
Zephaniah 1:14–16 “The great day of the Lord is near— near and coming quickly. The cry on the day of the Lord is bitter; the Mighty Warrior shouts his battle cry. That day will be a day of wrath— a day of distress and anguish, a day of trouble and ruin, a day of darkness and gloom, a day of clouds and blackness— a day of trumpet and battle cry against the fortified cities and against the corner towers.”
The consequence of sin
Eternal separation from God in hell is the consequence for sinning against a holy God. Those who end up in hell will undergo God’s unrelenting wrath and hatred for sin for eternity. Heaven is far more glorious than we can imagine and hell is far more horrific than we can envision.
Jesus spoke more on hell than any other person in the Bible. Being God in flesh He knew the severity of hell. He knows the horror that awaits those who end up in hell. In fact, He rules over hell as Revelation 14:10 teaches us. The consequence of sin is death and eternal damnation. However, the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ. Jesus came to save you from this dreadful place and to have a relationship with you.
Luke 16:24-28 “So he called to him, ‘Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire.’ “But Abraham replied, ‘Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, while Lazarus received bad things, but now he is comforted here and you are in agony. And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been set in place, so that those who want to go from here to you cannot, nor can anyone cross over from there to us.’ “He answered, ‘Then I beg you, father, send Lazarus to my family, for I have five brothers. Let him warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.”
Matthew 13:50 “throwing the wicked into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”
Matthew 18:8 “So if your hand or foot causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It’s better to enter eternal life with only one hand or one foot than to be thrown into eternal fire with both of your hands and feet.”
Matthew 18:9 “And if your eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. It’s better to enter eternal life with only one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into the fire of hell.”
Revelation 14:10 “they, too, will drink the wine of God’s fury, which has been poured full strength into the cup of his wrath. They will be tormented with burning sulfur in the presence of the holy angels and of the Lamb.”
Revelation 21:8 “But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars—they will be consigned to the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.”
2 Thessalonians 1:9 “Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power.”
We are all under the curse of the law
The law is a curse upon all of humanity because we cannot fulfill what the law requires. Disobedience at any point to the law of God will result in the curse of the law. Those who are cursed from the law will undergo the punishment of being accursed. We learn from Scripture that those who hang on a tree are accursed by God. God desires perfection. In fact, He demands perfection. Jesus said, “Be perfect.”
Let’s took a moment to examine our thoughts, actions, and words. Do you fall short? If we’re honest, when we examine ourselves we notice that we are far from perfect. We have all sinned against a holy God. Someone has to take upon the curse of the law. To remove the curse of the law, you have to be subject to the punishment of the curse. There is only one person that can remove the law and that is the Creator of the law. The one who bore that curse had to himself be perfectly obedient.
Jesus took upon the curse that you and I deserve. He had to be innocent to die for the guilty and He had to be God because the Creator of the law is the only one who could remove the law. Jesus became a curse for us. Take a moment to truly take in the weight of that. Jesus became a curse for you! Those who are not saved are still under a curse. Why would anyone want to be under a curse when Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law?
Matthew 5:48 “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.”
Galatians 3:10 “For all who rely on the works of the law are under a curse, as it is written: ‘Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law.”
Deuteronomy 27:26 “Cursed is anyone who does not uphold the words of this law by carrying them out.” Then all the people shall say, “Amen!”
Galatians 3:13-15 “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a pole.” He redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, so that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit.”
The scary truth of the Bible
The scary truth of the Bible is that God is good. What makes this truth scary is that we are not. What is a good God to do with bad people? Humanity is evil. Some may say, “I’m not evil.” To other human beings we consider ourselves good, but how about to a holy God? Compared to a righteous and holy God we are evil. The problem is not only that we are evil and have sinned, but the person who we have sinned against. Consider this. If you punch me in the face, the consequences are not that severe. However, how about if you punch the president in the face? Clearly there will be greater consequences.
The greater the person of who the offense is towards, the greater the punishment. Consider this as well. If God is holy, perfect, and just, then He cannot forgive us. It doesn’t matter the amount of good works that we do. Our sin will always be before Him. It has to be removed. Someone has to pay for it. Don’t you see? We are so far from God because of our sin. How does God justify the wicked without being an abomination to Himself? Let’s learn more about this below.
