The Plan of Salvation
The Bible is very clear about what it takes to become a Christian, a child of God. Here is the simple plan revealed in God's word:
Step 1: We Must HEAR the message of the good news (the gospel), the Word of God.
Without first hearing the word of God we would never know we are sinners and that the "wages of sin" is death (Rom. 3:23 and Rom. 6:23). Without hearing we wouldn't know of Jesus' sacrifice for our sins and our need for him.
Step 2: We Must BELIEVE the good news.
Merely hearing the word of God doesn't save. We must believe what we hear or we are not likely to obey the Bible's commands. In John 8:24 Jesus says, "...if ye believe not that I am He, ye shall die in your sins." But belief is not enough. In Matt 7:21 we learn that just declaring our belief is not enough - we must "do" what God demands.
Step 3: We Must REPENT of Our Sins
Sin is what separates us from God (Isaiah 59:2). Therefore, if we intend to seek God's forgiveness, we must be willing to repent of our sins. Repentence means "turning away from sin" and making the effort to sin no more. If we aren't willing to repent of our sins, we cannot be saved (Acts 3:19; Luke 13:3).
Step 4: We Must CONFESS Our Belief that Jesus is the Divine Son of God.
Those that wish to be saved must confess their faith in Jesus. It was Jesus Christ himself who said, "Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven" (Matt. 10:32; 1 John 4:15).
Step 5: We Must Be BAPTIZED (immersed) in water for the remission of our sins.
There is considerable religious confusion about the subject of baptism. Some baptize (sprinkle) babies, misunderstanding what the Bible teaches about the innocence of children and the proper subjects of baptism (adults who have sinned). Some think baptism isn't necessary, believing incorrectly that one is saved before they are baptized. Because of the importance of this subject, more information will be found on baptism in other places on this site. But for now, just notice these passages about baptism:
1. Baptism is "for the remission of sins" (Acts 2:38).
2. Baptism shows a good conscience to God (1 Pet. 3:21)
3. Baptism washes away sins (Acts 22:16; 1 Cor. 6:11).
4. Baptism gives entry "into" Christ (Rom. 6:3; Gal 3:27)
In other words, our sins are not washed away, and we are not "in Christ" until we are baptized. Since baptism is for the forgiveness of sins (Acts 2:38), we are still in our sins (and lost) until we are baptized. We should also realize that baptism is a burial or immersion--not sprinkling (Rom. 6:3-4) and baptism is for believers, not infants (Mark 16:16).
Step 6: We Must Remain FAITHFUL
While baptism puts us into Christ and washes away our sins, we must still be obedient and faithful to God, otherwise, we will lose our souls. The Bible tells us "Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life" (Revelation 2:10). Some suggest that once we are saved, we cannot be lost. Doesn't that contradict what Hebrews 6:4-6 says?
Check out the verses above with your own Bible, pray to God for understanding, and please give this some serious thought.
Your soul depends on it!