For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. – Romans 10:13
God calls us. We experience that call as an inkling in our heart that maybe there really is a God… Maybe I should find out about Him… You may be on this page because you have felt that need, that calling.
1. Know How God Sees You
God loves you, and has known you from before the creation of the world. He knew there would be a “you”. You were created specifically to be in His family, in relationship with Him. So, what’s wrong? Why does it feel like God doesn’t care – that He is absent?
The answer is sin. Sin separates us from God. Sin is anything we think, say, or do that goes against God’s laws. This world is broken because people are trapped in sin. Our sinful choices affect ourselves, each other, and even entire generations and societies. God has given us free will to choose to do as we please, and many times, people choose sin.
What is the Law of God? In the Bible, God has given many instructions for living right before Him. These include the 10 Commandments among others. But apart from the Bible, God has written His commands on human hearts, which we refer to as “conscience”. Our conscience is what tells us that murder is wrong. It is what makes us angry at injustices, abuses, and crime. We know we violate our consciences. The telltale signs are lying about it, hiding it (doing it in secret), or covering it up. This is how God can hold us as being without excuse.
Above all, God tells us to love Him with all our soul, heart, and strength, and to love our neighbor as ourselves. If you love anything in your life more than you love God (or a fellow human being), you have broken this command. Whenever you do anything you know you shouldn’t (lying, gossiping, pornography, stealing, cheating, sleeping around, saying “Oh my God”, disobeying your parents, etc), it is “sin”. We hold ourselves up to God’s standards and see that we fall hopelessly short. We’ve blown it, many times, and we know it.
“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).
What if people choose to be good? Our human condition can be compared to a drop of poison in a glass of water. Whether there is one drop or many drops, the water is still poisoned. There are many non-religious and religious people who are good and kind. But no matter how “good” we are, we aren’t perfect. God’s law requires us to be perfect.
Here is a wonderful article
discussing how Jesus explains our inability to save ourselves.
2. Know Where You’re Headed
You know you’ve sinned, you’ve broken God’s laws. So what does that mean?
Our physical bodies die someday. However, God created humans to be eternal. That means the part of you that’s “you” – your spirit/soul – is going to live on forever. God says that He has “placed eternity in the hearts of men” – deep down, we know that physical death is not the end. When you die, you will stand before God and give an account of EVERYTHING you have done while alive. Everything done in the darkness and secret will be brought to light before Him (and perhaps before the angels and the rest of humanity as well). Everything you do is recorded in a book.
According to God, breaking even one of His laws, once, results in the death penalty.
“For the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23).
Death?? Isn’t that extreme? God, as a supreme holy and righteous being, cannot tolerate any sin (breaking of the law) in His presence. God sees one sin as the same as being guilty of all sins. That’s how high His standard is. Unless we repair our relationship with God we will “die” for eternity. Eternal “death” is actually eternal separation from God and others, in the “lake of fire” – a place of torment and suffering. While your physical body is alive, you determine the eternal destiny of your spirit. Once your physical body dies, there are no second chances.
Yes, there are indications that there are different levels of suffering in hell, and that those who do worse things will suffer more. However, everyone will suffer there, and there is a way you wouldn’t have to suffer AT ALL.
3. Want to Change
We pursue, pursue, pursue, and when we accomplish it is exciting but also empty – now what? The rich never have enough money, the mighty never have enough power, the beautiful always have some flaw. We move from one thing to the next, never satisfied. Why? There *is* something missing. God. We are like lost sheep – wandering around aimlessly. Sure there are some “good things” and distractions in this world. But when it really counts, if we lost it all, if we face a car crash or a terminal illness – what is this life about? We were meant to live in harmony with God, our Father. His Spirit is meant to comfort us, to guide us, to bring us love, joy, peace, hope.
We are born into this world as spiritual orphans. We remain that way unless we listen to God’s call and find our way home.
Once God shows you how lost you are, and what that means, you now have a choice. You can choose to ignore Him, or you can choose to do something about it. God wants to restore the relationship. But you have to want to restore the relationship too. Relationships go both ways.
A change of heart, seeing ourselves as utterly lost and wanting to do something about it, is called repentance. Just recognizing that we do bad things (as defined by God), but not having a desire to stop, is not true repentance. We must truly want to be changed, to be restored to relationship with God.
4. There’s Only One Way Out
Because God our Father loves us, He has made a way to restore the relationship.
“But God shows His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8)
God does not want you to be separated from Him for eternity. He created hell and the eternal Lake of Fire for satan and the fallen angels, NOT for humans. But you will go there if you reject God’s rescue plan. He wants you to come back to His family. So He sent a part of Himself, Jesus Christ, to die for you. The Bible makes it clear that every sin has to be punished by death. Jesus lived a perfect life on Earth – though He lived as a man under God’s Law, He never broke the Law. This qualified Him to take our sins upon Himself to become a perfect sacrifice. Jesus died on the cross to take our punishment for us.
“But God demonstrates His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8)
It doesn’t end there, though. On the third day, Jesus was raised to life, to a new eternal body. When we join God’s spiritual family, we, too, will get a new eternal body someday.
“the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ, our Lord” (Romans 3:23)
5. Turn From Yourself Towards God and Believe
We chose to sin and Jesus chose to be a “sin-bearer” and take God’s wrath for us. God offers an all-inclusive “forgiveness slip” to every human on earth. If we believe what God has said about us (we are totally lost and have no hope of saving ourselves), and what He has done to fix it (Jesus is the only way as a Savior), we can obtain this “forgiveness slip”. We can ask God for Jesus’ payment to be applied to our account. This allows us to be declared innocent and sin-free in God’s Eyes – the debt we owed for our crimes is paid.
