Does this message apply to you?
Assume that was the last mouse click you will ever make.
If you should die before finishing this paragraph, are you 100 percent certain that you are ready to have God judge your life against the righteous standards of the Holy Bible? Do you know what His standards are? Are you ready to receive His eternal verdict with no possibility of probation, parole, or appeal? Do you know what the possible eternal outcomes for your soul are?
Each of us is separated from God by a basic sin nature that we inherit from our parents. We start our lives unable to meet God's standards on our own due to this sin. It doesn't matter how good a life we lead. God requires a blood sacrifice to cleanse from sin. The only sacrifice that is acceptable to God is the blood of Jesus Christ. His blood was shed during His crucifixion on Calvary. You must accept that sacrifice once you reach the age of accountability and start recognizing right and wrong. On the day of judgment, you will be reminded of all those times that your conscience warned you about your actions or thoughts. If you haven't accepted Christ as your personal Lord and Savior there is nothing else that will cover your sin. You aren't ready to stand before God's judgment seat.
I will present the steps you must take to accept Christ and get right with God. I will also attempt to give you some of the reasons from the Bible why it is the only acceptable decision to make. Bible references are provided for each point I make. You don't have to take my word for anything. If you have any doubts about what I have written, click on the associated Scriptures and read what the Bible says.
These salvation steps need to be more than just words on a screen to you. You must take the described steps and make Christ a dynamic reality in your life. Accepting Christ as Savior is easy. Letting Him be Lord in your life is harder. No one can make the decision for you. It is intensely personal. God loves you and wants you to choose Him. Until you make that decision you are living on borrowed time.
The Gospel Message is divided into several parts.
- Why must you be saved?
- When must you make the decision?
- Where can you make the decision?
- How do you make the decision?
- What should you do after making the decision?
Each answers a basic question you might have. If you are new to the whole idea of Christianity, read each section. You can skip to the essentials if God has been dealing with you for some time. If you're already a Christian read the last half of "How?" and "What Then?" to see if you are where God wants you to be.
Why must you be saved?
As Christians, we believe that the following conditions apply to all mankind. You must be led by the Holy Spirit to understand that they apply to you. Until you reach that point, you will feel no need to be saved.
If you don't feel you are at that point right now, I respectfully ask that you take a few minutes to examine your life. Think about what you have done. Think about the motives behind your actions. Think about the way you have treated people and your motives for that treatment. Think about the way you have reacted in situations and why you reacted in that way. Examine how you feel about your life deep down inside. Be honest in your evaluation.
Ask God to illuminate your innermost self for examination. Peel back all the layers you present to those close to you and the world around you. Read the rest of this brief page. Read the scripture references. God will illuminate His words in your heart. Bookmark this page and reread it several times if necessary. Then take the steps to get right with God.
- Admit that you are a sinner.
"For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;" [Romans 3:23]
Adam and Eve were created sinless. They sinned and fell from God's grace. Through the seed of man that basic sin nature has been passed on to every man and woman in every following generation. [Rom. 5:12-14; Gen. 2:7, 21-22, 16-17, 3:1-19].
Jesus Christ, incarnated of Mary and the Holy Spirit, was not contaminated by this basic sin nature. He was tempted in all things, just like us, but He didn't sin. He was able to give Himself as a perfect sacrifice on the cross for the sin of the world. [Heb. 4:15; Lk. 1:26-38].
Your basic sin nature is at odds with God and will keep you out of heaven no matter how good you think you have been. [Lk. 16:15; Isa. 64:6; Jas. 2:10, 4:4; 1 Cor. 6:9-11].
If you have been a Christian and slid back into sin, God wants you back. He'll give you another chance. [2 Chr. 7:14; 1 Jn. 1:9; Jas. 5:19-20; Rev. 2:5].
- Acknowledge that sin brings eternal punishment at death.
"For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." [Romans 6:23]
There are two possible outcomes at death. There are no other alternatives. The only thing they have in common is that they are never ending and never changing.
- If you have accepted Christ as your Lord and Savior, you have eternal life in heaven with God. [Lk. 23:43; Jn. 14:2-3; Rev. 21:9-22:7].
- If not, you have eternal life in hell without God. [Ps. 9:17; Mt. 10:28, 25:41, 46; Rev. 21:8].
Punishment of the wicked in hell before the final white throne judgment and punishment in the lake of fire afterwards wasn't God's original plan for man. It is the eternal destination for those who reject Christ as their Savior. Don't be deceived by Satan. If you ignore what you read here, you are rejecting Christ.
- Know that accepting Christ as your Lord and Savior is the only means of receiving eternal life with God.
