ANSWERS

How can I be saved?

The Lord Jesus Christ through His work on the cross made being saved easy.  Through His work on the cross, Jesus Christ paid for the sins of the world and removed every barrier that could separate mankind from God.  To be saved, simply believe in the Lord Jesus. There is really nothing else to it.  The door is wide open for us to be saved.  All that is required on our part is to believe in Jesus Christ.  He did all the work that is required on the cross.

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What is the gospel?

The word gospel means "good news."  The good news is that Jesus Christ has provided salvation for mankind.  Jesus Christ paid for the sins of the world on the cross.  While He was hanging on the cross, all of our sins were poured out on Christ and judged. After He had finished bearing the sins of the world, He bowed His head forward, and said, "Finished" (John 19:30).  Then he breathed His last and on the third day arose from the dead with a resurrection body.  The hope of our salvation is alive, resurrected!  If we believe in Jesus Christ, we will also have Eternal Life and will receive a resurrection body when we die.  The gospel is the story of the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The gospel is the information that must be communicated to a person in order to be saved.  It is important that the simple truth of the gospel be communicated.  Then the Holy Spirit will make the spiritual content of the gospel perspicuous to the person who wants to know God so that a decision can be made to believe or not to believe in Jesus Christ.
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How can I know God?

The only way to know God is to be born again. Since God is Spirit and dwells in unapproachable light (1 Timothy 6:16), to walk into His presence would mean instant death. It would be like flying into the eye of the sun. But, there is hope. He has provided a way for us to know Him. It involves being born again. Since God is Spirit and the "natural man" does not have a human spirit, there is no way for spiritually dead mankind to have fellowship with Spiritual God.  The "natural man" is literally the soulish man, which is one without a human spirit.  Communication with God is only possible through the Spirit.  Just as communication with a computer requires electricity, communication with God requires a spiritual link.  The only way for anyone to communicate spiritually is to be born again (John 3:3, 7). As Jesus Christ told Nicodemus, Being "born again" means to be spiritually regenerated, to receive a new spiritual life.
When a person accepts Christ as Savior, the Holy Spirit creates in him a human spirit so that he can have fellowship with God. God the Father also imputes Eternal Life and His own Righteousness to the new believer. The person who is born again is a new spiritual species. He is spiritually alive and able to have fellowship with God.

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What do I do to be saved?

To be saved, one does not actually do anything.  A person is saved by a single thought:  "I believe in Jesus Christ."  This is non-meritorious.  No effort is required on our part.  To be saved, we simply:
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How do I receive Eternal Life?

Eternal Life is one of the things we receive at the moment of salvation.  At the moment an individual believes in Jesus Christ, God gives that person Eternal Life.
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What are the steps to be saved?

  1. Listen to the gospel, which is the good news about Christ's payment for our sins on the cross.  Simply stated, the Lord Jesus Christ was judged as a substitute for us on the cross.  "He (the Father) made Him (Jesus Christ)  who knew no sin to be sin as a substitute for us in order that we might become the Righteousness of God in Him" (2 Corinthians 5:21).  All of our sins were poured out on Christ and judged.  He paid for our salvation.  All the work has been done.  After He finished paying for the sins of the world, He bowed His head and said, "Finished."  Then He died physically and was resurrected the third day with a new Resurrection Life.  We will also have this resurrection life when we die, if we are saved.
  2. Do you want to be saved?  Then, form this sentence in thought only:  "Father, I believe in Jesus Christ."
  3. That is all.
At this point God the Father will give you salvation, everlasting life.
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Why do I need to be saved?

At the moment of physical birth, God judges us with the sin of Adam.  Since we are descendants of Adam, God judges us with Adam's sin.  The result is that we are born physically alive but spiritually dead.  Sin cost Adam his spiritual life.  Since we have in our bodies the sin of Adam, we have no spiritual life.  Because we are born spiritually dead, we need to be saved so we will have spiritual life.  Our new spiritual life has Eternal Life from God.
We need God's Eternal Life if we are going to live forever, and have fellowship with God.  Without it we are hopelessly separated from God and spiritually dead.  If we die without accepting Christ, we will be cut off from God for eternity.  We will not escape condemnation to the Lake of Fire (Revelation 20:14-15) if we neglect the gift of salvation (Hebrews 2:3).  So, in order to have Eternal Life, we need to be saved.

