So... how am I saved?
In our world today we are faced with many questions. The most important of which (I think) is "am I on God's team, or that other one's team?*" In other words, am I going to Heaven when I die, or not? In order to live this life to the fullest, right yourself with God, and live on in Heaven, you must of course be "saved." Our American culture is good at throwing many different ideas at us regarding spirituality. We have New Age religions telling us that God is everything and everywhere. We have atheism telling us that there isn't a God anyway, so stop trying to live out your Faith. We have relativism telling us that there are many different paths up the mountain. But only 1 religion telling us that Jesus Christ is the only way up that mountain.
If you are ready (or have been thinking about) playing for the winning team, then this post is for you. You don't have to wonder anymore if death is permanent, where you will end up, or that there must be 'something more to this thing called life.' We are conditioned to take in information in list format. Example: 10 ways to improve your life, or maybe the top 5 things you can do to improve your marriage, etc. Committing to God is not just another list, but I will outline the basics below in just such a format, simply because we are so used to seeing things this way. I think it will help.
1.) Acknowledge Sin
Let God know that you just may have fallen short of His perfection, and that you just may have certain sins in your life that need forgiven.
2.) Say the Prayer
Romans 10:9 tells us "If you confess with your mouth, 'Jesus is Lord,' and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved." Pray the following prayer, or something like it: God, I know that I have sinned against you and deserve punishment. But Jesus Christ took the punishment that I deserve so that through faith in Him I could be forgiven. I place my trust in You for salvation. Thank You for Your wonderful grace and forgiveness. The exact wording is not important, but the sentiment is.
3.) Become Baptised
This one is controversial. People argue over what type of baptism saves, when to do it, who can do it, etc. Many contest that being baptised itself is just a ritual, and that accepting Christ is the key. I can only re-produce here what I think the Bible tells us; that disciples are to go forward, baptising in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. I will not argue about how important baptism is or isn't, or in what order it needs done. Only to say that God feels it is important, so we should also.
Once we have acknowledged sin in our life, and accepted Christ to save us from this sin, we then need to stop indulging ourselves in those sins from which we have been delivered. This is only common sense. Now the good news is that we receive help from God with this. It isn't just up to us, and in fact it is usually a process. This is called sanctification, and occurs over time. But there is ALWAYS a personal choice involved. We can reject the Holy Spirit at any given time and fall back into sin in any situation. But fortunately, if we are saved, we can pick ourselves back up, ask for forgiveness again, and get on with our lives. We need not be slaves to sin any longer. Our debt has been paid in full by Christ.
I would add one last thing, though this is just my opinion. If you have done these things, don't stop there and keep it private. Get yourself into a Bible believing church. Ask God to show you which one - He will. Continue to grow in your Faith alongside others who have chosen the same path to salvation that you have. Enjoy the ride, you will marvel one day at the before and after story!
* We are speaking here of the devil of course. Many consider him to be a symbolic representation of evil, and as real as the tooth fairy. If we really believe this though, we must offer a good alternate answer to evil and suffering in the world. Somehow "human nature" just doesn't cut the mustard here. The Bible tells us that the devil is a real and literal being.