So how can I be saved? You say it is so easy to become saved then tell me how to get saved. The answer lies in verses like the following.
Now the question, what does being "born again" really mean?
Many people think that being born again is "Body to Spirit". That you turn your earthly and fleshy body over to God. That's not what "born again" means. What born again means is that your spirit, or your soul, the very essence of your being, is given over completely to our loving Father. You give and dedicate your soul to God. It is your spirit joining his spirit. And you do this by completely surrendering your life up to his Son, Jesus Christ.
In order to get salvation you must in your own heart truly believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, and as God he stepped out of heaven and took the form of man and came to earth to die on the cross at Calvary, and that the blood that he shed on the cross allowed you to have your sins forgiven. You must repent your sins and you must also ask God to forgive you of those sins. If you can do those few simple things, and at the same time accept the death of Jesus Christ as full payment for all of your sins, both past, present, and in the future, then you will be born again, and from that moment on you will have eternal salvation.
As you can see, being born again is not just a matter of accepting Jesus in some emotion filled revival meeting, nor is it a matter of just joining a church. Rather, it is a matter of being fully surrendered to the God of the Bible through a personal relationship with the true Jesus Christ. It is a matter of a person genuinely yielding his heart, mind, and will so that the living Jesus Christ can fully live his life inside that individual. Being born again is the full and complete belief, trust, and surrender to Jesus Christ.
Each and every one of us needs to be born again.
Unfortunately, every member of the human race has inherited Adam's rotten sin nature at birth, making each of us what Adam was -- a disobedient rebel that was prone to sin. This old nature within us makes us lie, cheat, swear, and desire sin. You may say that you have absolutely nothing in common with Adam or his sin. That he was born thousands of years ago and there is no connection between you and him and that so called inherited sin. But ask yourself this question regarding that sin. Where would you be if Adam never had any children?
So our ability and desire to sin has been passed down to each and every human being who has ever been born. One is not a sinner because he sins. He sins because he is a sinner. That's what the psalmist meant in Psalms 51:5 "Behold, I was formed in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me."
The "iniquity" in Psalms 51:5 refers to the old nature formed within one at conception. This old nature contains all the germs of every known sin. That's why God declares in Psalms 58:3,4, "The wicked are estranged from the womb: they go astray as soon as they be born, speaking lies. Their poison is like the poison of a serpent."
So we all are born into this world stained with sin and completely unworthy to be a child of God. And there lies the purpose of being born again. Because when we are "born again" we are asking Jesus Christ to use his precious shed blood to completely wash away all of our sins. And once our sins are washed away then we are able to come to God and have communion with him. Now we become a true child of God's.
You as a human being cannot begin to grow physically until you are born. And so to, you cannot begin to grow spiritually until you are born spiritually. Each and every person has the opportunity to be born twice. Likewise, for each person there can also be two deaths.
Belief in Jesus
What does "belief in Jesus" really mean? If you believe in something then you truly believe that it is right, that it is true. So if you believe in Jesus then you believe everything that he said, did, and taught. It means that you will follow his commandments, his statutes, his directions. You believe and follow all the instructions that he gave to us because you believe that what he said was the truth. We believe him and follow him because we want to do what is right and what is Godly.
So if Jesus told us to forgive our fellow man when he wrongs us then we forgive him. When Jesus tells us not to put other gods before the Father, then we don't make things like money more important than God. When Jesus tells us to love our fellow man then we love our fellow man by putting his goodwill first and showing him respect. When Jesus tells us to repent of our sins then we put forth the effort not to commit those sins again. Belief in Jesus means that we begin to read the very Word of God to find out what his beliefs are so that we can begin to follow them.
For example, what would you think if a worker came to work and said to his boss "I'm here" and then proceeded to sit down and stare at the ceiling for the next 8 hours? You wouldn't think very much of that worker, in fact you would have to agree that he stands a good chance of being fired rather quickly. Just showing up for work and then not doing anything is not going to cut it. Nobody would want someone like that around. Salvation is similar in that you cannot just accept Jesus into your heart and then stop and do nothing else. Accepting Jesus is only the start of salvation, because as you grow in your spiritual character your obedience, your faith, and your trust in Jesus is also going to grow. You must follow Jesus because the path that Jesus is on is the one that leads to eternal salvation.
By completely surrendering and letting Jesus Christ live within us, we can develop over time, the very character of God. With Christ within, the true Christian is enabled to "grow" in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. The Christian soon becomes a genuine overcomer. For with Christ living within him, he gradually overcomes himself, the world, and satan.