If you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord”, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. Romans 10:9-10
When you say Jesus is Lord, this means you believe He is God and He deserves to be Lord of your life. When you believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you accept that what the Bible teaches about Jesus is true and that His death paid the price for your wrongdoings. If Jesus is your Savior, He is also your Lord.
For many years I didn’t “get” the simplicity of salvation and tried to “earn” it (by repeating the sinner’s prayer, trying to live morally, etc). However, anything we do to try and “add to” or “maintain” salvation (such as sacraments, good works on our own effort) leads to death, because it means that we don’t accept that Jesus’ finished work on the cross was sufficient – which is the one thing we need to believe to be saved. “It is finished”. I also had a hard time truly understanding repentance, and wasn’t willing to fully examine my heart to see how sinful I truly was (and how desperately I needed a Savior).
For by grace you are saved through faith, and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God; it is not from works, so that no one can boast. Ephesians 2:8-9
Asking for Jesus’ sacrifice in our stead results in immediate salvation and sealing of the Holy Spirit. That’s what being “Born Again” means. We are forgiven. We can’t accidentally lose our salvation, and God won’t remove it from us or ever kick us out of the sheep fold. There is Biblical evidence that suggests we are given free choice to reject our salvation and leave the faith, so make sure you hold firm in your beliefs until death.
6. What Next?
“There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” (Romans 8:1)
If you asked God to forgive you, and have chosen to follow Him, you are now part of His family. He has forgiven you, and you have a clean slate. It’s time to learn more about Him, grow your relationship with Him, follow and obey Him. It’s like any relationship – it takes time and dedication!
First, talk to God. This can seem awkward at first, but talk to Him as you would to a best friend. Nothing fancy, no complicated words or phrases, just talk to Him. Tell Him how you feel, what you’re doing, what questions you have, what you need. God’s not a magic genie – he doesn’t give us things for our selfish purposes. He wants you to see yourself in His bigger picture. He wants you to grow in holiness, to become more like Him. If you ask God to help you know Him better, to help you understand His word and how He wants you to live, he always answers those prayers!
Second, read the Bible. Read it every day. Start in the book of John, then Romans, and then read the rest of the New Testament. Each time, ask God to help you understand what you read.
Third, try to obey God. Ask Him to help you. Deliberately choose to stop doing things He doesn’t like and commands against. Deliberately choose to try to act more like Him – patient, kind, forgiving, joyful, serving, gentle, self-controlled, honest.
Fourth, try to find other Christians to spend your time with. Our friends can influence where we are headed. There are many Christian facebook groups where online friends can be found. Trying to find a local church is also a good idea. (There are so many and it’s difficult to know where to start. Not all churches have true beliefs about the Bible and salvation. I would recommend trying Baptist, Alliance, Gospel Churches, or Mennonite).
Fifth, there are books and articles and sermons online you can learn from. Books I highly recommend are Jerry Bridges’ Pursuit of Holiness and Practice of Godliness. This church has such wonderful articles on saving faith and growing in Christ.
What if I still struggle with sin?
Even the godliest people struggle with sin – doing what we don’t want to do, or not doing what we want to do. We still wear the sin nature in this natural body. However, our hearts and minds are freed from being enslaved to it – if we call for help – God will provide a way out so we don’t HAVE to sin. The trick is identifying temptation early, and halting it before we are sucked into full blown sin.
You will still sin, but you will have a desire to get back on track and restore your relationship with God (although individual sins won’t take away your salvation, it will put you out of relationship with God). The Holy Spirit will start to convict you of sins. It is your job to listen to Him and follow His lead, to progress in holiness (sanctification).
7. What if I Don’t “Feel” Saved?
If you do not feel secure in your salvation, IT IS RIGHT TO EXAMINE YOURSELF, to see if you are in the faith.
If you can continue in habitual sin without feeling remorse and guilt (even common sins like sex outside of marriage, homosexuality, gossip, lying, cheating…) then you should question whether you are saved. The Holy Spirit will convict you of sin.
The “heart” is comprised of our mind/intellect, our emotions/feelings, and our will/actions. We have feelings about God, we think through the facts about Jesus and the Bible, and our actions will demonstrate what we believe. In each of these areas, we must rely on GOD to provide the faith. We can’t make ourselves believe – we can’t force feelings, we can’t understand if our spiritual eyes are closed, and actions done on our own effort will consistently fizzle over time. Examine if all 3 aspects of your heart are in alignment. If not, confess that to God and pray for HIM to provide you with saving faith. God rewards those who earnestly seek Him.
You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart. Jeremiah 29:13
Do not give up! Do not despair! Cling to God with all your might.
PLEASE, God is calling you. He LOVES you. He WANTS you in His family.
The Ultimate Gamble
How to join God’s family: HERE and HERE and HERE
Make Sure You Follow the Right Jesus: HERE
September 23, 2017 Sign: HERE and HERE and HERE
August 21, 2017 Eclipse: HERE and HERE
Read God’s Word, the Bible. Suggested order:
The Gospel of John
The Gospel of Mark
The Gospel of Luke
The Gospel of Matthew
Today is the day of salvation. We never know if we will be given another chance tomorrow. Jesus is coming SOON, and will suddenly take all true believers to be with Him. Those left on earth will face devastation and horrors never before seen by humanity. Choose to follow Jesus TODAY.