"For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God." (1 Cor 1:18)
ARE YOU SAVED AND GOING TO HEAVEN?
You have heard many talking about the "steps" to salvation and I believe there are thousands of websites telling us all "what we must do to be saved". But only "you" can know for certain. Your salvation is between you and the Lord. Jesus said "Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them" (Matt 7:20). So I believe what Jesus tells us but we see 'self-proclaimed' Christians acting like the world at times? Yes, it happens often. I stumble also at times, and I repent of my actions. Jesus is still working on me even though I know I am saved and secure. The Bible reads "be ye holy for I am holy" (1 Pet 1:15-16). You and I want to be pleasing to the Lord. But if one continues to live for this world, and ignore God on a daily basis, 'there may be a problem'. The Bible says, "Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you," (1 Cor 6:17). That is difficult for many to do since the devil is always dangling things before our eyes (i.e. wealth, popularity, fame, etc.). Satan, is always seeking to destroy us. "Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:" (1 Pet 5:8).
Now that you have read this far, allow me to ask you a few questions: Just 5 minutes:
1. Do you believe you (and everyone) are going to heaven because God loves you?
2. Do you believe you're going to heaven because you were sprinkled with water as a child?
3. Do you believe you're going to heaven because you have done more good things than bad?
4. Do you believe that you can work it all out when you die?
Let's see if we can answer these questions by the following short paragraphs:
One of the most convicting verses in the Bible is Mark 8:28.
"Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of his Father with the holy angels." Are you ashamed of the name of Jesus?
If you have NOT received Christ as you Lord and Savior (John 1:12), you will NOT go to heaven. We receive Jesus by "faith alone". "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast" (Eph 2:8-9). So the sprinkling of an infant is nothing but a ritual or a religious event. When we "receive Christ" (born again), baptism should be the first thing on your mind. We want to identify ourselves with our Savior. If one does not want to be baptized, there might be a problem with faith (2 Cor 13:5).
Does God love us? Yes, God loves us because He sent His Son as a sacrifice for our sins. "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life" (John 3:16). God wants 'none' to perish. "The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance" (2 Pet 3:9). Just because a person says "I believe in God" doesn't guarantee the he or she will go to heaven. Jesus said "except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish" (Luke 13:3). Even the devils believe there is a God (James 2:19). One must be "born again" (John 3:3, 7). We are Not talking about baptism here, although baptism is important (afterwards) (Acts 8:36-37 KJV). This is about surrendering your life to Christ, admit you're a sinner, and asking Him into your heart. It's about "living for Christ". Jesus said "Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God" (John 3:3). He told this to Nicodemus, a wise ruler.
I heard it said, belief in Christ is like a parachute. If one jumps from an airplane high in the air without a parachute, they will perish. Even though they believed that the parachute would save their life, if they didn't 'put it on', it was useless. We must 'put Jesus on' in a manner of speaking. "But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof" (Rom 13:14).
We must live for Him and trust Him. And that is part of "receiving Him". One cannot continue in the same sinful lifestyle and expect forgiveness. Jesus forgives sins but one must "turn" away from their sins. Repent. Saying it again: Salvation is something that we cannot work for. It is a 'gift'. "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast" (Eph 2:8-9). It is trusting the ONE who died for our sins, rose again and is sitting on His throne in heaven. That One is Jesus Christ, the Son of God who was sent here to save us. Salvation is not about "simply speaking words" but knowing Jesus. It is about 'trusting Him'. "And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent" (John 17:3). It's NOT automatic. Again, we must "receive Him" by faith. "But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:" (John 1:12).
Salvation is NOT a formula that we must obey, it's about a Person to know and love.