How does someone "get saved"?
How do I know if I'm saved?
What does it mean to be "born again"?
"For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life."
~ John 3:16 (NKJV)
The Christian life involves many steps of believing—of faith. Exactly which step assures that a person has been eternally saved from sin's death penalty and been born again as a child of God, becoming an heir to everlasting life and all of God's spiritual gifts?
Consider skydiving, which requires faith in a parachute.
A first step of faith is skydiving lessons. Other necessary steps are putting on the parachute and getting in the airplane. Depending on the skydiving school and rules involved, a person may take other steps of faith such as being harnessed to an instructor (for a beginner's tandem jump), attaching a line to the airplane (for a static line jump), or walking out onto the wing.
None of these steps proves faith in the parachute. When the moment of truth arrives, a few people decide to make the trip back down in the plane rather than release the plane. A person may have claimed to believe in the parachute, and may have even taken some steps to demonstrate it, but they never actually put faith in the parachute.
The person who does jump out of the plane has no recourse in the airplane, nor in an ability to sprout wings and fly, nor in forgiveness from gravity. For better or for worse, for life or for death, all reliance—all faith—has been placed in the parachute.
Sometimes "rely" is a more active word than "believe" and a more tangible word than "faith."
Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead.
~ 2 Corinthians 1:9 (ESV)
Believing in Jesus involves a number of steps of faith. Various denominations emphasize different steps. The Bible (God's Word) describes two defining steps of faith:
If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.
~ Romans 10:9-10 (ESV)
God accepts neither "claim" or false confession. To confess "Jesus is Lord" is to truthfully testify that Jesus is Lord and God of my life. To believe Jesus is raised from the dead is to transfer my reliance upon things which are seen but dying and put my reliance upon the unseen yet living Jesus.
“The cross isn’t just something God did. The cross is the very essence of who God is.”
~ Robert Mulholland
Being born again acclaims not merely me and what I get, but most especially Jesus and what He gives.
For if we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. Therefore, whether we live or die, we are the Lord's. For to this end Christ died and rose and lived again, that He might be Lord of both the dead and the living.
~ Romans 14:8-9 (NKJV)
When Jesus is Lord of my life, I receive His resurrection life. And I have assurance that I have been saved from sin and sin's penalty of Hell because I have the heart of a new creature.
Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
~ 2 Corinthians 5:17 (KJV)
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This is the first in a series on Christianity Basics, to include topics such as
"What is the Holy Spirit?"
"Why are Christians Hypocrites?"
"What is Holiness?"
"What Should a Christian Look Like?"
"Why Hasn't Christianity Worked for Me?"
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Copyright 2013, Anne Lang Bundy, all rights reserved.
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