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What does God do?

After believing in Christ, the word of God is fulfilled: "He who believes in the Son has everlasting life (John 3:36a)." If we meet God's criteria, He keeps His word. He gives us Everlasting Life and we can never lose it. "I give to them Eternal Life and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of my hand (John 10:28)." We can never lose our salvation because we are held by the power of God, and there is nothing greater.
At the moment of salvation, God the Holy Spirit creates in the believer a human spirit.  God the Father imputes to the human spirit, His own Righteousness and Eternal Life.  The new believer receives the Baptism of the Holy Spirit, which is the Holy Spirit entering the believer into union with Christ positionally.  The new believer is viewed by the Father as positionally in Christ.  The new believer shares Christ's Eternal Life, positional sanctification,  justification, inheritance and receives many things.  For a more in depth description refer to Overview of Salvation.

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What is faith?

Faith is that which is believed.  To have faith in something, means to believe in it.  There is no reason to make this complicated.  Even a young child believes in things.  Faith is a non-meritorious method of perception.  It requires no ability on our part.  We simply have faith in (or believe in) the object.
In the case of salvation, the object is Christ.  The object has merit - not us.  The object is able to save us - not we, ourselves.  Faith requires no ability on our part.  To have faith, we simply believe, or accept something as true.  In the original Greek of the New Testament, the root pistis is a noun which is translated, faith, while the verb form of the same root is translated, believe.

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What does believe mean?

To believe means to accept something as it appears to be without question.  In other words, the person who believes in something accepts it as truth without any proof.  No logic or talent or great ability is involved.  Believing is an act of faith.  Even a child can believe.  The merit must lie in what is believed, that is the object.  If the object is true, then the truth is believed.  If the object is false, then something false has been believed.
In the case of salvation, we must believe in Jesus Christ.  He is true and is not a lie, but this must be revealed by the Holy Spirit (John 6:44, 65; 1 Corinthians 2:10; 1 Thessalonians 1:5; 1 John 2:27). An unbeliever cannot understand the gospel without the ministry of the Holy Spirit to reveal the truth.  When the issue of the gospel is made clear by the Holy Spirit, a person may choose to believe or not to believe.

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How do I know whether I am saved?

If you have believed in Jesus Christ, then, on the authority of the word, you are saved. Salvation is received by faith alone in Christ alone. That means that believing in Christ is the only possible way to be saved. If you, in the privacy of your own soul, expressed your faith in Jesus Christ, then God has given to you eternal life. But if you did something else for salvation, such as doing good works, going to church, going to confession, or inviting Christ into your heart, then you have not complied with the simple truth of scripture. Such activity will not bring salvation. There is only one way to be saved and that is God's way. Anything that man does to add to God's procedure nullifies the result and does not lead to salvation (Ephesians 2:8, 9).

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False Practices

Some of the popular misconceptions about how to be saved are:
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But I don't feel saved; am I saved?

Feeling is an emotional response.  Salvation is not related to the emotion.  It is not a feeling.  How you feel has nothing to do with salvation.  Salvation is based upon God's perfect integrity.  If He said He would save us by faith in Christ, He will keep His Word.  God does not have emotion.  Salvation is the truth of God.  How we feel about it has no bearing on the case.

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Do I have to go to church?

No, you do not have to go to church for salvation (before, during, or after).  However, at the moment of salvation, the believer is entered into union with Christ by the Baptism of the Holy Spirit.  Since Christ is the head of the Church, the new believer is automatically a part of the one universal Church, the body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:13).
Not going to church after salvation is not very smart.  It is like getting a new computer (fully loaded with all the latest features and software) and refusing to turn it on.  You will never lose your salvation, even if you don't go to church.  However, you will miss out on learning about the wonderful blessings of salvation that are for this life and not the hereafter.

