Today’s post is another follow-up to a question recently asked on this website (“How Does One Enter the Kingdom of Heaven?”)
How people were saved and added to the church (kingdom of God, Christ’s body, etc.) is recorded in the book of Acts. The 9 separate conversions of the book give us the God-ordained and inspired directions about how people became Christians at the very beginning. For a list of these conversions, check out the last post (dated 12/11/2012).
For the sake of simplicity, the Biblical plan of salvation is presented below in 6 major steps. This is a general summary.
Hearing (and understanding) the Gospel.
Romans 10:13, 14; Matthew 7:24 – 27; Luke 8:20, 21; Matthew 13:15
Essentially, the Gospel is the Biblical account of the life, death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ (the Son of God) for the purpose of reconciling humanity back to God.
Believing the Gospel.
John 8:24; Hebrews 11:6; Mark 16:15, 16; John 3:16; John 20:30, 31; Romans 5:1, 2
Believe that Jesus Christ lived, died, was buried and was resurrected on the third day for the forgiveness of your sins. Develop a conviction that Jesus is the Son of God, that He is the only one who can save you from sin, spiritual death, and Hell. This conviction (faith in action) should lead you to willingly obey God.
Repenting of your sins.
Luke 13:3; II Peter 3:9; Luke 24:45 – 47; Acts 17:30; Luke 15:7
This means making the ongoing decision to turn from your sins and make the commitment not to continue to live in your sins (changes in your attitude, thoughts, behavior & lifestyle).
Confessing faith in Christ.
Matthew 10:32, 33; Romans 10:9, 10; Acts 8:36, 37
Publicly confess from your heart your belief that Jesus died for your sins and that He is your Savior and Lord.
Being baptized for the remission (forgiveness or pardon) of your sins.
Matthew 26:28; Mark 16:16; Galatians 3:27; John 3:5; Acts 2:38
Be submerged (immersed) in water for the forgiveness of your sins.
Remaining faithful unto death.
Matthew 28:18 – 20; II Peter 1:2 – 8; II Timothy 4:7, 8; I Corinthians 15:58; Ephesians 2:8 – 10; Revelation 2:10
This means live an active and faithful (committed) Christian life. As Jesus commands, the new Christian is to “observe all things whatsoever I have commanded.” The primary purpose of the books of the New Testament (from Romans to Jude) is instructing Christians in the Christian lifestyle. Living such a dedicated and sacrificial life will involve times of intense persecution and may even mean physical death.