"And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life." [1 John 5:11-12]
There are no shortcuts or back doors into heaven. All Christians should do good works and live uprightly. But just doing good works and living a good life won't get you into heaven. You won't make it into heaven because your parents were Christian. You won't make it into heaven because your children are Christians. You won't make it into heaven by belonging to a particular church or denomination. You won't make it into heaven because someone has prayed for you. You must take action yourself once you have reached the age where you know right from wrong. [Eph. 2:8-9; Mt. 7:13-14].
Once you die, there are no second chances. Nobody can pray you into heaven if you die a sinner. There will be no bargaining with God. He will rightly point out all the opportunities you have had to commit to Him (including this one). [Heb. 9:27; Jn. 8:24].
Christ came to fulfill the required sacrifice for sin. He died once for all. No matter what you have done, he will forgive you if you ask Him. He will write your name down in His Lamb's Book of Life. [Rom. 8:3; Rev. 20:11-15].
Believing and accepting Christ as your Savior are two separate things. Satan and the fallen angels believe in God and Christ. They have seen Them first hand. Yet Christ's sacrifice on the cross cannot save them. [Jas. 2:19].
You may have particular reasons for believing that the above scriptures don't apply to you. It is impossible to address all the objections in one document. I will try to address a few of the main objections here. Perhaps some of these will address the issues you have. Perhaps only one or two will apply. In any case, please read whatever fits your circumstances, along with the scriptures.
- I do not believe that the Bible is really the Word of God. This is the key objection that must be addressed. If you believe in the Bible, then these other objections can be resolved by quoting scripture. If you don't believe in the Bible, then the rebuttals will not be relevant to you. Please read Inspiration of the Bible by Finis Jennings Dake for more information.
Too often, people simply reject Scripture because of what they have been told it says. They don't read it for themselves. Don't reject the Holy Bible as the Word of God without reading and studying it yourself. See what the Bible tells you - don't rely on what others tell you. Go in with an open mind. Ask God to help you understand it. He will. Listen to what He says you should be studying in it and study that first.
If you do have a question about the Bible, and you don't seem to be getting a clear answer from God about it, then ask a Christian for help. You wouldn't ask a punk rock band to critique the nuances of a Beethoven symphony. They may have an opinion about Beethoven, but it unlikely that they have studied it. Likewise, don't ask or rely on a non-Christian to answer your questions about the Bible. Ask a Christian who has spent much time in the Word.
- I do not believe in God. [Mt. 17:1-8; Jn. 3:11-21; Rom. 1:15-25].
- I do not believe in life after death. [Lk. 16:19-31; Mt. 27:50-54; Mk. 16:1-14; Eph. 4:7-10; Rev. 6:9-11].
- I do not believe in hell. [Mt. 10:28, 13:38-50, 25:41, 46; Rev. 14:9-11, 19:20, 20:11-15, 21:8, 22:15].
- I believe that God is too good to damn anyone. [Mt. 7:21; Mk. 16:16; Pr. 1:24-33].
- I believe all will be saved. [Ps. 9:17; Mt. 7:13-14; Mk. 16:16; Jn. 3:18; 1 Cor. 6:9-10; Gal. 5:19-21; Rev. 21:8].
- I will have another chance after death. [Pr. 29:1; Rev. 20:11-15].
- It doesn't matter what I believe if I am living right. [Mk. 1:14-15, 16:16; Jn. 8:24, 14:6; Acts 3:19, 4:12].
- I believe that being law-abiding is enough to be saved. [Gal. 2:16; Eph. 2:8-9; Jas. 2:10].
- There is no harm in living like the world. [Rom. 12:1-2; 2 Cor. 6:14-18; 1 Jn. 2:15-17; Jas. 4:4].
- I cannot be lost regardless of what I do. [Rom. 6:16-23, 8:12-13; 1 Cor. 3:17, 6:9-11, 9:27; Gal. 5:19-21; 2 Tim. 2:12; Heb. 6:4-6, 10:26-29; Jas. 5:19-20].
- I have committed the unpardonable sin. If you are visiting this site, reading these scriptures, purposing to get right with God you have not committed the unpardonable sin of blaspheming the Holy Ghost. It is He who draws you toward salvation. [Heb. 6:4-6, 10:26-29; Mt. 12:31-32].
- I am satisfied with my religion. [Mt. 18:3; Jn. 14:6; Acts 4:12; Col. 2:4-10; Rev. 21:27, 22:14-15].
- Salvation is not for everybody. [Rom. 1:16, 10:9-13; Rev. 22:17].