Proverbs 17:15 “He who justifies the wicked and he who condemns the righteous are both alike an abomination to the LORD.”
Romans 4:5 “However, to the one who does not work but trusts God who justifies the ungodly, their faith is credited as righteousness.”
Genesis 6:5 “When the Lord saw how great the wickedness of human beings was on earth, and how every desire that their heart conceived was always nothing but evil.”
Take a moment to ponder this.
I want you to picture someone killing your entire family with clear video evidence of their crimes. After they do the crime, they go to jail and eventually they are in court for the murders. Can a good, honest, fair judge say, “I’m loving so I’m going to let you go free?” If he did, he would be an evil judge and you would be outraged. You would tell the world about how immoral that judge is.
It doesn’t matter if the murderer said, “for the rest of my life I’ll give, I’ll help everyone, and more.” Nothing can erase the crime that was committed. It will forever be in front of the judge. Ask yourself this, If God is a good judge can He forgive you? The answer is no. He is an honest judge and just like any honest judge He has to sentence you. God set up the legal system and while on earth you will be sentenced to prison for a crime. If your name is not found in the Book of Life you will be sentenced to hell for eternity. However, something happened so you don’t have to be sentenced to hell.
God came down
The only way God could forgive vile people like us was for Him to come down in the flesh. Jesus lived a sinless perfect life. He lived the life that God desires. He lived the life that you and I can’t live. In the process He taught us to pray, fight temptation, help others, turn the other cheek, etc.
Jesus took upon the wrath of God that you and I deserve. He bore your sins on His back and was crushed by His Father because of you and me. Jesus took upon the curse of the Law that you and I rightfully deserve. In His love He has taken our place to reconcile us to a holy God.
Ephesians 1:7-8 “In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace 8 which He lavished on us. In all wisdom and insight.”
He lavishly poured out His grace upon us. While we were still sinners He died for us so that we could be set free. God came down in the form of man and He thought of you. He thought of (Insert name). The gospel of Jesus Christ is so personal. He thought of you specifically. Yes, it’s true that Jesus loves the world.
However, to be more specific and intimate, He loves (Insert name). His immense love for the Father and His immense love for you drove Him to the cross. Presence makes love more real. God came down from heaven and became poor and endured pain, humiliation, and betrayal because He loved you. On the cross He took away your sin, guilt, and shame. Jesus made it possible for you to know God.
Don’t you see? Sin was standing in the way of you having a relationship with a holy God. Jesus made it possible for you to have a relationship with Him by putting that sin on His back and dying for your sins. Now there is nothing that is blocking you from knowing Him.
John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
1 Timothy 1:15 “Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners–of whom I am the worst.”
Luke 19:10 “For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”
Jesus laid down His life
Jesus did not lose His life. Jesus willingly laid down His life. Rarely will you ever find a shepherd that will die for his sheep. However, “the Good Shepherd lays down his life for His sheep.” This Good Shepherd is extraordinary. He is not only extraordinary because He died for His sheep, which is remarkable in and of itself. This Good Shepherd is extraordinary because He intimately knows every sheep.
If Jesus wanted He could have sent angels to either protect Him or kill everyone, but someone had to die. Someone had to satisfy God’s wrath and it was only Jesus who could have done it because He is God and He is the only perfect man to have ever lived. It doesn’t matter if it were 1000 angels, only God could die for the world. Only the precious blood of Christ is sufficient to cover every person’s sin, past, present, and future.
Matthew 26:53 “Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels?”
John 10:18 “No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father.”
John 10:11 “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.”
Philippians 2:5-8 “Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, 6 who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. 8 Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.
Jesus drank your sin and not one drop fell from that cup.
The cup that Jesus drank from represented the judgment of God. Jesus willingly drank the cup of God’s great wrath and laid down His life as a sacrifice for sins. He willingly bore the divine judgment that should have rightly fallen upon humanity. Charles Spurgeon said, “I am never afraid of exaggeration, when I speak of what my Lord endured. All hell was distilled into that cup, of which our God and Savior Jesus Christ was made to drink.”