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Will I have to tell anyone?

No, you will not have to tell anyone.  Salvation is a private matter between an individual and God.  It is not a public issue.  There is no requirement to make a public profession.  Anyone who demands that you walk an aisle, go to an alter, go to confession, partake of the Eucharist, or make a verbal pronouncement (confessing with your mouth) is wrong and is adding works to the grace of God.  There is no requirement to do anything publicly and that includes confessing out loud.  The passage in Romans 10:8-10 has been erroneously applied by some who do not understand it as criteria for verbal confession.

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What will happen when I die?

At physical death, the believer's soul will go to be with the Father in Heaven.  Heaven is a wonderful place with perfect happiness.


The soul of the unbeliever, in contrast, will go to Hades where it will await the final Great White Throne judgment of being thrown into the Lake of Fire to burn forever and ever (Revelation 20:14-15).

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What about my sins?

All the sins of everyone in the world were paid for on the cross (John 1:29; 1 Corinthians 15:3; 1 John 2:2).  This is the concept of unlimited atonement, which means that everyone's sins were paid for on the cross. Because all sins were paid for on the cross, they are not an issue in salvation.  Even when the unbeliever is being condemned at the Great White Throne judgment, his sins will never be mentioned.  They will be condemned to the Lake of Fire on the basis of their good deeds - not their sins (Revelation 20:13).
Those who teach that a person has to repent of his sins to be saved are wrong.  First repentance in the original Greek, simply means to change the mind.  It has nothing to do with sin or penance.  The unbeliever must change his mind about Christ for salvation - not about his sins.  The passages that appear to contradict this are very clear in the original Greek.

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If I don't sin, do I still need to be saved?

Yes, because at the moment of physical birth God judges everyone with spiritual death.  Everyone who is a descendant of Adam is cut off from God at birth, and everyone is free to accept or reject Salvation.
For as in Adam all die, even so by agency of Christ shall all be made alive. (1 Corinthians 15:22)
The decision to receive Salvation is a personal decision.  When a person believes in Jesus Christ, he or she is spiritually regenerated by the Holy Spirit and given Eternal Life.  Those who do not choose Salvation remain in the default state of spiritual death.
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Can I be saved and lose my salvation?

After believing in Christ, the word of God is fulfilled: "He who believes in the Son has everlasting life (John 3:36a)." If we meet God's criteria, He keeps His word. He gives us Everlasting Life and we can never lose it. We can never lose our salvation because we are held by the power of God, and there is nothing greater.
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I have heard of Jesus Christ; does that make me a Christian?

No, simply hearing about Jesus Christ, does not make one a Christian.  A person must make a conscious decision to be saved.  He must decide to believe or not to believe in Jesus Christ.  If a person does not consciously believe in Jesus Christ, then he will remain under just condemnation and will go to Hades.
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I am a Roman Catholic; am I saved?

This is perhaps the toughest question about salvation because the Roman Catholic religion brainwashes people.  If you ask them if they believe in Jesus Christ, they will generally say yes.  But then they add human good.  They think they have to take the sacrament (Eucharist).  They think they have to be moral.  They think they can do something to lose their salvation.  They think they have to confess something.  All this is human good.  And if anything is added to faith in Christ for salvation, then the individual is not saved.
Could a person be saved in a Roman Catholic Church?  Yes, absolutely. As long as the person simply believed in Jesus Christ and didn't add anything to it.  In many cases the person who has complied with the human good of the Roman Catholic Church will have to spend a long time in Bible study just to get all issues associated with salvation unraveled.  Their confusion is generally so great that it can take years before they ever know if they are saved.

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I am a Jew; am I saved?

