Here are twenty questions that relate to becoming a Christian. Given the far-reaching consequences of wrong answers, we need to be careful in our study of the Scriptures. Are you willing to take a second look?
- How Does One Become a Christian?
- What Must We Do to Be Saved?
- Are There Any Conditions to God’s Grace?
- How Does One Accept God’s Grace?
- What Is the Righteousness of Faith?
- What Is the Obedience of Faith?
- Is Jesus Christ the Only Way to Salvation?
- What Does It Mean to Confess Christ?
- How Does One Accept Jesus as Lord?
- How Do We Accept Jesus as Our Savior?
- What Does It Mean to Be Born Again?
- Is Salvation by Faith Only?
- What Is Baptism?
- Is Baptism for the Remission of Sins?
- Is Baptism Necessary for Salvation?
- At What Point Are Our Sins Forgiven?
- Will Everyone Be Saved?
- Did God Predetermine Who Will Be Saved?
- Once Saved, Can We Ever Be Lost?
- How Can We Know We Are Saved?
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We must be willing to do what Paul said when he exhorted the Corinthians: “Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves.” So let’s “examine ourselves” in regard to how a person should respond to the gospel. What do the Scriptures teach?
The question “What must I do to be saved?” has a scriptural answer, and that answer involves the doing of some things. If we’re not willing to do the things the Lord commands, we need not expect that the gift of forgiveness will be bestowed.
The Bible teaches that there are conditions attached to the reception of God’s grace. Some individuals will accept those conditions and receive God’s gift, but others will refuse those conditions and forfeit the gift they might have received.
By God’s grace, our salvation has been made possible. The way back home has been opened up — and the decision now rests with us whether we will receive His gift or refuse it. It is time for us, as the old hymn said, to “trust and obey.”
Christ having died for us, God can consider us just without being unjust to His own law. Paul said it this way in Romans 3:26: “It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.”
In Romans 1:5 and 16:26, Paul wrote that the preaching of the gospel of Christ was “to bring about the obedience of faith.” What would obedience be if it was “of faith,” and how would that be different from any other kind of obedience?
If God is our Creator, the He alone has the right to say how we can be reconciled to Him. A partial (or merely “helpful”) solution will not do. Either the solution comes down from God and saves us in eternity or it does not save us at all.
If you’re thinking of becoming a Christian, consider that obeying the gospel will involve believing the truth about Christ and confessing it in the presence of witnesses. I hope you won’t be afraid to confess Christ . . . and keep on confessing Him as long as you live.
In a predominantly “Christian” nation, many will say they’ve accepted Christ when they haven’t really done so. To them, Jesus would say, as He said two thousand years ago, “Why do you call Me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do the things which I say?” (Luke 6:46).
It is common to hear people speak of “accepting Christ.” Rightly understood, this is a biblical concept. But as is often true when ideas pass into the popular culture, the original idea of accepting Christ is quite different from the popular one.
In the New Testament, we find that being “born again” is an experience common to all who are in the kingdom of God. The new birth is one of the illustrations used to describe what happens when when anyone obeys the gospel of Christ.
One of the most prevalent misconceptions about the gospel is that nothing more than faith is required in order for our sins to be forgiven. We readily admit the importance of faith; indeed, it is at the heart of the response called for by the gospel. But is all that is involved?
When a person is “baptized,” what is the physical action that takes place? Many people believe that baptism can be accomplished by sprinkling or pouring water upon a person, but in the Scriptures, baptism was always an immersion.
When Ananias was sent to explain to Saul of Tarsus, the previous persecutor of the church, what he needed to do to enjoy salvation in Christ, he told Saul, “And now why do you wait? Rise and be baptized and wash away your sins, calling on his name” (Acts 22:16).
We can only imagine the excitement in Jerusalem that evening, when 3,000 believing and penitent people had been baptized into Christ and were now able to give thanks for God’s grace. And the same joy can be ours today, in just the same way.
Yielding to the Lord requires humility, but as people whose problem is rebellion, humility is what we need the most. And the initial requirements of the gospel, culminating in baptism, are a test of whether the authority of Christ is something we’re ready to accept.
The view that everyone will be saved is called “universalism.” Most of us will have a knee-jerk reaction to universalism, either for it or against it, but setting aside our predispositions, what did Jesus and His apostles teach about eternity?
What God has predetermined is that any who will confess their faith, repent of their sins, and be baptized into Christ will be a part of the people whom He has chosen. May we thank Him for giving us this choice. It was an act of sheer grace on His part.
The bottom line is freedom of the will. We are free to choose whether we’ll obey the gospel or not. But having decided to obey, our freedom doesn’t stop at our conversion. At any time, we are free to change our minds and go back to being lost.
Our feelings about our salvation are notoriously fickle; sometimes they err on the low side and sometimes on the high. But God’s promise can be counted on — and the only thing we know about God’s promise is what we find in the Scriptures.