How can I be saved?

What does being saved mean?

To understand what a Christian means when they say “being saved”, you must first know what sin is.

Sin is defined by Miriam-Webster as an offense against religious or moral law, transgression of the law of God, or a vitiated state of human nature in which the self is estranged from God.

For the purpose of this article, we will focus on the last two definitions.

Transgression of the law of God

So what is a transgression of the law of God? Put quite simply, it means disobedience of the commands God sent. In this sense, sin can be broken down into two categories.

There is the sin of comission and the sin of omission. Comission is doing something God has commanded we shouldn’t do. This would be something like murder or theft.

Sinning by omission, however, is not doing something that should be done. This would include failing to give to the needy or even helping a friend in need.

These are transgressions of the laws God has given to man.

Vitiated state of human nature in which the self is estranged from God

Huh? What does that mean? Definitions can sure get confusing, so let’s break it down.

In Genesis 3, The Bible tells the story of Adam and Eve, who are thought to be Earth’s first inhabitants. God created Adam, then seeing that he needed a helper, created Eve. They lived in a place called Eden, a paradise garden with plenty to eat and nothing to worry about.

God told Adam and Eve they could eat anything in the entire garden, except the fruit of one tree. God had created them with something called “free will”, or the ability to make their own decisions about what they do with no intervention from God.

One day, a serpent asked Eve about the one tree God said not to eat from. She told the serpent that God said if they eat from that tree they would die. The serpent then told Eve that God only said that to ensure she and Adam do not become like God.

Long story short, Eve eats the fruit then tells Adam to eat it. Having disobeyed God, both of them were banned from Eden, having been cursed with a “sinful nature”, or an inclination to disobeying God.

God and sin

God cannot be in the presence of sin. It goes against his character. It’s like an asthmatic being around cigarette smoke, but worse. God loves his creation though. He does not want anyone to miss out on a relationship with Him.

For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.

Romans 3:23 (Holman Christian Standard)

So God sent His son, Jesus, to the world to command the world to once again obey God. Knowing that man could not obey God without help, Jesus also had another mission, one that would not be revealed to the world until it was complete. Jesus was to die to pay the price of death for all sin of all time.

But God proves His own love for us in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us!

Romans 5:8 (Holman Christian Standard)

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Romans 6:23 (Holman Christian Standard)

What must I do to be saved?

Growing up, I was taught in church that all that was required to be saved was to say a short prayer and I would go to Heaven and not Hell. While the people who taught this were well-meaning, they were oversimplifying a process that requires guidance and constant attention.

The people who taught me this pulled from Romans 10:9.

if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.

Romans 10:9 (Holman Christian Standard)

Being saved is not simply saying a little prayer. It is looking to and remembering the action Jesus took in sacrificing himself for all of mankind. It involves relying on God to transform you rather than anything you can do to earn salvation.

Then Jesus said to His disciples, “I assure you: It will be hard for a rich person to enter the kingdom of heaven! Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.” When the disciples heard this, they were utterly astonished and asked, “Then who can be saved?” But Jesus looked at them and said, “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”

Matthew 19:23-26 (Holman Christian Standard)

Stop Asking Jesus Into Your Heart!

Some of the most prominent preachers and evangelists boil salvation down to a pre-written prayer sometimes called the Sinner’s Prayer. It was meant to simplify the process by adding acknowledgement of our sinful nature, recognizing the need for Jesus to atone for that sin, and committing your life to the mission Christ left His followers.

The problem with simplifying salvation to a prayer is that without following up and disciplining (mentoring) the person who prays it is people treat it like fire insurance. Too often, it’s treated as a “get out of hell free” card or a license to sin.

The Sinner’s Prayer isn’t bad, and some people who pray it are saved. But the prayer itself doesn’t provide salvation. It can’t save you, only your posture toward Jesus can do that.

How Do I Know I’ve Been Saved?

There are two key ingredients to being saved. The first is repentance. Repentance is more than asking for forgiveness, it is turning away from sin. To be saved you have to forsake your sin. Leave it like a toxic relationship and never look back.

It doesn’t mean you will never sin again, but you should never WANT to sin again. You shouldn’t be actively seeking out sin.

The second ingredient is faith. Many people mistake faith for belief. I believe in a chair. I believe it exists and I believe that it has held other people who put their entire weight on it.

Until I place my trust in the chair by transferring all of my weight onto it, I am not placing my faith in it. This is the difference between belief and faith. Until you can rest your full weight of your eternal destiny squarely on Jesus, you are not practicing faith.