Matthew 20:22 “You don’t know what you are asking,” Jesus said to them. “Can you drink the cup I am going to drink?” “We can,” they answered.”
Luke 22:42-44 “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him. And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.”
Through Jesus we can know and enjoy God.
Salvation should lead to rejoicing. “All my sins are gone! Jesus died for me! He saved me! I can begin to know Him!” Before the foundation of the world God wanted to have a relationship with us. However, due to the fall sin entered into the world. Jesus eradicated that sin and restored our relationship with God.
Through Christ we can now know and enjoy God. Believers have been given the glorious privilege of being able to spend time with the Lord and cherish His Person. The greatest gift of salvation is not escaping hell. The greatest gift of salvation is Jesus Himself!
Let’s grow in treasuring Jesus and getting to know Him. Let’s grow in our intimacy with the Lord. Praise God that there is no barrier that is prohibiting us from growing in Him. Something I pray often is, “Lord I want to know You.” Let’s satisfy our souls in Christ. As John Piper said, “God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him.”
2 Corinthians 5:21 “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”
2 Corinthians 5:18-19 “All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.”
Romans 5:11 “Not only is this so, but we also boast in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.”
Habakkuk 3:18 “yet I will rejoice in the Lord; I will take joy in the God of my salvation.”
Psalm 32:11 “Be glad in the Lord, and rejoice, O righteous, and shout for joy, all you upright in heart!”
How to be saved?
Christians are saved by faith alone. Ask Christ to forgive your sins, trust Christ for the forgiveness of sins, and believe He has taken away your sins!
“Saving faith is an immediate relation to Christ, accepting, receiving, resting upon Him alone, for justification, sanctification, and eternal life by virtue of God’s grace.” Charles Spurgeon
Christians are not saved by what we do or have done, but we are saved by what Christ has done for us on the cross. God commands all men to repent and believe the gospel.
Ephesians 2:8-9 “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast.”
Mark 1:15 “The time promised by God has come at last!” he announced. “The Kingdom of God is near! Repent of your sins and believe the Good News!”
Mark 6:12 “So the disciples went out, telling everyone they met to repent of their sins and turn to God.”
I encourage you to be still for a moment. Quiet your heart and come to Jesus Christ genuinely. Take a moment right now to confess and ask for forgiveness. Repent and put your trust in the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ on your behalf. He has made you right before the Lord. Below we will talk more about what repentance means!
What is repentance?
Repentance is a beautiful thing. Repentance is a change of mind that leads to a change of direction. Repentance is a change of mind about Christ and about sin that leads to a change of action. Our lifestyle transforms. Repentance is not, I’m going to stop doing this stuff and that’s it. In repentance you’re not left empty-handed. Repentance is, I’m dropping all that is in my hand to grasp a hold of something better. I want to grasp a hold of Christ. In Him I have something far more precious.
Repentance is the result of seeing the beauty of God and His goodness and being so consumed with it that everything that you’re holding onto looks like trash in comparison to Him. The good news of the gospel is that you get to repent of sin without shame because Christ gave His life for you and resurrected. He is the one that says you are covered.
“It would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.” C.S. Lewis
When we are repentant we see sin like we’ve never seen it before. We begin to hate it. We begin to see how it leaves us broken. We see what Christ has done on the cross for us. We change directions from that sin to the direction of Christ. That is biblical repentance.
It may not always be perfect, but the heart will have a new relationship with sin. Sin will begin to bother you and break your heart. The things that didn’t use to bother you before will bother you now.
Acts 3:19 “Now repent of your sins and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped away.”
Luke 3:8 “Prove by the way you live that you have repented of your sins and turned to God. Don’t just say to each other, We’re safe, for we are descendants of Abraham. That means nothing, for I tell you, God can create children of Abraham from these very stones.”
Acts 26:20 “First to those in Damascus, then to those in Jerusalem and in all Judea, and then to the Gentiles, I preached that they should repent and turn to God and demonstrate their repentance by their deeds.”