The requirements for salvation are the same for the racial Jew as for anyone else:  Faith alone in Jesus Christ.  When a Jew believes in Jesus Christ, he will be born again.  The Christian is a new spiritual species (2 Corinthians 5:17; Galatians 6:15).  Since race is not an issue for the Christian, it is erroneous to call a Jewish believer in the Church Age a Jewish Christian.  When the Jew believes in Christ, he becomes a Christian and is no longer a Jew.
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I am a Mormon; am I saved?

The doctrine of the Mormon church is contrary to Biblical truth regarding salvation.  Mormonism teaches that Jesus Christ was not the unique Son of God with deity, but that He was just another god.  The atonement of Christ for sins is distorted to mean "that Christ earned for all men the right to be raised from the dead.  One is saved through faith in Christ (plus faith in Joseph Smith), but especially through works.  By the works one does in this life he merits his salvation."2

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I am a Jehovah's Witness; am I saved?

The doctrine of Jehovah's Witnesses is contrary to Biblical truth regarding salvation.  Jehovah's Witnesses do not believe that Jesus Christ was the Son of God with deity, but that He was only a man.  They do not believe in the immortality of the soul.  They believe Christ's work was to give the right not to die physically but to be restored by resurrection.  They believe the requirements for their brand of salvation to be faith in the work of Christ, baptism by Jehovah's Witnesses,  proclaiming their message, and living a moral life.  They originally believed only 144,000 could be saved, but when their number exceeded this number, they added some other caveats.2

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I am a Seventh Day Adventist; am I saved?

Everyone must be saved the same way:  Faith alone in Christ alone.  If you have believed in Jesus Christ and added nothing to it, then you are saved.  But if you think that you have anything to do with salvation, such as working to stay saved, this is wrong.  Man by his own effort can do nothing to get himself saved or keep himself saved.  We can do nothing to help God save us.  Salvation is all of grace - plus nothing!
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Do babies who die go to heaven?

When a baby is born physically alive, it is simultaneously born spiritually dead.  It is condemned because it is descended from Adam.  Now, God is not unfair.  If the baby subsequently dies before reaching the age of accountability, then God takes the baby's soul to heaven (2 Samuel 12:22-23).  The age of accountability is the age at which the child knows right from wrong.  This is not the same age for every child.  It may be age 11 or 12 in some and 19 or 20 in others.

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What about other religions, such as Buddhism?

There is only one way of salvation.  It is faith alone in Christ alone. If the person in the other religion does not believe in Jesus Christ, he will be condemned to the Lake of Fire.  Religion is man by man's efforts trying to reach God.  This is human good and incompatible with the Righteousness of God.
Christianity is not a religion.  It is a relationship with God through the mediatorship of Jesus Christ.  Mankind is reconciled to God on the basis of the work of Christ on the cross.

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What about the heathen?

If anyone wants to know God, then God will provide the gospel to that person so that a rational decision about salvation can be made.  If a person is positive at the point of God consciousness, then God will provide Him with the gospel before he dies.  Even if the person is living in a remote part of the bush of Africa, the Amazon, or the outback parts of Australia, those who want to know God will have the chance.  In Romans 1:19-20 the issue of God consciousness is discussed.  He is evident in everything; so it is easy to come to an awareness that there must be a God. However, in order to be saved, the person must believe in Christ.  There is no other way of salvation.

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Still Confused?

Then, you are not alone.  If you have never believed in Jesus Christ, then I will be happy to answer any question that is related to salvation.  Just send me an email at the address below.

If you are already a Christian and are confused, then go to your own pastor with your questions.  You are his responsibility - not mine.

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Comments or Suggestions

I welcome your comments or suggestions.

COMMENTS


References

1. Deleted.
2.  J. D. Douglas, ed. The New International Dictionary of the Christian Church (Grand Rapids, Michigan:  Zondervan, Grand Rapids, Michigan 49506), 1978.
3. Deleted.
4. George Whitefield, "A Letter from George Whitefield to Rev. Mr. John Wesley," Bethesda in Georgia, Dec. 24, 1740.  http://www.gty.org/~phil/wesley.htm


Author:  Larry Wood, April 16, 1997
Revised:  September 4, 2002