Once your soul is devoted to The Father then your thoughts, your actions, your words, your deeds, your entire mind and body will follow your spirit and thus they too will also become dedicated to God the Father. It is at this time that your life begins to become Godly in nature and a whole new meaning and purpose and understanding is given to God. It is here that the born again believer begins the journey on his life long path to feed his soul with "spiritual nourishment" so that he can grow in spiritual maturity and in the correct knowledge of God. Then, as we grow, we reflect his nature in everything that we think, say and do. So through the process of being born again, our Heavenly Father can and will build within us a nature and character fit for eternal life in his soon coming kingdom.
So basically the act of being born again which leads directly to salvation can be broken down into three separate steps.
Definition of Salvation
Most people think that salvation itself is the time when you are simply living in paradise and you are in the presence of God. However the actual definition of salvation is one of being rescued. Rescued from a number of different things.
THE VERY ACT OF SALVATION IS A FREE GIFT:
"Thanks be to God for his indescribable free gift." (2 Corinthians 9:15)
Salvation is the greatest gift that mankind could possibly get. Without this gift of salvation there could be no eternal life. No chance of being with all loving God through out eternity, no chance of partaking in all the great and glorious things that he has planned for us. If you should die without salvation then you will never know the wonder and the mystery that is found in 1 Corinthians 2:9 where it says, "The eye has not seen and the ear has not heard, nor has there even been conceived in the mind of man the things that God has prepared for those that love him."
Think of this gift of salvation like a gift certificate. A friend goes to the store and buys a gift certificate. He then gives you the gift certificate and you go back to that store and you receive the merchandise, and it doesn't cost you anything. To you the merchandise is completely free.
This doesn't mean that the merchandise was originally free, because someone had to pay for it. Your friend paid for it. You received the merchandise for free when you turned in the gift certificate. Salvation is the same way. It is also a gift, but a very great price was paid for this gift. The price paid for your gift of salvation was God himself giving up all his glory, coming down to this very earth and taking the human form of Jesus Christ, and then suffering and dying on the cross. The shedding of his innocent and sinless blood was the "gift certificate" that allowed you to get the gift of salvation for free. Just think of it. God himself left heaven and came down here to go through and experience all that terrible pain and suffering just for the privilege of welcoming you into heaven. And now all you have to do to get that free gift of salvation is to simply hold out your hand and tell God that you want it, and instantly you become a child of God and are immediately born into the Kingdom of God.
There are a great many other things that God causes to happen to you at the very moment that you become saved. Some of them are:
However this does not mean that once you become saved that you will not sin anymore. No, it doesn't mean that, but it does mean that when you do sin you will be acutely aware that it is against God's wishes and how it is hurting him, and consequently you will not be able to enjoy the results of those sins, at least not like you use to.
God makes salvation completely available through Jesus Christ - and not only to specific individuals, but to all who will receive and believe in Jesus Christ as savior. Jesus made this very clear when he said, "Whoever believes in me would not perish but have everlasting life." (John 3:16) The word "whoever" includes everybody. No person is excluded from the opportunity to believe and receive everlasting life.
Then why don't we become perfect people instantly upon accepting Jesus Christ? Because we haven't matured spiritually and we don't have the capacity to accept and handle the fullness of his perfection.
Consider a new born baby. The baby has the full capacity to become a unique and very special adult. All of the genetic code necessary for the baby to grow and develop was given to the baby before its birth. There is no more genetic code that the baby is going to receive or develop as he or she grows. Rather, the child is going to grow according to the existing DNA and RNA already in place in each cell of the baby's body.
This newborn baby has the potential to be able to walk, talk, make decisions, solve problems, hold a pencil, read a book, give a speech, decipher fractions, drive a car, and display thousands of other skills. But the newborn baby doesn't manifest all of these skills immediately upon birth. Some intellectual skills are developed to coincide with physical maturity. Other skills are built upon one another like building blocks. Many skills require the copying of behavior that the child sees and experiences on a daily basis. And many of these skills must be practiced over and over before sufficient mastery is obtained.
The same is true for us spiritually. God gives us the complete and entire Holy Spirit at the time we receive Jesus Christ as our savior.
Ephesians 1:3 "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing."
But we will still need to grow up spiritually however, before we can manifest certain traits and spiritual qualities and begin to use the spiritual gifts and fruits given to us so that we can become spiritually mature individuals.
The grace of God at work in our lives unfolds to us as we mature spiritually and are able to experience it. All of God's gifts are deposited into our spiritual account when we become born again, and as we grow in Christ, we have the ability to access these riches.