2 Corinthians 7:10 “Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.”
To repent is to:
- Admit your sinfulness
- Change one’s mind
- A change of attitude towards God’s truth.
- Change of heart
- It is a change of direction and ways.
- Turn from your sins
- Hatred for sin and the things that God hates and a love for the things that God loves.
There is a lot of confusion when discussing repentance. However, allow me to clarify a few things regarding repentance. Repentance is not a work we do to earn salvation. 2 Timothy 2:25 teaches us that it is God who grants us repentance. Repentance is a work of God.
As stated above, Repentance is a change of mind about Christ, which will lead to a lifestyle change. Repentance is not what saves us. Trusting in the perfect work of Christ is what saves us. However, without first having a change of mind (repentance), people will not place their faith in Christ for salvation.
Biblical repentance should lead to a growing hatred for sin. This does not mean that a believer won’t struggle with sin. The statement is true that “no one is perfect.” However, a true repentant heart will not live a continuous lifestyle of sin. Evidence of salvation is that a person will be a new creature with new desires and affections for Christ and His Word. There will be a change in that person’s lifestyle. Paul taught that man is saved by faith apart from works (Romans 3:28). However, this leads to the question, does it matter if a Christian lives a lifestyle of sin and rebellion? Paul gives a response to this question in Romans 6:1-2 “What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin so that grace may increase? 2 May it never be! How shall we who died to sin still live in it?” Believers have died to sin. Paul then goes on to use baptism as an illustration of our spiritual reality.
Romans 6:4 “Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.”
We were buried with Christ and raised from the dead in newness of life. Dwell upon this thought for a second. It’s impossible for a person to be risen from the dead and not have their entire life changed.
A genuine believer will not desire to trample on the grace of God because He has been supernaturally changed by God and has been given new desires. If someone is claiming to be Christian, but sin doesn’t bother them and they boldly proclaim, “I’ll just sin now and repent later, I’m a sinner anyway,” is this evidence of a changed heart or an unregenerate heart (A heart that has not been radically changed by God)? A repentant heart has been so moved by the grace of God, and it has been so captivated by the beauty of the Lord, that it wants to live a life pleasing to Him. Once again, it is not because obedience somehow saves me, but because He has already saved me! Jesus alone is enough to live a life of obedience.
Now that we learned what repentance is, allow me to give you some helpful advice. I encourage you to repent daily. Let’s be professional repenters. Be intimate with the Lord and be specific when asking for forgiveness. Also, I encourage you to consider this.
Is there any sin that is stopping you from trusting in Christ? Is there anything that is holding you back? Is there something that you find more precious than Jesus? Jesus died so that you could be set free from sin. I encourage you to examine yourself and be honest.
Whether it be sexual immorality, pornography, greed, drunkenness, drugs, pride, lying, cursing, anger, gossip, stealing, hatred, idolatry, etc. Is there anything that you love more than Christ that has a hold on your life? The blood of Christ is strong enough to break every chain!
Get alone with God and be honest with Him about your struggles. This is a way of being totally reliant upon God. Ask for forgiveness and pray for a change of mind. Say, “Lord I don’t want these things. Help me. I need You. Change my desires. Change my passions.” Pray for help with these things. Pray for strength from the Spirit. Pray for help with dying to self. For those of you who struggle with sin such as myself, I encourage you to cling to Christ.
In resting in Christ there is victory!
Romans 7:24-25 “What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? 25 Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God’s law, but in my sinful nature a slave to the law of sin.”
What is the gospel?
This is the gospel that saves.
(Jesus died for our sins, He was buried for our sins, and He was resurrected for our sins.)
Believe this gospel that Jesus died and rose again defeating sin and death. He died the death that we deserved so that we could have eternal life. Jesus took our place on the cross. We don’t deserve God’s love and mercy, but He still gives it. Romans 5:8 reminds us, “while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
1 Corinthians 15:1-4 “Now, brothers and sisters, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain. For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures.”