- No one can really know that he is saved. [Jn. 3:36, 5:24; Rom. 8:14-16].
- The Christian life is too hard to live. [Pr. 13:15; Mt. 11:28-30; 1 Cor. 10:13; Jas. 4:7].
- I will have to give up too much. [Mt. 6:25-34; Mk. 10:29-31; Rom. 8:32; 1 Cor. 2:9; Ps. 34:9-10, 84:11].
- There are some things I cannot give up. [Rom. 6:11-23, 8:1-5, 12-13; 2 Cor. 5:17-21; Col. 3:2; Tit. 2:11-12].
- My friends and relatives would make fun of me. [Mt. 5:10-12, 10:36-37; Jn. 15:18-20; 2 Cor. 6:14-18].
- Additional common excuses and scripture reference rebuttals can be found in Dake's Quick Answers to Excuses, the source for most of the above information. [Excuses]
The world judges a Christian by the things that the person does or does not do. They use their own standards for right and wrong when making the evaluation. Christianity is about accepting Christ as your Savior and Lord. It is about building His Church. It is about eliminating the things that God has said are sinful from your life, regardless of what the world thinks of those things. It is about living your life in an acceptable fashion before God. [1 Cor. 1:18-25; Rom. 12:1-2; Col. 1:20-22].
- If you call yourself a Christian but really are just going through the motions and haven't accepted Christ as Savior and Lord,
- you once accepted Him but later fell back into a life of sin, or
- you have never taken the steps to accept Him at all,
then accept Him now as your Savior and Lord. There is no other method of salvation. Accept the whole truth of the Bible's plan of salvation; it is your only hope. [Acts 4:12; Jn. 3:18].
When should you make the decision?
"In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea, And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." [Matthew 3:1-2]
John the Baptist predicted Christ's arrival in human form on the Earth. Over the years, many have predicted specific times that He will return for His Church. Many have predicted that we are in the end times. We make no such statement.
We feel the time of Christ's return for His Church has been set by God. It could happen several millennia from now or it could happen this second. We anticipate the Rapture with the same hope the Apostles had in their time. All that is certain is that it will occur and that it will begin a period of tribulation before Christ returns to set up His Millennial reign that you don't want to experience firsthand. [1 Th. 4:13-18; Tit. 2:11-13; Mt. 24:3-51].
As time has passed since Christ's crucifixion, many Christians have lost the sense of urgency to be ready at any time for His return. Yet for Christian and non-Christian alike, the end time for a particular individual is not predictable. You could die this year, this month, this week, this day, or indeed - before you can click the mouse again... [Pr. 27:1, 29:1]. There have been messages in tongues and interpretations lately that speak to His soon return. Neither give a date, but in all my years of listening to interpretations, this is the first time that I remember Him saying He longed to return for His church [#1, #2, #3, #4].
"While it is said, To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation." [Heb. 3:15]
The time to accept Christ as your Savior and Lord is right now, while the Holy Spirit is dealing with your heart. Don't let something or someone interrupt you. Don't give Satan a chance to lure you back to him. God won't force you to accept His plan for salvation. He gave you free choice. But it is the only way to escape His wrath and eternal punishment.
If any of the following thoughts are passing through your head, please read the associated scriptures.
- I'll make the decision after I have had time to think about it. [Mt. 13:3-9, 19-23].
- I'll make the decision some other time. I have plenty of time. [Lk. 12:16-21; Heb. 2:1-4, 3:7-15].
- This doesn't feel like the right time to make this big a decision. [Isa. 55:6-11; 2 Cor. 6:1-2].
- I am too young to be a Christian. [Pr. 8:17; Mt. 18:3].
Where can you make the decision?
"Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me." [Revelation 3:20]
Everything you need to accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior is right where you are, right now.
- The Holy Spirit is with you. [Jn. 16:7-11; Rev. 22:17].
- The steps to follow are but a few paragraphs away.
Don't let Satan deceive you into thinking you need a special person around. To be saved, you don't need a pastor, minister, priest, or lay person present. You don't need any person at all. You don't need any special music playing. You don't need to be in a particular church building. You don't have to be kneeling at an altar. All you need is the Holy Spirit drawing you to God, a bit of guidance, and yourself. You're ready - go on to the next section and read the simple steps about how to accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior.
How do you make the decision?
"... Sirs, what must I do to be saved? And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house. And they spake unto him the word of the Lord, and to all that were in his house. And he took them the same hour of the night, and washed their stripes; and was baptized, he and all his, straightway." [Acts 16:30-33]
God's desire is that all accept Christ as their Savior. He is ready to accept you now, just as you are. All you have to do is ask.
