Ask Your Preacher
God bless! My question is this: how do I know I've been saved since I accepted Jesus?
Dear Open Heart,
The Bible outlines five things you must do to become a christian. The question, “What must I do to be saved?” is the most important question any human can ever ask. Plenty of groups will pick and choose what they want to focus on. Many groups say that all you must do is “believe in your heart” and you will be saved – unfortunately, this is cherry-picking out one requirement and leaving the rest behind. We must always remember that the sum of God’s Word provides the truth (Ps 119:160). Belief is obviously an important element to salvation, but it is not the only condition. The Bible outlines five separate requirements for salvation, and all of them are necessary.
- Hear the Word. Faith comes through hearing, and hearing comes through the Word of God (Rom 10:17). Until someone hears God’s Word, they are incapable of obeying it.
- Believe the Word. It is impossible for someone to become a christian unless they believe that Jesus is the Savior and Son of God (Jhn 20:31, Acts 16:31, Jhn 3:16).
- Repent of your sins. ‘Repent’ means to ‘change your mind’. That change of mind always involves a change of action as well. Repentance is when we change our mind about what is important and submit ourselves to Jesus and His Word. Repentance is a necessity of salvation (Mk 6:12, Lk 13:5, Lk 15:7).
- Confess Jesus to others. If we have sworn our allegiance to Jesus, we must be prepared to publicly confess Him as our Lord. If we won’t confess Jesus before men, He won’t confess us before God (Matt 10:32-33, Lk 12:8-9).
- Be baptized in the name of Jesus for salvation. Many groups baptize people, but very few baptize people for the right reasons. Baptism isn’t merely an “outward showing of an inward faith” or “for membership”. Baptism is what saves us (1 Pet 3:21). Baptism is the point where someone goes from being lost to saved because they are buried and resurrected with Christ (Rom 6:4-5). Baptism is the final requirement to become a christian (Acts 2:37-38, Mk 16:16, Acts 2:41). There is not a single example of someone becoming a christian without baptism. Baptism is just as necessary as the other four requirements.
After that, there remains nothing else but to find a faithful congregation to assemble with (Heb 10:24) that teaches God’s Word and God’s Word only (see “Finding a Church” for more details) and to continue to grow in knowledge and practice of God’s Word (1 Pet 2:2). If you would like help finding a faithful church in your area – simply e-mail us at email@example.com and we would be happy to help you locate one.
Why is it that all the churches out there tend to believe that baptism is not needed for salvation? I mean, all these mega-churches are preaching that if you accept Jesus as your personal Savior, you are saved. Where is the biblical backing for this?
Baptism is the clearest teaching in the entire New Testament. The first converts were baptized for salvation (Acts 2:38-41). Jesus taught that you need to be baptized to be saved (Mk 16:16), and Peter specifically said, “Baptism saves you” (1 Pet 3:21). There are dozens of other verses that teach the exact same thing. So why is there so much confusion in the religious world? Where did all these churches miss the boat? There are several reasons why there are so many different religions out there:
- Paul condemned the Jews because they worshipped God without knowledge (Rom 10:2). Many people follow whatever seems best to them, and when our feelings design our religious beliefs, confusion ensues.
- Rom 1:18-23 says that when people suppress the truth about God, they exchange the truth for a myriad of false beliefs.
- God warned that there would come a day when false teachers infiltrated Christ’s church and would start teaching things contrary to Scriptures (2 Tim 4:2-4). Paul told the first century Christians to watch out for the “falling away” (2 Thess 2:3). Division and false teaching in the name of Christ is a very common thing. Wherever there is an opportunity for selfish gain, false teachers crop up and attempt to lead people astray.
There are tens of thousands of different religions in America that refer to themselves as “Christian” and even more religions when you add Islam, Buddhism, etc…. yet, God says there is only one true faith (Eph 4:4-6).
Sometimes I feel God’s presence very strongly, and other times I feel very weak. I even question my salvation at times. Do you believe the teaching of “once saved, always saved”?
Not Feeling It
Dear Not Feeling It,
“Once saved, always saved” isn’t true. Heb 3:12 says that we must be wary and protect our hearts because an evil, unbelieving heart can fall away. 2 Pet 3:17 says that we can lose our salvation if we get caught up in false teaching (1 Tim 4:1 also states this). If we return to a life of ungodliness, then we crucify Christ again (Heb 6:4-6).
However, it is also normal to sometimes feel spiritually strong and sometimes feel spiritually weak… what is God’s remedy for that? Rom 10:17 says that we can measure our faith by our willingness to follow God’s Word. Sometimes emotions can be deceiving. It is our adherence to God’s Word that saves us (Rom 1:16). If you are doing what God says you must do to be saved, then you can have confidence regardless of how you feel (see “Five Steps To Salvation” for further details). Serving God is often an issue of doing what is right without regard to our emotions… showing bravery when we are afraid, working when we are tired, praying when we feel we aren’t heard, and persevering when we are discouraged.
What happens to people (say in like the middle of Africa or in China) that die having never heard the gospel of Jesus Christ?
What God does with the African tribe that is isolated from society is between Him and them. We know that God doesn’t hold people accountable for things that they cannot do (2 Cor 8:11-12). We also know that He says all mankind is without excuse because the Creation speaks of His greatness (Rom 1:20). We also know that God has a certain expectation that we will seek Him out (Matt 7:7-10). All of these principles must be balanced out when considering the fate of isolated peoples.
Ultimately, the Lord is judge… a righteous one (2 Tim 4:8). The Lord doesn’t desire any of the wicked to perish (Ezek 18:23). He will fitly and properly judge all mankind.
If I sin does God still love me?
I Made A Mistake
Dear I Made A Mistake,
The Lord loves people but hates sin. God tells us it is appropriate to be happy when evil is destroyed because it means righteousness is prevailing (Pr 28:28), but God also says that it pains Him when the wicked perish (Ezek 18:23). God loves us so much that He sent His own Son to die for our sins (Jhn 3:16), but He hates sin so much that if we don’t take advantage of the forgiveness that is in Christ, God will separate Himself from us (Lk 13:27). When we sin, God wants us to repent of that sin and come to Christ that we might be saved. Read “Five Steps To Salvation” for what it takes to become a Christian and have your sins removed.