“The heart of the gospel is redemption, and the essence of redemption is the substitutionary sacrifice of Christ.” (C.H. Spurgeon)
“The core and essence of the Gospel is its tremendous and glorious revelation of how deadly is God’s hatred of sin, so that He cannot stand having it in the same universe as Himself, and will go any length, and will pay any price, and will make any sacrifice, to master and abolish it, is set upon so doing in our hearts, thank God, as elsewhere.” – A. J. Gossip
Romans 5:8-9 “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him!”
Romans 8:32 “He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all--how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?”
If we are saved by faith alone, why should we obey God?
Let’s look into the the topic of why Christians obey a little further. It is imperative that we don’t start to think that we remain in a right standing before God by our works. This is believing salvation by works. We are saved by trusting solely upon Christ. We are totally loved by God and justified before Him. Christ has perfectly finished the work on the cross. On the cross, Jesus said, “it is finished.” He has satisfied the wrath of God. Jesus has emancipated us from the penalty sin and the power of it.
Christians are already saved by His blood and that is why we obey! We obey because we are thankful for what was done for us on the cross and we love God.
2 Corinthians 5:17 “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.”
This passage teaches us that those who trust in Christ are not only forgiven, they are also made new. Salvation is a supernaturally work of God, where God changes a man and makes Him a new creature. The new creature has been awakened to spiritual things. He has new passions and appetites, a new course of life, new purposes, new fears, and new hopes. Those who are in Christ have a new identity in Christ. Christians are not trying to be new creatures. Christians are new creatures!
I’m going to be totally honest for just a second. I’m burdened by what I’m witnessing in Christianity today. What frightens me is many who call themselves Christians live like the devil. It’s frightening because Matthew 7 reminds us that many will go before the Lord one day expecting to get inside heaven only to hear, “I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.” That is absolutely terrifying! There are massive false conversions going on in Christianity today and it tears my heart apart.
Congregations throughout America are filled with beautiful people on the outside. However, on the inside many are dead and don’t know Jesus and it’s evident by the fruit that they bear. Matthew 7:16-18 “By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? 17 Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit.”
We have to get to the condition of the heart. Once again, I’m not saying that Christians don’t struggle or that we are not distracted at times by the things of this world. However, what does the whole of your life reveal? Do you want Jesus? Does sin bother you? Are you seeking to live in sin and find a teacher who will justify your sins? Are you a new creature? What does your life reveal? In the section below, we will discuss evidence of salvation.
Matthew 7:21-24 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’ “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock.”
Luke 13:23-28 “Someone asked him, “Lord, are only a few people going to be saved?” He said to them, “Make every effort to enter through the narrow door, because many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able to. Once the owner of the house gets up and closes the door, you will stand outside knocking and pleading, ‘Sir, open the door for us.’ “But he will answer, ‘I don’t know you or where you come from “Then you will say, ‘We ate and drank with you, and you taught in our streets.’ “But he will reply, ‘I don’t know you or where you come from. Away from me, all you evildoers!’ “There will be weeping there, and gnashing of teeth, when you see Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, but you yourselves thrown out.”
Evidence of true salvation in Christ.
- You will have faith in Christ alone.
- More and more you will have a greater sense of your sinfulness and you will see your great need for a Savior.
- You will confess your sins daily and grow in repentance.
- You will be a new creation.
- Obedience to God’s Word.
- You will have new desires and affections for Christ.
- God will work in your life to make you into the image of His Son.
- You will grow in your knowledge of the gospel and dependence on Christ.
- Seeking a pure life regardless of the world.
- Desiring to have fellowship with Christ and with others.
- You will grow and produce fruit (some people grow slower and some faster, but there will be growth. Sometimes it will be three steps forward and two steps back or one step forward and two steps back, but once again you will grow.)
Wait, so can a true Christian backslide?
Yes, true Christians can backslide. However, God will eventually bring that person to repentance if that person is a child of God. He will even discipline that child if He has to. Hebrews 12:6 “Because the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son.”
God is a loving father and just like any loving father, He will discipline His children. Loving parents never allow their children to wander off. God will not allow His children to go astray. If God allows someone to go on living in a sinful lifestyle and He doesn’t discipline them, then that is evidence that the person is not His child.
Can a Christian backslide? Yes, and it is even possible for a long period of time. However, will they remain there? NO! God loves His children and will not allow them to go astray.