These are the basic steps to follow to accept Christ as your Savior and Lord:
The prayer for salvation is simple. If you really mean it, you can be assured that God has heard you and forgiven you for your past sins. You stand free of the curse of your past sins and basic sin nature at that instant in time. [1 Jn. 1:9].
A sample prayer follows. Your prayer may be somewhat longer if you wish to get specific about some of the sin issues in your life, but these are the basics that must be covered:
Dear Jesus: I'm a sinner. I need to be saved from my sins. I believe that You died to save me and that You will forgive me if I ask You to do so. Right now, I confess all my sins to You and ask You to forgive me. Cleanse my heart by Your blood. I believe You took my place on the cross. By your help, I'll live for You and serve You. I believe that You have just forgiven my sins and that my heart has been cleansed by Your blood. I take You as my Savior. Thank You, Lord. Amen
"That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed." [Romans 10:9-11]
If you really meant your prayer, then you are saved. God will confirm it with a peace in your heart about your standing with Him that comes from Him through His Spirit. If you aren't feeling peace, ask what is standing in the way and listen for the answer.
"Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new." [2 Cor. 5:17]
"Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord;" [Acts 3:19]
Repentance of sin and perhaps some life style changes must follow. You know what you have done in your past and what you are doing now. God will be faithful to point out the things that are displeasing to Him. Your old sin nature has been nailed to the cross. You are a new creation. It is up to you to follow Him from now on. [Acts 8:22; Rev. 2:5; Mt. 9:13; Lk. 24:47; Rev. 3:3, 19].
Remember, God has made you part of His Kingdom. Jesus is your friend. He does love you. But first, and foremost, He expects to be the King in your life. He wants His will to be done in your life, not yours. You do have free will. That is one of God's gifts and becoming a Christian doesn't change that. But He expects you to exercise your free will within the boundaries set out in Scripture for Christian conduct. He expects you to conform your free will to match anything He specifically chastens you about or directs you to do. People in America have largely forgotten what kingship is about. Read the Old Testament to get a picture of what God expects of His people and how kings ruled.
Everything you do from now on,
- how you interact with your family...
- how you interact with your friends...
- how you interact with those you work with...
- how you interact with complete strangers you meet...
- what you do in the privacy of your own home and mind...
every little thing has an effect on the rest of Christians everywhere in the world, whether in a physical or spiritual realm.
Try to start living and acting like the Bible says a Christian should 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Depending on your past experience with Christians, you may have good or bad examples in your life to go by. Strive to be like Christ as described in the Gospels every day and night. At first it may be hard. Don't give up. Let His nature towards others be a goal you seek to attain. Let the Holy Spirit be free to point out what is displeasing. [Mt. 5:27-28, 19:16-22, 22:34-40; Jn. 13:34-35; Rom. 12:11-14].
Pray, believe, repent, and have assurance in the work of the Father, Christ, and the Holy Spirit for your salvation. Have faith that what the Bible says is true and that God hasn't changed His mind or come up with another plan. The blackest sinner once saved has the same standing as someone raised in the church who accepts the same plan of God for his or her salvation. Once done, both are on equal footing with the Father through the atoning work of Christ Jesus.
What should you do after making the decision?
"And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith. [Gal. 6:9-10]
Following acceptance of Christ as your Savior and Lord, you should join a church, read the Bible, seek water baptism, and seek the filling with the Holy Spirit. Joining a church will help you become a stronger Christian. Bible reading is strongly encouraged in many scriptures. Water baptism is a command if you have the opportunity to fulfill it. The gift of the Holy Spirit is provided as a help and an empowering tool for witnessing and leading others to Christ. [2 Tim. 3:15-17; Ps. 119].
They are not requirements for salvation, but your new life in Christ will be stronger if they are all done or sought. Remember that the penitent thief who died beside Jesus had no time for any of these other things. Luke still records Jesus words at their moment of death:
"And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise." [Luke 23:43]
- Remember that Satan wants you back
God wants every human being to accept His plan of salvation for their life. Satan is going around as a roaring lion seeking whom he can devour. He will put many stumbling blocks in the way of a new Christian to try to trip them up. Your salvation is not complete until you are standing before the Father. Until the day you die, you must walk in repentance of your sins, and not go back to your previous ways.
God will always help you fight Satan. I truly believe that of all the prayers offered up, prayers for help in resisting evil and to aid in doing right are always in God's will and are always responded to. It may not be in the way we think or in the way we would prefer, but God will always help His children resist Satan and evil if they ask. You may lose your life for Christ. You may lose your possessions. You may lose your friends. But you won't lose God and your eternal life if you press to the end and run the race set before you. [1 Cor. 10:12-13].
