Believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of GOD.
How can I be saved? This is a very heart compelling question for any person. When someone first begins to believe in Jesus Christ, this question becomes of great importance. The believer realizes he is guilty of sending the Son of GOD to die on a cross because of his sins. "The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom" Proverbs 9:10. If belief is only the beginning of wisdom, how does someone find the rest of the answer?
GOD has always provided the answer through His Word. "Jesus saith unto him, 'I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me" John 14:6. Every person who desires to please GOD must believe that Jesus Christ is His Son and that GOD sacrificed Him to pay for our sins.
Jesus further tells us that His way is not always easy to find. "Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it" Matthew 7:14. If the way is so difficult, how does one find it? Again GOD has provided the answer through His Son. "I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness. And if any man hear my words, and believe not, I judge him not: for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world. He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day" John 12:46-48.
The Blood of Jesus Christ Saves Us.
The Bible explains in Romans 5:8-9, "But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him." If we are saved by the blood of Jesus, how does GOD choose to apply Jesus' precious life giving blood? Our merciful GOD must have loved us very much to send His only Son to live as a man in the world. Then He was crucified on a cross as the only acceptable sacrifice for the sins of mankind.
We Must Repent of Our Sins.
Even though Jesus died for our sins, GOD was only providing all of us another chance to be saved from our sin. GOD expects us to repent of our sins. This means for us to change our minds about sinning in the future. We, as sinners, must recognize the horrible cost of our sins. Jesus tells us in Luke 13:2-3, "And Jesus answering said unto them, Suppose ye that these Galilaeans were sinners above all the Galilaeans, because they suffered such things? I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish."
We Must Confess Jesus Before Men.
Our Lord expects us to confess Him to others. "And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized? And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him" Acts 8:36-38.
Be "Born Again" Through Baptism.
Is it possible to be born again? This was Nicodemus' question to Jesus. "Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter the second time into his mother's womb, and be born? Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God" John 3:3-5.
How is someone born again? On the day of Pentecost shortly following Jesus' return to Heaven, Peter told many Jews who had been present at the death of Christ and had voiced their approval of His execution on the cross, that they had crucified the Son of GOD. The peoples' response was immediate, "Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, 'Men and brethren, what shall we do?' Then Peter said unto them, 'Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost'" Acts 2:37-38.
What does baptism for the remission of sins mean? The word baptize is from an ancient Greek word which means to be immersed or be covered with water. It has been modified by many religious groups to mean something else in today's dictionaries. Some people believe a sprinkling or pouring on of water "is good enough." GOD's Word is very clear about how baptism should be done. "And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him" Matthew 3:16. Jesus example is very clear. This is how GOD chose to begin Christ's ministry. It is also how GOD chooses to begin ones Christian life.
Paul said that baptism has a special purpose as he explained to the Ephesians in 5:25-26, "Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word." Since the church is made up of all Christians, Paul explains the important purpose of baptism in cleansing us of sin. By faith we believe that if we follow GOD's Word, He will be faithful to His Word and accept us into his family.
In Paul's letter to Titus he further explains that when we are born again by faith in His Word, GOD renews our lives by giving us the Holy Spirit through the power of his Word. "Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life" Titus 3:5-7.
Finally when Jesus was resurrected following His death on the cross He gave instructions to His disciples to go into all the world to teach the Gospel and to baptize those who believe. "Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen" Matthew 28:19-20. Obeying GOD places us into a fully committed relationship for the rest of our lives with the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit by taking their name. This is very much like a marriage.
Some believe baptism is only a symbol. Saul met Jesus face to face on the road to Damascus. Saul was blinded and for three days fasted because he was convicted of his sins: "And Saul arose from the earth; and when his eyes were opened, he saw no man: but they led him by the hand, and brought him into Damascus. And he was three days without sight, and neither did eat nor drink" Acts 9:8,9. Even after direct contact with Jesus, Saul still needed to be baptized to take away his sins. "And he said, The God of our fathers hath chosen thee, that thou shouldest know his will, and see that Just One, and shouldest hear the voice of his mouth. For thou shalt be his witness unto all men of what thou hast seen and heard. And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord" Acts 22:14-16. When was Saul saved? GOD will not live with someone who is still in sin.
If Jesus died for our sins then we certainly owe Him much. In truth we owe Him the rest of our lives. "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God" Romans 12:1-2.
When we do sin again, we have a merciful GOD who is willing to forgive us if we confess we are sinners and continue to repent of our sins. In the apostle John's first letter, he reassures Christians of GOD's mercy as long as we focus on Christ and His Word. "But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness" 1 John 1:7-9.Joe Andrasik
All references are from the King James version of the Bible.