How Can I Be Saved?
Hello. I have written this out of love and concern, and I pray that you, whoever you are, will find joy, peace, and love in God.
Contrary to what many people believe, Christianity isn't about doing "good deeds" to make God happy. The Bible says that all of our human effort/righteous deeds are "like filthy rags" to God (Isaiah 64:6), because He is so holy, and so pure, that we can't live up to his perfect standard. Trying to force yourself to obey laws or rituals or the ten commandments for salvation will not work, because, as Galatians 2:16 says, "...a man is not justified by the works of the law but by faith in Jesus Christ...." And again, Galatians 3:19 says, "What purpose then does the law serve? It was added because of transgressions...." As the book of Romans states, the purpose of the law was to reveal sin, and to show mankind how much they weren't able to keep the law on their own. They needed Christ.
“Yet we know that a person is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, so we also have believed in Christ Jesus, in order to be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the law, because by works of the law no one will be justified.” Galatians 2:16
People are naturally wicked. You never have to teach a child how to lie, cheat, or steal. But you do have to teach them how to be good. The reason people are naturally wicked is because of the Fall, when Adam and Eve sinned against God and made all of the generation after them, all people, to inherit the punishment of their actions. "...sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned... by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners" (Romans 5:12,19)
One can say, "Well I don't believe in God, but I have morals," however, the Bible clearly states that all of our self-willed righteousness don't meet up to God's standard. As it says in Isaiah 64:6, "But we are all like an unclean thing, And all our righteousness is like filthy rags;"
Because of our sin, we all deserve to go to Hell. Hell was originally created for Satan and his angels who rebelled, but because of our sin, we will go there too if we refuse God's gift of salvation. "Then He will also say to those on the left hand, ‘Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels'" (Matthew 25:41).
God is holy, and pure, and righteous, and "God is light and in Him is no darkness at all." (1 John 1:5) The reason God has condemned natural mankind to Hell, is because His character and nature are that of a righteous judge. All iniquity and sin must be punished, or else God would not be a just and righteous God, and therefore, He wouldn't be perfect. "'Holy, Holy, Holy, is the LORD Of hosts, The whole earth is full of His glory.'" (Isaiah 6:3); "No one is holy like the Lord, For there is none besides You, Nor is there any rock like our God." (1 Samuel 2:2); "He is the Rock, His work is perfect; For all His ways are justice, A God of truth and without injustice; Righteous and upright is He." (Deuteronomy 32:4)
So how then can we be saved? How can we be saved from the eternal wrath that will happen when God judges the world? After all, "Who may ascend into the hill of the LORD? and who may stand in His holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, Who has not lifted up his soul to falsehood, And has not sworn deceitfully." (Psalm 24:3-4)
What must we do to be saved? Because of God's goodness and mercy, and because of His great love, He sent His own Son, who was Him, God, in human form, in the form of Jesus, who was the Christ prophesied of in the Bible's Old Testament. "Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be
with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel." (Isaiah 7:14)
"Immanuel" means "God with us. "For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. " (Isaiah 9:6-7) And in the New Testament, which was when the prophecy was fulfilled, Jesus the Christ was born, of Mary a virgin, through the power of the Holy Spirit. "...for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins." (Matthew 1:20-21)
Man can do nothing on his own to save himself. So Jesus, God in the flesh, came and humbled himself as a servant, and died on the cross, bearing our sin, being punished as a propitiation, in our place, in order to save us from the wrath of God. As it says in Philippians 2:6-8 about Jesus: "...who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross."
Jesus died on the cross, bearing the wrath of God, the wrath that we should have been given, in order to save us, because of His great love for us, and to show the justness of God. He was a propitiation, which means, in basic terms, to "appease." He appeased the wrath of God, the wrath that should have been poured out on us, as a sacrificial atonement for our sins. The bible says, "Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree)". (Galations 3:13) In other words, he became a curse for us.
So again, what must we do to be saved? The bible says that we must simply repent and believe on Jesus. What is repentance? It means to have a change of mind, and more importantly, in the context of the Bible, a change of heart. It means to throw down all sense of pride, realize that you have sinned, and be willing to let God work in your life to change you; and throw yourself onto Jesus, and trust in Him for your salvation alone, and not on yourself. You can express this by asking Jesus to forgive you, and asking Him for salvation, and for a changed life.
When the wrath of God had been satisfied on the cross, Jesus said, "It is finished." In other words, it truly is finished! All you have to do to receive eternal life is believe on Jesus! Know that everything is already done (because of the cross) and all you have to do is receive it!
The concept is so simple that many people have tried to disregard it and try to "work" their way into salvation by "doing good deeds." But the bible not only says that our righteousness is like filthy rags, but it also says, "...by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight. But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe. And there is no difference; for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus." (Romans 3:20-26)
And, "For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life." (John 3:16)
And another scripture on how to believe, "if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the Scripture says, 'Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.'" For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him. For whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved.'" (Romans 10:9-13)
What happens when one truly believes unto righteousness? They are saved. (Forever!) They also have received the Holy Spirit, which is God the Spirit. The scripture says, "For there are three that bear witness in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit: and these three are one." (1 John 5:7) And John says that the Word is Jesus, as in this scripture, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. ...And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth." (John 1:1,14)
When one truly believes unto salvation, they have received the Holy Spirit, "...for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure." (Philippians 2:13). If faith were simply a work on our part, then the gift of salvation would be of works. "For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast." (Ephesians 2:8-9) God is the one who gives us the faith.
When one receives the Holy Spirit, He causes them to walk no longer in darkness but in light. It does not mean that you are saved by good works. It is simply the evidence of truly having believed unto salvation. There are many "Christians" out there who profess to know Christ but have no evidence of the workings of the Holy Spirit in their lives, which is not what the bible teaches, since Jesus said many times, "You will know them by their fruit." (ex: Matthew 7:16) In other words, you will know them by their actions. "Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Therefore by their fruit you will know them." (Matthew 7:17-19)
And no one can snatch you out of His hand once you are saved! You don't have to "struggle" or "try" to keep yourself saved, as God Himself is working in you. Only be sure that you truly are saved. A true Christian will walk in the light, and won't abandon the faith, because God will keep them in His might.
And with that, I finish. I write these things to you so that you will believe on Jesus and have eternal life. "...how shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation[?]" (Hebrews 2:3)
I pray that you will give your life over to Christ. He is love, and He loves you dearly. Won’t you put your trust in the God who loved you and died for you?