How do you combat the tendency toward fulfilling your own desire toward evil, to say nothing of Satan's promptings?
- Seek the power that accepting Christ gives
"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]
Once acceptance of Christ as your Savior is done, God will lead you and train you through the Holy Spirit's promptings in how to lead a life that is more pleasing to Him.
- Buy a Bible and start reading it
On-line versions of the Bible have their place, and can make many topical studies easier and more effective, but they are hard to make notes in. If you don't have a Bible, pick a good commonly used version that is easy for you to read, and start reading it. There is no substitute in any commentary, contemporary or out of print, which matches what the Word itself says.
- Start with the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John)
- Try to finish the New Testament - at least to Revelation
- Sprinkle in some Psalms and Proverbs for variety
- Tackle the Old Testament.
If you feel like you are getting bogged down in a section, go back and reread a Gospel. Learn what the Bible says and be sure that what you hear from your church teaching lines up with what you read. If you have questions, don't be afraid to ask God and the Christian believers you know for explanations or more information. Your Bible, God's word, should be your primary reference work.
- Find a local church
Support of fellow Christians is critical for new believers. Look for a church that preaches the Bible and Christ. There are many denominations and independent churches out there. Generally, they only differ on minor doctrinal issues. Our Statement of Beliefs / Doctrinal Statement is general, and can be used as a comparison to the doctrine of any local church you are considering. We have included scripture references for every doctrinal statement we make. Don't be afraid to ask for a statement of doctrine for any church you are considering. [Doctrines]
Christ should be the church's focus. Everything else should be focused on Him. This includes special programs, music, outreach ministries, and other activities. Size, demographics, location, and other issues are not material. Some of the biggest, richest, and most popular churches are spiritually dead. Some of them are excellent. The same can be said for any other single criteria you select. Try out a few services. Make sure that they preach the Trinity - God in Three Persons - God the Father, Christ the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Make sure that the blood of Christ is the only method they teach for attaining Heaven. See if you can find friendly people to get to know. But don't let friendship lure you someplace where you don't feel the work of the Holy Spirit or where false teaching prevails.
If you are confused about where to go, pray about it. God will lead you to where He wants you to be. When visiting a new church, let the Holy Spirit lead you. If you feel the Spirit's prompting that it isn't the right place for you, go someplace else. There may be nothing wrong with the church. God may simply have a place prepared where you will fit in better or receive more support as a new believer.
- Be baptized in water
"He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned." [Mark 16:16]
"Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost." [Acts 2:38]
Water baptism is a sign to show your acceptance of Christ as your Savior and is symbolic of the time Christ's physical body was buried before resurrection [Romans 6:3-11].
- Seek the filling of the Holy Spirit
God wants to have complete control over what you do, how you act, what you say, all details of your life. He wants to comfort you and train you up in His ways. He wants to give you power to lead a Christian life and to be His servant. He wants you to carry on the work Christ started 2,000 odd years ago - leading others to God. Reading God's Word is one way this is accomplished. Another is being filled with the Holy Spirit.
"But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you." [John 14:26]
"But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth. And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight." [Acts 1:8-9]
About our web site
We hope that these web pages will be of use to you. In particular, subjects can be easily found in the various reference works on our site such as Easton's Bible Dictionary and Nave's Topical Bible. We have tried to make downloads of individual scriptures fast. As well as being a good topical reference, the Appendix of the New Torrey's Topical Textbook provides a good outline of Biblical principles to help you get started. Its Foreword gives good Bible study methods and a list of topics each Christian should study at an early date. You can link to any site Bible for scripture references. The Authorized (King James) Version is the default and is a red-letter edition, having the words of Christ in red print.
Over the years, religion has gotten a bad name because people don't try hard enough to live up to what the Bible expects of believers. If you have been hurt before, try again. The short and long term results are well worth it. Good luck in your Christian walk.
"Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus." [Philippians 3:12-14]
May God's mercy and grace go with you.
For more information...
- No Jacket Required.
- The Sacrifice.
- Eternal Destinations (Part of the Appendix to Torrey's New Topical Textbook).
- Accepting Christ, Repentance (Part of the Appendix to Torrey's New Topical Textbook).
- Holy Spirit Baptism (Part of the Appendix to Torrey's New Topical Textbook)
If you still aren't ready to accept Christ after reading these few web pages, please take a couple of minutes to read Still Undecided.