Tuesday, October 02, 2012

The Way to Salvation According to the Bible

Jesus placed something on my heart and I want to share it with everyone. I’ve mentioned recently that it is a writer’s call to shine the light on God’s word and point their reader toward Jesus Christ. That our words are important and we must use them wisely. More and more I feel God speaking to my heart and telling me that I need to be bolder in my testimony and share plainly the gospel that is preached in the Holy Scriptures. If I ask that other writers do this, then I have to hold myself to the same standard. I find it’s easy to think, “Someone else will say it better, or clearer. “ But the truth is we are all called to testify. And the most important thing to share is that Jesus Christ is the Son of God made flesh, and it’s through Him alone that we are saved. The scriptures are plain in how we come to this Salvation, but for many it is still unknown, so I want to share it now in hope that it will touch someone’s heart for Jesus and bring glory to His name.

What does the Bible say is the way to salvation?

That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek; for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. - Romans 10: 9-13 KJV (all Bible references used are from the KJV)

Okay, so what are the steps outlined in the word of God?

Step 1. Come unto Me

Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. - Matthew 11:28
Isaiah 55:3,   Revelation 3:20,   Mark 10:14

I explained this to a young friend recently by sharing an example using my nephew who’s not quite 2 years old. Brock gets very excited when playing and when he’s really distracted by something fun, it can be hard to get his attention. Many times I’ll say, “Brock, come here, come see me.” I’ll repeat it multiple times, opening my arms to encourage him to come to me for a hug. But when he’s having so much fun in his own little world, he’s reluctant to stop what he’s playing and come greet me and give me a hug. We are called to be like little children. In fact we’re called God’s children. I see this first step much like Brock and I. We are the child that’s distracted by the world and our own interests. But Jesus continually calls to us, “Come to Me, come see Me, come share in my Love for you.” So why is this a step? Because it’s the first action we take to making that commitment. We come to Him.
Step 2. Faith
We’ve come to Jesus, we’re standing before Him and now we have to choose. Do we believe His message? Do we find hope in Him? Then we must chose to believe and have faith that the hope of forgiveness and eternal life He offers is real. We choose to have faith.
Step 3. Repentance
For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; - Roamans 3:23
Because Adam sinned, he was removed from the presence of God and the plan of salvation was shown to him so that he could come back into God’s presence. His original sin caused all of us to be born into sin as well. It doesn’t matter if we think we’re a good person or not, it’s not our opinion that matters. Jesus is the only one that is pure and Holy enough to see where sin lies, and Jesus is the only one that can wash it away as if it was never there.
Repentance is necessary because all have sinned and we are commanded to repent.  If we have already come to Jesus and chose faith in Him and in His word then we have already seen and felt the sin our lives and have chosen to obey His command to repent; to turn away from our sin and not go back to it.
Step 4. Baptism by Water
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 2:38
Baptism of water is required. It’s not optional. We’re even told how to do it. We’re buried in the water, and then brought out again as a symbol of Jesus death for our sins and His conquering death by rising again. This baptism of water is what washes away our sins that we have repented of and turned away from. With this baptism of water we’re made a new person, whole and clean in Jesus. Our covenant has been made – we give Jesus all our sins and commit our lives to Him and His calling. In return He grants us salvation and eternal life. John the Baptist was called by God from birth and given authority from God to baptize in Jesus name for remission of sins. We must also be baptized in the name of Jesus by one called and given authority.
Step 5. Baptism of The Holy Ghost

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: And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. – Mark 3:16-17
Baptism is in two parts, the first is our act of submission to Jesus to receive remission of our sins. The second part is to receive the gift He promised to all who believe on Him – the gift of the Holy Ghost. Jesus places His spirit within us to give us direction and keep us in tune with Him so that we will not turn back to our old ways. We may still stumble in our lives, but the Holy Ghost is present to show us when we fail and to encourage us to turn back to God. We could not live this new life in Jesus on our own, we need the gift of His Holy Spirit to help us and make us stronger. This gift is given by the laying on of hands by a minister called by Jesus and given authority by Him to administer both baptisms of water and Fire (Holy Ghost).
Step 6. New in Christ, Enduring to the End

Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: - Romans 5:1
The dictionary defines Justified as: to declare innocent or guiltless; absolve; acquit. Our Faith in Jesus, our acceptance and belief in Jesus is what has made us innocent, or absolved of our sins. Does this mean works are not required?
No. Now that we are a new person in Jesus, our lives must reflect that. Not because doing all these good things will save us. We’re already saved. Instead it is because the Spirit God directs us to live and act for Jesus, in turn working to do good things for Jesus out of our love for Him and our desire to serve Him. So works are required as part of our journey in salvation because it is a part of who we are when we are made new in Jesus Christ.  It’s also counted to us as righteousness.
Jesus showed works of the Father as a witness to others and to draw them to believe in God. Since we’re called to be like Jesus, our lives have to also reflect the works of God.  
Step 7. Resurrection from the Dead

At the end of this life and the beginning of the Millennial Reign, we’ll see a resurrection of the just, or all those who have covenanted with Jesus Christ. At the end of the 1,000 year reign, the resurrection of the unjust will bring those who chose evil to stand before the judgment seat of God.
Step 8. Eternal Judgment and Eternal Life
The final fruition of Jesus’ promise to those who choose Him, the blood of Jesus has washed us clean and at that final Judgment we’re granted the ultimate prize, Eternal Life with Jesus Christ. To eternally be in the presence of God.
Salvation is a beautiful plan, perfect because God is perfect. He sent His only Son Jesus to fulfill a temporal law that no one else could ever have kept perfectly. He lived as an example and a beacon of light to the world and then sacrificed Himself on the cross, taking the punishment for an entire world of sin. Then Jesus conquered death and rose again to live forever, thereby offering us a way to also join Him in God’s presence.
God is just, He is perfect and He cannot lie. He has promised the opportunity of Salvation to all souls. What about those who die without the chance to come unto Christ and be saved? God has not forgotten them either.
A Second Wittness:
For those unfamiliar with the Book of Mormon, it is a record of God’s people in the land of the America’s and Jesus visitation to them after His ascension out of Jerusalem. They are part of the ‘other sheep not of this fold’ that Jesus speaks of in John 10:16.  It was Divinely kept through history and then revealed and translated by Divine inspiration by Joseph Smith Jr. It is not a new Bible, nor does it replace the Bible. Instead, it is a beautiful second witness to the truth in the Bible. It confirms the same plan of salvation listed above and proclaims Jesus as the Son of God made flesh, the only way to salvation.
And now my beloved brethren, I would that ye should come unto Christ, which is the Holy One of Israel, and partake of His salvation and the power of His redemption; - Omni 1:46
'And moreover, I say unto you that there shall be no other name given, nor no other way nor means whereby salvation can come unto the children of men- Only in and through the name of Christ, the Lord Omnipotent. - Mosiah 1:116
"Therefore, I would that ye should be steadfast and immovable, always abounding in good works, That Christ, the Lord God Omnipotent, may seal you His, That you may be brought to heaven, That ye may have everlasting salvation and eternal life through the wisdom and power and justice and mercy of Him who created all things in heaven and in earth, who is God above all. Amen." - Moroni 3:21
If you would like to learn more about this second witness of Jesus Christ through the Book of Mormon, fell free to contact me. I invite you to read it with an open heart, praying that God will show you the truth.
Now I, Moroni, write somewhat as seemeth me good; And I write unto my brethren the Lamanites, And I would that they should know that more than four hundred and twenty years have passed away since the sign was given of the coming of Christ; And I seal up these records after that I have spoken a few words by way of exhortation unto you. Behold, I would exhort you that when ye shall read these things-if it be wisdom in God that ye should read them-That ye would remember how merciful the Lord hath been unto the children of men from the creation of Adam, even down until the time that ye shall receive these things, And ponder it in your hearts, And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true;  And if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, And He will manifest the ctruth of it unto you by the power of the Holy Ghost; And by the power of the Holy Ghost, ye may know the truth of all things;  And whatsoever thing is good, is just and true; Wherefore, nothing that is good denieth the Christ, but acknowledgeth that He is. And ye may know that He is by the power of the Holy Ghost; Wherefore, I would exhort you that ye deny not the power of God; For He worketh by power according to the faith of the children of men, the same today and tomorrow and forever. - Moroni 10:1-7

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