Declaring God's Plan of Redemption to a Lost and Hurting World
Do you know if you're going to Heaven when you die? How do you know? Do we really know for certainty whether we will continue to live on after we die? Fortunately...you can know for sure!
Now...when we say "eternal life", we probably should rather say "eternal existence". The Bible says eternity exists in two forms: eternal life and eternal punishment (eternal separation from God). Some might say that only one kind of eternal life exists- it is the one in which we all go to Heaven when we die. This would be a rather comforting thought since no one wants to suffer unending punishment. However, consider the following two passages which clearly differentiate between eternal life and eternal punishment.
"I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life. (John 5:24)
"Then they [the unsaved] will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life." (Matthew 25:46)
The good news is...God has given us a choice between eternal life and eternal punishment!
Misconceptions About Salvation
-We cannot save ourselves. There is nothing we can do to receive eternal life by ourselves. This can only be done by God.
"For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith--and this not from yourselves..."(Ephesians 2:8)
-Doing good deeds alone will not get us eternal life in Heaven. Although good deeds are a by-product of our salvation, they alone cannot get us into Heaven. Only faith in God's son, Jesus Christ, assures us that we have been saved.
"For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith--and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God-- not by works, so that no one can boast." (Ephesians 2:8)
-Church membership does not guarantee salvation. Although God wants us to attend church to worship Him, He cannot save us unless we make a commitment to Him. Attending church is just an action if there is no real purpose for being there. There are undoubtedly a lot of church members who have been going to church all their lives, but, unfortunately are unsaved because they only attend church out of "habit".
"To love Him with all your heart, with all your understanding and with all your strength, and to love your neighor as yourself is more important than all burnt offerings and sacrifices." (Mark 12:33)
-We cannot just believe intellectually in Jesus in order to be saved. Being a Christian involves not only believing in Jesus Christ but also committing to Him; it is a two-part process. The Bible shows us that intellectual belief alone will not get us into Heaven.
"You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that--and shudder." (James 2:19)
I don't know about you, but I don't think the demons are going to be sharing our new abode with God. Just call it a hunch...
-Belief in God alone cannot save us. We must believe in the One whom He has sent. Most people probably believe in God and don't deny his existence. The Bible tells us, however, we must also believe in His son, Jesus Christ in order to be saved.
"No one who denies the Son has the Father; whoever acknowledges the Son has the Father also."(1 John 2:23)
"And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life." (1 John 5:11-12)
"Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved." (Acts 4:12)
Salvation can only be found in the person of Jesus Christ. In order for a person to be saved, one must:
-Accept Christ's redemptive work on the cross (death and resurrection)
-Acknowlege that he/she is a sinner and ask for forgiveness
-Be willing to turn away from sin
-Make a committment to Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord of his/her life
"But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: "While we were still sinners, Christ died for us." (Romans 5:8)
"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." (John 3:16)
That 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. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved." (Romans 10:9-10)
Salvation is of utmost importance- Do Not Delay!
If you're still unsure of your salvation, do not wait another minute to call upon Him to save you. None of us can guarantee how long we will remain on this earth. Salvation is not something to "put up on the shelf and deal with later". I know that it seems easy to put it off until another time, especially if you're uncomfortable reading this, but we don't know if there will be "another time". Unfortunately, I took this approach of putting off my salvation for 32 years, never realizing that I was placing my eternal security at risk.
I know some people really don't consider God being actively involved in the lives of mankind. Some only want to call upon Him in some sort of disaster in their lives when they have nowhere else to turn. They don't really believe that God intervenes daily in our lives, nor do they want to consider the fact that He will punish those who do not surrender their lives to Him. Or...they believe that God only saves those He wants to save and determines this in some unfair, random order. However, the Bible shows us that God wants all of us to come to repentance and be saved, but we have to make the decision on what we want: Do we want Him or do we not? It is our choice...and we determine our own destiny as to where we will spend eternity. Since God can do all things, He could have made us to just go along with whatever He wanted us to do without giving us a choice. He gives us an option, though. He loves us and wants us to love Him in return because we want to, not because we have to.
"...God our Savior, who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth." (1 Timothy 2:4)
If you don't know how to ask Him, pray the following prayer:
"Dear God, I know that Jesus is Your Son and that He died on the cross and was raised from the dead. Because I have sinned and need forgiveness, I ask Jesus to come into my heart. I am willing to change the direction of my life by acknowledging Jesus as my Lord and Savior, and by turning away from my sins. Thank you for giving me forgiveness, eternal life, and hope. In Jesus' name, amen.
Some people would prefer to say their own prayer for salvation. The above prayer is for those who are unable to put their thoughts together in prayer. However, it shouldn't be used unless you sincerely mean what the prayer says. Only saying a small prayer without meaning it does not save you. It must come from the heart and be a genuine representation of how you feel because God judges the heart.
If you've made a decision for Christ, we would love to hear about it! Send us an e-mail.
Thanks for reading this very lengthy page. I know it's very long, but it's also very important. God bless you.