Unfortunately a great many ministers and churches mislead their followers, usually unintentionally. They lead their followers to believe that now that they are saved they should suddenly become pure white saints, saints that no longer sin, that no longer stumble and fall, that no longer fail. They don't talk very much about the fact that being saved is only the first step in a life long experience of study and learning, and that much prayer and mediation is going to be required in order to grow spiritually. That their followers are going to be needing Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit in their lives every second of every day.
The following few verses show how salvation is obtained and how important Jesus Christ is to salvation.
1 John 5:11-12----And this is the witness given, that God gave us everlasting life, and this life is in his Son. He that has the Son has everlasting life. He that does not have the Son of God does not have everlasting life.
John 20:31----But these have been written down that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that because of believing, you may have eternal life by means of his name.
Ephesians 2:8-9----By this undeserved kindness, indeed, you have been saved through faith, and this not owing to you, it is God's gift."
John 3:16----For God loved the world so much that he gave his only begotten Son, in order that everyone exercising faith in him might not be destroyed but have everlasting life.
John 5:24----Most truly I say to you, he that hears my word and believes him that sent me has everlasting life, and he does not come into judgment but has passed over from death to life.
John 3:7----You people to be saved must be born again.
When Jesus said that unless a man be born again he cannot see the Kingdom of God, he was talking about a relationship. Entering into the Kingdom of God is entering into a relationship with God, and the way to enter the Kingdom of God is to accept Jesus Christ as your savior, agreeing that his substitutionary death on calvary's cross paid your sin debt in full, and asking God for the forgiveness of your sins. When you do, then you are born into a new beginning.
Once you become saved you instantly become a renewed soul, acting on new principles, by new rules, with new ends and goals, and in new company. The believer is created anew. His heart is not merely set right, but instead a new heart is given him, and where the heart is changed, the life and the actions will be changed. When we become saved our thought patterns are different, the focus of our attention is different, our conversation is different, our attitude and our outlook are different. We begin to acquire new hopes and new dreams. The center of our life is no longer what pleases me, it is now what pleases him. We are changed. The greatest desire of our life is now to do his will. The saved one is now the workmanship of God, created in and through Christ Jesus. He is immediately changed in his character and conduct.
Unlike the hardened sinner who continues to stand by and justify his sinful actions, the born again soul is greatly affected by sin and indeed now hates sin. He now rejects the things that are bad, wrong, and sinful. You who once looked upon sins with amusement, now look upon the same sins with dread; with a sickening feeling. The things you use to laugh at now causes your heart great despair.
This man who formerly saw no beauty in God, had no respect or love for him, and who rarely even thought of him, now loves him above all things. The words of 2 Corinthians 5:17 come gloriously alive. "Therefore if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things have passed away; behold, new things have come".
Do you want to know exactly what God himself said would happen to you the very second that you accepted Jesus Christ and were born again. He told you something very interesting at Ezekiel 36:26-27.
"Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put My Spirit within you".
When you believe in Jesus Christ, God The Father considers all barriers between you and him to be completely removed. Many people question whether they can ever be accepted by God. They say, "I've committed to many sins", or "I've committed a sin that is just to big to be forgiven", or "I've sinned against God after God forgave me so how could he forgive me again"? The cross that Jesus died on is God's assurance to you that you can never sin too many times or commit a sin that is to big or to terrible. You simply can not "out sin" God's loving desireto to forgive you. It's interesting but do you realize that when you ask God to forgive you of your sins there is tremendous joy in heaven. Luke 15:7 tells us,
"I tell you that there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner that repents of his sins than over ninety-nine righteous ones who have no need of repentance."
If you should ever think that your sins are to many or to terrible, please remember the following:
Three questions to ask yourself concerning God's forgiveness
Your acceptance, your trust, and your love for God the Father and for his Son Jesus Christ, is all that is required for you to be in a right relationship with God. There are no works that you must accomplish before he extends his promises of soul satisfying, life giving forgiveness. Your relationship with God is not based upon your good deeds. It is not based upon your offerings at your church or your doing a series of charitable acts of kindness or your belonging to a particular denomination. It is not based upon anything that you produce, achieve, or earn.
Rather your relationship with God is based upon belief. Your believing that Jesus Christ is God's Son, who came to the earth in human flesh, to die on the cross, and in so doing has forgiven the sins of each and every one of us. His death on the cross has given all of us the opportunity to gain eternal life. So many people live under a terrible cloud of "I hope I've done enough to please God", or they hope they've read enough of the Bible and they hope that God will forgive them. They constantly hope that they will be considered worthy of heaven.