Wait, so can a true Christian struggle with sin?
Yes, as I mentioned above, true Christians struggle with sin. There are people who say, “I’m struggling with sin” as an excuse to continue in their sin. Nonetheless, there are genuine Christians who struggle and are broken over their struggles, which reveals a repentant heart. A good preacher wants said, “as believers we should be professional repenters.”
Let’s repent daily. Also, remember this as well. Our response to struggling should be to run to the Lord. Lean on His grace that not only forgives us, but helps us as well. Run to God with all your heart and say, “God I need your help. I can’t do this on my own. Please Lord help me.” Let’s learn to grow in our dependence of Christ.
What doesn’t save you?
In this section, let’s discuss popular misconceptions that many have. There are several things that are important on our walk with Christ. However, they are not what save us.
Baptism – Water baptism does not save anyone. 1 Corinthians 15:1-4 teaches us that it is faith in the gospel that saves us. These Scriptures also remind us what the gospel is. It is the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ. Though baptism does not save us, we should get baptized after placing our faith in Christ.
Baptism is important and it’s an act of obedience that Christians do after getting saved by the blood of Christ. Baptism is a beautiful symbol of being buried with Christ unto death and being resurrected with Christ in newness of life.
Praying – A Christian will desire to have fellowship with the Lord. A believer will pray because he has a personal relationship with the Lord. Prayer is not what saves us. It’s the blood of Christ alone that removes the sin barrier that separates humanity from God. With that said, we need prayer to have fellowship with the Lord. Remember the words of Martin Luther, “To be a Christian without prayer is no more possible than to be alive without breathing.”
Going to church – It is essential for your spiritual growth that you find a biblical church. However, attending church is not what saves nor maintains our salvation. Once more, attending church is important. A Christian should be attending and actively involved in their local church.
Obeying the Bible – Romans 3:28 teaches us that we are saved by faith apart from the works of the law. You’re not saved by obeying the Bible, but evidence that you are saved by faith alone is that your life will change. I’m not teaching a works-based salvation nor am I contradicting myself. A true Christian will grow in obedience because he has been saved and radically changed by the sovereign God of this universe.
You are saved by faith alone and you can’t add anything to the finished work of Christ on the cross.
Why Christianity over other religions?
- Every other religion in the world teaches a works-based salvation. Whether it is Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Mormonism, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Catholicism, etc. the viewpoint is always the same, salvation by works. A works-based salvation appeals to man’s sinful and prideful desires. Humanity desires to be in control of their own destiny. Christianity teaches us that we can’t earn our way to God. We are not good enough to save ourselves. God is holy and He demands perfection and Jesus became that perfection on our behalf.
- In John 14:6 Jesus said, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” By saying this, Jesus was teaching that He is the only way to heaven and that all other ways and religions are false.
- All religions can’t be true if they have different teachings and contradict each other.
- “Christianity is the only religion in the world where a man’s God comes and lives inside of Him!” Leonard Ravenhill
- Fulfilled prophecies are major evidences for the reliability of God’s Word. The prophecies in the Bible are 100% accurate. No other religion can make that claim.
- Jesus made claims and He backed them up. He died and rose again.
- Not only was Scripture written by eyewitnesses, the Bible also records eyewitness accounts of the resurrection of Christ.
- The Bible was written over 1500 years. Scripture contains 66 books and it has over 40 authors who lived in different continents. How is it that there is perfect consistency in every message and every chapter seems to point to Christ? Either it’s an extreme coincidence that defies all probability, or the Bible was sovereignly written and orchestrated by God. The Bible is the most scrutinized book ever, but it still stands firm because God preserves His Word.
- Christianity is about a relationship with God.
Come to God with all your heart
Be honest with Him. He already knows. Cry out to Him. Repent and believe in Christ and you shall be saved. Call on God now to save you!
The answer to how to become a Christian is simple. Jesus! Trust in the perfect work of Jesus on your behalf.
1. Repent: Are you having a change of mind about sin and what Christ has done for you? Do you believe that you’re a sinner in need of a Savior?
