Many people talk about Jesus Christ. In fact, there are numerous myths and stories circulating out in the world about Him, so how can we know what is true and what isn’t?
We are left with the Holy Bible that tells us about God and the ministry of Jesus Christ on earth. We know that the words within its pages are true because they are inspired by the Holy Spirit and given to us to help us know Jesus and live in a way that honors God. We can learn more about Him and come to know Him through the Bible, but not only that, we can come to know Jesus personally by being saved and giving our lives to Jesus.
So what is salvation?
You may have heard people throw around the word “salvation” before but not really know what it means. Salvation is the point that you ask Jesus to be your Lord and Savior. John 3:16 tells us that “God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son that whosoever believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.” What that means is that God wanted to create a way for us to live with Him. When God created the world, it was much different than it is now. He created Adam and Eve and placed them in a Garden called Eden.
The Garden was lush and bountiful. Adam and Eve had all of their needs provided for and were given dominion over the plants and the animals. Adam and Eve also had a special relationship with God. God walked with them and communed in the Garden. Adam and Eve did not know about sorrow or suffering because the world that God created was perfect. However, while in the Garden of Eden, Eve was tempted by a crafty serpent (Satan) to eat fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. God had given them permission to eat from any other tree, but one. However, Eve wanted the knowledge she would have when she ate from this tree, so she disobeyed God and ate the fruit. She also encouraged Adam to do the same.
With their actions, sin entered the world. Adam and Eve were aware of their nakedness and banished from the Garden. Because of their actions, they suffered various consequences, and all of the problems we now have in our world originated with their disobedience: sickness, suffering, sorrow, death, just to name a few. Their actions also broke the relationship they had with God. Their sin caused them to be separated from Him and brought death to their spirits. They were no longer able to relate to Him in the way that they had.
However, God did not leave humanity in the state. He had a plan to restore the relationship of humanity back to Himself. While the people in the Old Testament had to follow certain rituals to be cleansed of their sin, we now have Jesus Christ to cleanse us of our sin. God sent His son Jesus Christ to earth to restore us back to Him and make a way for us to be in relationship with Him once again.
Jesus was put to death on a cross, and when He died, He took the punishment for our sin so that we might have life. After He died on a cross, He rose again after three days and went to live with the Father. When we put our faith in Jesus Christ, He restores our broken relationship with God and makes it possible for us to be forgiven of all of our sins — past, present and future. He makes it possible for us no longer be dead in our spirits because of our sin, but alive in Him and able to hear God and talk with Him whenever we choose.
Salvation is really just the beginning. Salvation ushers us into a personal relationship with God where He renews us from the inside out and teaches us how to do life in a way that is God-honoring and superior to our own self-made coping strategies.
How can I be saved?
The Bible is clear that anyone can approach Jesus and be saved. John 6:37 tells us, “All those the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away.” While other religions may emphasize that you have to do certain things to be good enough to earn eternal life, Christianity is different. The Bible says that all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23).
What that means is that even on our very best days, we can’t earn our way to salvation or perform well enough to earn what Jesus offers. Salvation is a gift that we do not have to work for. Likewise, Jesus is not exclusive. He doesn’t say that you are only welcome if you are rich, talented, or good-looking. You may have made terrible mistakes in your life, be rejected by most of the people you know — and feel like you have absolutely nothing to offer, and Jesus says, “I want you anyway.”
To accept the free gift of salvation, all you have to do is confess that you are a sinner, believe that Jesus is the Son of God and ask Him to be your personal Savior. Acts 16:31 says, “Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved.” Similarly, Romans 10:9 says, “If you declare with you mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.”
At the moment you believe and ask Jesus to be your personal Savior, Jesus will make it possible for your spirit — dead in sin — to be cleansed and become alive in Him. The Holy Spirit will come and dwell in you at the moment of your conversion. As you grow in your walk with Christ, the Holy Spirit will help to convict you of wrong choices, discern what decisions you should make, comfort you, and teach you in the ways of God.
If you would life to receive the gift of salvation, you can pray right now to receive Him! The Bible tells us that heaven rejoices whenever someone accepts Jesus! Pray the following simple prayer:
Dear Jesus, I admit that I am a sinner, and I am in need of you. Please forgive me for the ways I have walked away from you. I believe that you are the Son of God and that you died for my sins. I ask that you come into my life, cleanse me from my sins, and teach me how to walk in your ways. I thank you for your work on the cross and your love for me. Amen.
What are my next steps?
Salvation is the first step to your new life in Christ. However, there is much to learn about this new faith walk that you have embarked on. We encourage you to go and get plugged in to a church in your area so that you can learn more about God and have the help and support of other believers. There are many great churches out there, and you may have to try a few to find one you like. You may feel a little awkward and out of place at first, but that’s OK. Most churches have a Welcome Center and resources for new believers to help teach you about the basic principles of Christianity and Jesus’ teachings.
Unfortunately, there are many churches out there that claim to be following Jesus that are not. The Bible warns us to watch our for false teachers. How can we spot those? When looking for a church, make sure to look for one that believes in the Bible as the inspired Word of God, believes in the Trinity (God the Father, God the Son, and the Holy Spirit), and believes in Jesus Christ as the only way to salvation. Also, it’s important to read the Bible for yourself and compare what you hear by teachers and pastors with the Word of God. As you begin to read the words in Scripture, you will come to know God better, know how to handle different situations in life, and also know how to discern His will for your life. There are many Christian writers and devotional sites that aim to help people in their faith walk (such as this one) that offer free resources and encouragement. A few that I would recommend include Crosswalk.com, Charisma, Proverbs 31 Ministries, Joyce Meyer Ministries, A Holy Experience, etc.
If you know a pastor or a mature Christian believer (someone who has been a believer for a long time and is firm in living out the principles in the Bible), ask that person to mentor you as you begin your Christian walk. Satan will try to pull you into your old ways and old lifestyle, and you will need support in your new walk, so you are able to resist his schemes.