That type of hope isn't true hope. True hope lies in saying thank you God for saving me. Thank you for loving me and for sending your Son Jesus Christ to die for me. Thank you for forgiving my sins and for sending The Holy Spirit to help me, to teach me, to guide me, and to comfort me. And this true hope that lies within the believer soon turns to true faith; true faith in Jesus Christ. It is at this point that the true believer finally realizes that things like hope, prayers, or strong desires are not faith. No longer does the believer have to beg or plead with God to save him. No longer does the believer have to worry or fret over whether he is saved or not. No longer does the true believer have to waste anxious moments worrying about his eternal future. Those questions are fully and completely answered when a believer has placed complete and total faith in the Son of God.
Your behavior and the state of your soul are two distinct and different things in God's eyes. Once you have accepted Jesus Christ as your savior and have accepted God's love and forgiveness; you are his eternally. There is nothing that can separate you from him. Romans 8:38-39 says, "Neither death nor life, nor angels nor governments, nor things now here nor things to come, nor powers nor height nor depth, nor any other creation will be able to separate you from God's love that is in Christ Jesus our Lord".
The mistakes you make and the sins you commit after you have accepted Jesus Christ do not separate you from God. He will convict your heart and mind of those sins so you can confess them, be forgiven, repent of them and make changes in your future behavior for your sake and for your good. But these sins do not separate you from God. There isn't one sin that you can commit and not be forgiven for. God tells us that over and over all through the Bible. A good example of this is found in 1 John 1:9. "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous and will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness."
Every human being is special and unique. If God loses you, you cannot be replaced. God cares for you, he is interested in you and he loves you, and you are the only one of you that he has. Your love and praise ascend to him through the uniqueness of your personality, marked with your specialness. On top of that no one can love, worship, and praise him exactly like you. He really loves and needs you, and if you think about it, you really love and need him.
Tremendous numbers of saved believers will be with the Lord in paradise and our Lord will be very happy, but his joy will be incomplete if you are missing. It was you he had in mind when he first thought of calvary and it was you he had in mind when he carried that plan through, and you were the one he was thinking about as he suffered while he was being crucified. It was you that he was thinking about as he took his final breath as he hung in excruciating pain on that cross. And it was you that he was thinking about three days later when he walked out of his tomb. He tells us this many, many times but it really strikes home at John 14:2-3 because in John 14:2 and 3, the Son of God is talking directly to YOU. "There are many rooms in my Father's home, and I am going to prepare a place for YOU. If this were not so, I would tell YOU. When everything is ready, I will come and get YOU, so that YOU will always be with me where I am".
No one else can take your place and no other will be able to heal the disappointment he will feel if you don't care enough to join him in paradise; considering he planned all this for YOU.
Still think your sins are to big or to bad to allow you to walk this very moment into the waiting arms of Jesus? If you do, then Jesus left another message for you. It has two parts. The first part tells you who will not gain entrance into heaven. The second part gives you rock solid assurance that if you confess and repent, then you can walk right into the outstretched arms of Jesus Christ this very second, and instantly have eternal peace, happiness, and assurance. The second part completely negates and cancels out the first part. And all you need to do for the second part to take effect, is to genuinely ask for forgiveness and promise repentance.
1 Corinthians 6:9-10 "Don't you know that those who do wrong will have no share in the Kingdom of God? Don't fool yourselves. Those who indulge in sexual sin, who are idol worshipers, adulterers, male prostitutes, homosexuals, thieves, greedy people, drunkards, abusers, and swindlers – none of these will have a share in the Kingdom of God."
1 Corinthians 6:11" And there was a time when some of you were just like that, but now your sins have been washed away, and you have been set apart for God. You have been made right with God because of what the Lord Jesus Christ and the Spirit of our God have done for you."
Ezekiel 33:14-16----And when I say to the wicked one, you will positively die, and he actually turns back from his sin and carries on justice and righteousness, then he will positively keep living. He will not die. None of his sins will be remembered against him.
YOU CAN'T LOSE YOUR SALVATION OR HAVE IT TAKEN AWAY,
When you were saved you turned to God. Turning to God means the you have committed your life to trusting and obeying God. In John 1:6-7 it says, "If we claim to have fellowship with Him, yet we walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, then we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son, purifies us from all sin."