2. Believe: Anybody can say something with their mouth, but you must believe with your heart. Ask Christ to forgive your sins and believe He has taken away your sins! Trust Christ for the forgiveness of sins. All your sins are removed and atoned for. Jesus has saved you from the wrath of God in hell. If you were to die and God asked, “why should I let you into heaven?” The answer is (Jesus). Jesus is the only way into heaven. He is the claim for humanity. He died, He was buried, and He resurrected defeating sin and death.
Be honest: Do you believe that Jesus is the only way to heaven?
Be honest: Do you believe in your heart that Jesus died for your sins, was buried for your sins, and rose from the dead for your sins?
Be honest: Do you believe that all your sins are gone because in His amazing love for you, Christ paid for all of them so you could be set free?
3. Surrender: Your life is for Him now.
Galatians 2:20 “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”
Advice for new believers
Pray daily: Find a quiet place and go be alone with the Lord. Build your intimacy with Christ. Talk to Him throughout the day. Include Christ in the smallest aspects of your day. Enjoy Him and get to know Him.
Read the Bible: Opening our Bible allows God to speak to us through His Word. I encourage you to read Scripture daily.
Find a church: I encourage you to find a biblical church and get involved. Community is important on our walk with Christ.
Stay accountable: Never doubt the impact of accountability partners on your walk with Christ. Find trusted mature believers who you can be accountable with and who can be accountable with you. Be vulnerable and share prayer requests with each other. Be honest about how you are doing.
Find a mentor: Find an older believer who can help guide you on your walk with the Lord.
Confess your sins: There is always sin to confess. If we are not confessing sin, then our hearts are being hardened by sin. Don’t hide. You are so loved by God. Be honest with the Lord and receive forgiveness and help. Confess your sins daily.
Worship God: Let’s grow in our worship and praise of God. Worship Him by the way that you live your life. Worship Him in your work. Worship Him through music. Worship the Lord with awe and thanksgiving daily. True worship comes to the Lord with a genuine heart and desires only God. “We can express our worship to God in many ways. But if we love the Lord and are led by His Holy Spirit, our worship will always bring a delighted sense of admiring awe and a sincere humility on our part.”
Aiden Wilson Tozer
Rest in Christ: Know that you are deeply loved by God and it’s not because of anything that you have to offer Him. Rest in the perfect work of Christ. Believe in His grace. Cherish His blood and rest in it. Cling to Him alone. As the hymn says, “Nothing in my hand I bring, simply to thy cross I cling.”
Don’t give up: As a believer, you will have both good and bad times. There will be times on your walk when you will be discouraged by your struggles with sin. There will be times when you’ll feel spiritually dry and defeated. Satan will try to attack your identity in Christ, condemn you, and lie to you. Remember who you are in Christ. Don’t remain in that state of despair. Don’t feel like you’re not good enough to go to God. Christ made a way for you so that you could be right with the Lord.
I love the words of Martin Luther, “God doesn’t love us because of our worth, we are worth because God loves us.” Run to God for forgiveness and help. Allow God to pick you up and dust you off because He loves you. Then, start moving forward. There will be times on your walk when you can’t sense God’s presence. God didn’t leave you don’t worry. When this happens, remember to live by faith and not your feelings.
Whatever situation that you find yourself in, keep pursuing the Lord. Put the past behind you and move forward to God. Realize that He is with you. His Spirit is living inside you. Don’t give up! Run to Him and seek Him daily. 1 Timothy 6:12 “Fight the good fight of faith; take hold of the eternal life to which you were called, and you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.”
God bless you my brothers and sisters in Christ.
For more information about evidence of salvation, please read this article.
Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”
Romans 10:9-11 “If you say with your mouth that Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved from the punishment of sin. When we believe in our hearts, we are made right with God. We tell with our mouth how we were saved from the punishment of sin. The Holy Writings say, “No one who puts his trust in Christ will ever be put to shame.”
Proverbs 3:5-6 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not trust in your own understanding. Agree with Him in all your ways, and He will make your paths straight.”
Romans 15:13 “Our hope comes from God. May He fill you with joy and peace because of your trust in Him. May your hope grow stronger by the power of the Holy Spirit.”