I want to take a moment here and recap the first two steps, because they are the building blocks for what follows.
Step 1: Recognize that you are a sinner.
Romans 3:23 says, “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” It doesn’t say everyone but a few. It doesn’t say one or two have the glory of God. It says ALL have sinned.
Step 2: Repent of your sin.
Repentance is the act of confessing sin and dying to it. Once this decision is made, we are called to die to the sin. Once this is done, you realize that you can do nothing to earn salvation from your sin. Romans 6:23 “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life”
Now for Step 3: Salvation
“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 it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by confessing with your mouth that you are saved”…For “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” – Romans 10:9-10;13
Salvation comes from one source, the sacrifice of Jesus, God’s only son. Many preachers and believers believe it is a simple formulaic prayer recited which gives eternal salvation. That wasn’t the case in Biblical times, and it isn’t the case today. There is nothing simple about salvation. It is a huge undertaking which places you in danger. Danger of being ostracized by friends and family, danger which places cross-hairs on you by peers and co-workers who know you limit your decisions and options by choosing to follow Christ, danger which could present physical harm as in the shootings in Littleton, CO and Wedgewood Baptist in Fort Worth, TX.
This danger is the least of a new believer’s worries, for if God is with you, who could stand against you? The bigger fear should stem from the responsibility placed on followers of Christ. The new decision requires a public declaration of faith which holds one accountable for all future actions. It commissions the believer to share the Gospel with all nations. It requires the believer to shed their sin, and grow in a deeper relationship with Jesus and God.
The trade-offs are amazing, however. The closer the believer gets to God, the less they rely on their flawed self and learn to rely on the one true and perfect God. They learn that to live means growing closer to Christ, and to die is to gain eternal life.
All of this and more awaits the new believer with two steps to go!