According to this text, "If we walk in the darkness, then we do not live by the truth." If our heart is not repentant when we sin, if our attitude is one of disobedience to the Laws and Commandments of God, if we turn away from God, if we live a life of sin, if we decide the effort to lead a Godly life is not worth it, if the actions of our lives indicate that we no longer desire to be one of God's children, then we don't lose our salvation, and salvation isn't taken from us, but we through our own free will, take our salvation and give it back to God voluntarily. We tell God we don't want it. We give it up!!!
If you could not give up your salvation voluntarily, then once you become saved you could then go ahead and do whatever you wish. You could steal, murder, cheat, lie, never pray, reject the scriptures, lead others astray, blaspheme God from morning to night - do anything that is sinful, rebellious, and against the laws of God. And you could do all this without the slightest bit of confession or repentance.
In other words you can not walk in the darkness unrepentant and still hold onto your salvation. You are the one who decides whether to walk in the light or the darkness. God gave you the free will to make your own choices. If you decide to walk in the darkness then your salvation will not be taken away from you, nor will you lose your salvation. No, what you will do is give up your salvation, You will be telling God that your salvation "is not worth the effort it takes to walk in the light". That you do not wish to have his gift of eternal salvation. Your own free will determines whether you are going to keep your salvation or give it up. God allows your eternal future to be in your own hands.
If this was not so, then think of all the people who were saved during the early years of their lives, but became harden and unrepentant sinners as they got older. Their entrance into heaven with their hearts in that condition, would allow God haters and God rejecters, with hearts full of hate and disrespect, to come right into the very home and presence of God himself.
John 15:1-2 "I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He removes every branch in me that bears no fruit. Every branch that bears fruit he prunes to make it bear more fruit".
John 15:6 "If anyone does not abide in Me, he is thrown away as a branch, and dries up; and they gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned".
1 Corinthians 10:12 "Therefore let him who thinks he is standing, beware, that he does not fall".
2 Chronicles 15:2 "If you search for him, he will let himself be found by you; but if you leave him, he will leave you".
Romans 8:13 "For if you are living according to the flesh, you must die; but if by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body, you will live".
1 John 2:4-6 "The one who says, "I have come to know Him", and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him; but whoever keeps His word, in him the love of God has truly been perfected. By this we know that we are in Him: the one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked".
1 Timothy 4:1 "The Spirit says clearly that some people will abandon the faith in later times; they will obey lying spirits and follow the teachings of demons".
2 Timothy 2:12 "If we endure, we shall also reign with Him; If we deny Him, He also will deny us".
John 6:66-68 "As a result of this many of His disciples withdrew, and were not walking with Him anymore. Jesus said therefore to the twelve, "You do not want to go away also, do you?" Simon Peter answered Him, "Lord, to whom shall we go? It is You who has the words of eternal life".
John 15:4-6 "Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you, unless you abide in Me. "I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me, and I in him, he bears much fruit; for apart from Me you can do nothing. "If anyone does not abide in Me, he is thrown away as a branch, and dries up; and they gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned".
As you can see there are a great many verses in the Bible that refer to the believer being able to voluntarily walk away from the Lord, to take up once again that sinful life, and become unsaved. However I think the verse that hits home the hardest is the following.
1 Chronicles 28:9 "If you seek Him, He will be found by you; but if you leave Him, He will cast you off forever".
8:4 And when a great multitude were coming together, and those from the various cities were journeying to Him, He spoke by way of a parable:
8:5 "The sower went out to sow his seeds; and as he sowed, some fell beside the road; and it was trampled under foot, and the birds of the air ate it up.
8:6 "And other seeds fell on rocky soil, and as soon as it grew up, it withered away, because it had no moisture.
8:7 "And other seeds fell among the thorns; and the thorns grew up with it, and choked it out.
8:8 "And other seeds fell into the good soil, and grew up, and produced a crop a hundred times as great." As He said these things, He would call out, "He who has ears to hear, let him hear."
8:9 And His disciples began questioning Him as to what this parable might be.
8:10 And He said, "To you it has been granted to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God, but to the rest it is in parables."
8:11 "Now the parable is this: the seed is the word of God.
8:12 "And those beside the road are those who have heard; then the devil comes and takes away the word from their heart, so that they may not believe and be saved.
8:13 "And those on the rocky soil are those who, when they hear, receive the word with joy; but these have no firm root; they believe for a while, and in time of temptation fall away.
8:14 "And the seeds which fell among the thorns, these are the ones who have heard, and as they go on their way they are choked with worries and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to maturity.
8:15 "And the seeds in the good soil, these are the ones who have heard the word in an honest and good heart, and hold it fast, and bear fruit with perseverance.