The most important question in life is the question of eternity. Every human being will live forever. Those who are saved will live forever in the sweetness of heaven. Those who are lost will live forever in the awfulness of hell.
So how does a man get saved? How does he avoid eternal punishment in hell? How can he be sure that he will be among the happy souls in heaven?
The Bible lays out six things which God requires for salvation. All are aspects of the path of faith, yet they are treated as unique matters of spiritual exercise. If a man refuses to submit to any of these points, he has rejected the way of faith and chosen his own way — the way of unbelief.
1) You must confess that you are a guilty sinner.
There is no solution if you don’t understand the problem. Romans 3:23 says, “All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.” Isaiah 53:6 adds, “We have all gone astray like sheep. We have all turned to our own way.” Furthermore, you are not merely in danger of eternal damnation, you are already condemned. John 3:18-19 says, “He that does not believe is already condemned … this is the condemnation … men loved darkness rather than light.”
2) You must forsake all confidence in good works and religion.
If you trust in good works, you are rejecting God’s way of salvation. Ephesians 2:8-9 says, “By grace are you saved through faith … not by works, so no man can boast.” Romans 11:6 adds, “If by works, then it is no longer by grace.” Furthermore, trusting in your own good works is presenting garbage to God. Isaiah 64:6 says, “All our righteousnesses are as filthy rags.”
3) You must repent of everything in your life that you know is sin.
Repentance is owning your sins for what they really are — rebellion against God — and forsaking them. Ezekiel 33:11 says, “I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked man, but [desire] that he turn from his way and live. Turn from your evil ways, for why will you die?” Acts 3:19 says, “Repent therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out.” In Matthew 7:21-23 we find an awful warning for those that make a profession of faith, yet never forsake their sins. “Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in your name, cast out devils in your name, and in your name done many wonderful works? And then I will profess unto them, I never knew you. Depart from me you workers of iniquity.”
4) You must trust in God’s goodness and love.
God has amazing plans for all who trust in him. Jeremiah 29:11 says, “I know the plans that I have for you, says the Lord, plans for good and not evil, to give you a future and a hope.” John 3:16 says, “God so loved the world that he gave his only-begotten son, that whosoever believes on him should not perish but have everlasting life.” These plans depend on you making the exchange of faith — giving up the pleasures of sin for a season and following the Lord Jesus in the pathway of faith, so you can have pleasures forevermore at the Father’s right hand (Heb. 11:6-26 and Ps. 16:11).
5) You must believe on Jesus as the only way of salvation.
He is not a way or the best way of salvation. He is the only way. John 14:6 says, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No man comes unto the Father, but through me.” Acts 4: 12 adds, “Neither is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men, whereby we may be saved.” Jesus is the eternal Son of God, born into this world as a true man to die on the cross, that he should be an infinite and perfect sacrifice for sin, sufficient for all mankind and efficient to all who believe (John 5:18, 1 Tim. 3:16, 1 Tim. 1:15, John 1:29, 1 Tim. 4:10).
6) You must be born-again.
John 3:7 says, “You must be born-again.” This isn’t something you must do. It is God renewing, washing, and residing in your heart by his Holy Spirit. If you sincerely believe the gospel message of salvation in the Lord Jesus, God will regenerate your heart with the new birth and seal you as his own. John 6:37 says, “He that comes to me I will not cast out.” (Tit. 3:5, Eph. 1:13-14, 1 Pet. 1:23, 2 Cor. 1:22, John 1:12-13). Those that really are born again will manifest unmistakable evidence of new life. They will be changed (2 Cor. 5:17), they will overcome (1 John 5:4), and they will live right (1 John 2:29).
The six points in summary:
- Admit you are a sinner
- Stop trusting good works and religion
- Repent of your sins (forsake them)
- Trust in God’s goodness
- Believe on Jesus as the way of salvation
- Receive the new birth
Don’t delay your decision.
2 Corinthians 6:2 says, “Behold, now is the right time. Behold now is the day of salvation.” Isaiah 55:6-7 says, “Seek the LORD while he may be found, call upon him while he is near. Let the wicked forsake his way … let him return unto the LORD, for he will have mercy upon him … he will abundantly pardon.”