Take Up Your Cross

Following Christ requires a daily commitment to live according to His teachings and to love other people enough to continue a lifelong mission to introduce others to God.

Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone wants to come with Me, he must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life because of Me will find it. What will it benefit a man if he gains the whole world yet loses his life? Or what will a man give in exchange for his life?

Matthew 16:24-26 (Holman Christian Standard)

Jesus Prayer For Us – A Prayer of Blessing and A Purpose

Jesus Prayer – Blessing, Purpose, Protection

Jesus prayer for His followers was both a blessing and a mission. It was a prayer of purpose and one of protection. Read: John 17:1-26

“After Jesus said this, he looked toward heaven and prayed:

“Father, the hour has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you. For you granted him authority over all people that he might give eternal life to all those you have given him. Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. I have brought you glory on earth by finishing the work you gave me to do. And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began.

“I have revealed you to those whom you gave me out of the world. They were yours; you gave them to me and they have obeyed your word. Now they know that everything you have given me comes from you. For I gave them the words you gave me and they accepted them. They knew with certainty that I came from you, and they believed that you sent me.

Jesus’ Prayer For Us

“I pray for them. I am not praying for the world, but for those you have given me, for they are yours. All I have is yours, and all you have is mine. And glory has come to me through them. I will remain in the world no longer, but they are still in the world, and I am coming to you.

“Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name, the name you gave me, so that they may be one as we are one. While I was with them, I protected them and kept them safe by that name you gave me. None has been lost except the one doomed to destruction so that Scripture would be fulfilled.

Not of This World

“I am coming to you now, but I say these things while I am still in the world, so that they may have the full measure of my joy within them. I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world.

“My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world. For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified.

Prayer For Future Believers

“My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me.

“I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one — I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.

We Belong to Christ

“Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world.

“Righteous Father, though the world does not know you, I know you, and they know that you have sent me. I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them.”

John Records Jesus’ Prayer

When Jesus spoke to the Father in His most intimate encounter, John recorded it in his Gospel. How fearful the disciples must have been when Jesus turned his focus from His requests for Himself to requests for His disciples.

Jesus says that as He delivered The Father’s message to His disciples, so he sends them into the world to continue his work.

Jesus then continues to pray a prayer of protection for all Christians, present and future.

Our Work Isn’t Finished

Our work continues to this day. We are to deliver God’s message of hope and salvation to a world doomed to destruction. Jesus has even prayed for us in this mission. Do you continue to fulfill the Great Commission, or have you considered your job finished in the matter?

“My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message…” John 17:20

Jesus Savior The World Needed – Not The Savior The World Wanted

Jesus Savior of Sinners and Tax Collectors Alike

Jesus savior of all people, from sinners to tax collectors, and even executioners, visits Jericho. He runs across Zacchaeus who was one of the least well thought of citizens.
Zacchaeus was a tax collector for Caesar. The profession was known for cheating people by overcharging taxes and keeping the extra for themselves. The citizens of Israel hated the tax collectors.
“Jesus entered Jericho and was passing through. A man was there by the name of Zacchaeus; he was a chief tax collector and was wealthy.  He wanted to see who Jesus was, but because he was short he could not see over the crowd. So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree to see him, since Jesus was coming that way. When Jesus reached the spot, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today.”
So he came down at once and welcomed him gladly.  All the people saw this and began to mutter,
“He has gone to be the guest of a sinner.” 
But Zacchaeus stood up and said to the Lord,
“Look, Lord! Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount.” 
Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham.  For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” – Read: Luke 19:1-10

Jesus Comes to Save Jericho

When Jesus came to Jericho, he came to seek the lost. He found Zaccaeus, a jewish tax collector who worked for the Roman government. He cheated his fellow Jews out of money and kept any above what Caesar asked for.

Jesus asked Zaccaeus to come down from the sycamore tree he climbed, for he was to host Jesus. This confused many of the religious people of Jericho. They grumbled and asked why Jesus would go to the home of a sinner.

Zaccaeus Answers the Call of Jesus the Savior

Zaccaeus told Jesus he would give half of possessions to the poor and pay those he had cheated back 4 times as much.

Jesus explains that he did not come into the world to condemn the lost, but to save them.

Are we truly following Jesus’ Savior Methods?

How do we spend our time? Do we surround ourselves only with fellow believers? That is the natural thing to do, but God is supernatural. We should strive to seek the lost and share The Gospel with them. Whom will share Jesus with and allow Him to save?

Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house.”
Luke 19:9