What does the Bible say about salvation? That is a question that is on the minds of millions of people around the world even as you read this. After all, if there is an afterlife and heaven actually exists, who wouldn't want to go there? In fact, if eternal life is real, there is not a single issue of greater importance to every man, woman and child on earth. Who would not give up everything that they own to live forever in paradise? All over the world people perform all kinds of religious acts in hope that they will gain favor with God. Some religious extremists even blow themselves up during suicide attacks, hoping that their "sacrifice" will enable them to get to paradise. But are those really ways to get to heaven? What does the Bible have to say?
The truth is that the plan of salvation described in the Bible is very simple.
It starts with God.
The Bible tells us that God created mankind and that He loves us very much.
In fact, God loves you more than you could ever imagine. The Scriptures go on and on about how great the love of God is and about how deeply He cares for each one of us individually.
But there is a huge problem.
The problem is that humanity is in deep rebellion against God.
The truth is that humanity has rejected God and His laws.
Most people like to think of themselves as "good" people, but the truth is that we are not good. Each one of us has broken God's laws over and over. We are lawbreakers and criminals before God. The Scriptures call us sinners.
Perhaps you think that you are a "good person" and that God should let you into heaven based on how good you are.
If that is what you believe, ask yourself this question:
Have you ever broken God's laws?
Posted below is a summary of the 10 Commandments. Have you ever violated any of these?.....
#1) You shall have no other gods before Me. (Have you always loved God above everything else?)
#2) You shall not make yourself an idol. (Have you ever made a god in your mind that you are more comfortable with or ever worshipped anyone other than the God of the Bible?)
#3) You shall not take God's name in vain. (Have you ever used God's holy name as a cuss word?)
#4) Remember the Sabbath Day, to keep it holy. (Is there anyone alive who has kept this commandment perfectly?)
#5) Honor your father and mother. (Have you ever disrespected your father or your mother even one time? If so, you have broken this commandment.)
#6) You shall not murder. (God considers hatred to be similar to murder).
#7) You shall not commit adultery. (Have you ever looked at a man or woman with lust in your heart? That makes you guilty of breaking this commandment because in Matthew 5:27-28 Jesus said "Whoever looks upon a woman to lust after her has committed adultery with her already in his heart").
#8) You shall not steal. (Have you ever stolen anything? If so, that makes you a thief. The value of whatever you stole is irrelevant).
#9) You shall not lie. (Have you ever lied even once? If so, that makes you a liar).
#10) You shall not covet. (Have you ever jealously desired what belongs to someone else?)
The truth is that we are all guilty of violating the Ten Commandments.
We have all broken God's rules.
In fact, if we took an honest look at how guilty we truly are we would be horrified.
Take a moment and imagine this - one of the biggest television networks wants to do a huge 2 hour prime time special starring you.
Doesn't that sound great?
But instead of a two hour documentary about how wonderful you are, the network has discovered all of the most evil and horrible things that you have ever thought, said or did and they are going to broadcast them to millions of people all over the world for two hours during prime time.
What would you do if that happened?
The reality is that whoever that happened to would want to run away and never show their face to anyone ever again.
Because we have all done, said and thought things that are unspeakably evil.
We are sinners in the eyes of God, just as the Scriptures tell us.....
"All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23).
We were created to have fellowship with God, but we chose to reject God and we all have repeatedly broken His laws. When we broke God's commandments, our fellowship with God was broken. By breaking God's commandments we decided that our will would be done instead of God's will. This self-will, characterized by an attitude of active rebellion or passive indifference, is evidence of what the Bible calls sin.
The Scriptures tell us that as a result of that sin we are separated from God.....
"The wages of sin is death" [spiritual separation from God] (Romans 6:23).
So what can be done about this separation from God?
Why doesn't God just forget about it?
Well, the truth is that God cannot just sweep our evil under the rug. If God did that, He would cease to be just.
There is a penalty for evil, and because God is just, that penalty must be paid.
Fortunately, Jesus Christ paid the penalty for our sins by dying for us on the cross as the Scriptures say.....
"God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us" (Romans 5:8).
Jesus Christ died in our place.
Being fully man, Jesus could die for the sins of mankind.
Being fully God, Jesus could die for an infinite amount of sins.
Jesus paid the penalty for your sins and my sins so that fellowship with God could be restored.
Not only that, but Jesus proved that He is the Son of God by rising from the dead.....
"Christ died for our sins...He was buried...He was raised on the third day, according to the Scriptures...He appeared to Peter, then to the twelve. After that He appeared to more than five hundred..." (1 Corinthians 15:3-6).
You see, if there was any other way for us to be reconciled to God, Jesus would not have had to die on the cross. He could have just told us to follow one of the other ways to get to heaven. But there was no other way. The death of Jesus on the cross is the only payment for our sins and He is the only way that we are going to get to heaven. In the Scriptures, Jesus put it this way.....
"Jesus said to him, 'I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me'" (John 14:6).
But it is not enough just for you to know these things.
The Scriptures tell us that we must individually RECEIVE Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord - then we can have our sins forgiven and experience eternal life.....
"As many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name" (John 1:12).
So just how does a person receive Christ?
It is actually very simple.
A person receives Christ through faith just as the Scriptures tell us.....
"By grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, that no one should boast" (Ephesians 2:8,9).
The Scriptures also tell us that if we invite Jesus into our lives by faith He will most certainly come in.....
[Christ speaking] "Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if any one hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him" (Revelation 3:20).
Receiving Christ involves turning to God from our sin (repentance) and trusting Christ to come into our lives to forgive our sins and to make us what He wants us to be. Just to agree intellectually that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and that He died on the cross for your sins is not enough. Nor is it enough to have an emotional experience. You receive Jesus Christ by faith, as an act of the will.
If you are ready to invite Jesus Christ into your life, you can receive Christ right now by faith through prayer.
The reality is that God knows your heart and is not so concerned with your exact words as He is with the attitude of your heart.
If you are ready to invite Jesus Christ into your life you can do it right now.
The following is a suggested prayer:
"Lord Jesus, I need You. Thank You for dying on the cross for my sins. I open the door of my life and receive You as my Savior and Lord. Thank You for forgiving my sins and giving me eternal life. Take control of the throne of my life. Make me the kind of person You want me to be."
Does this prayer express the desire of your heart?
If it does, we invite you to pray this prayer right now and Jesus will come into your life, as He promised.
If you do invite Jesus Christ to come into your life, you can have 100 percent certainty that you have become a Christian and that you will go to heaven when you die. In 1 John 5:11-13, the Scriptures tell us the following.....
And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life. I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.
Do you understand what that means?
You can know that you have eternal life.
The Bible says that if you have invited Jesus Christ into your life, your sins are forgiven and you now have eternal life.
What could be better than that?
But your journey is not done.
In fact, it is just beginning.
The Christian life is not easy - especially if you try to go it alone.
There are four keys to growth for any Christian.....
#1) The Bible - If you do not have a Bible you will need to get one and read it every day. It is God's instruction book for your life.
#2) Prayer - Prayer is just talking with God. God wants to hear from you and He will change your life as you pray to Him with humility and sincerity.
#3) Fellowship - The Scriptures tell us that we all need each other. Find a fellowship of local Christians that believe the Bible and love one another. They will help you grow.
#4) Witnessing - Tell others about the new life that you have found in Jesus Christ. Helping even one person find eternal life is of more value than anything else you could accomplish in this world.
If you have any questions about what the Bible says about salvation, please post them below. We welcome your comments and questions.....