The Seven Steps to Salvation
The Bible teaches that sin is transgression of God’s law. All people who know the difference between right and wrong have sinned and our sins separate us from God. The punishment for sin is death, “the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Rom 6:23).
God loves us. He does not want us to perish, therefore He has provided a way to be forgiven, “For God so loved the world, that He gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). In order for us to be forgiven of our sins, and therefore receive eternal life, we must accept the salvation which Christ has made possible. There are five steps which we must take to receive this salvation:
First, we must hear the gospel of Jesus Christ. The Bible teaches that “faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:17). One is not a Christian because his parents are. Faith cannot be inherited (Eze 18:20). Each person must believe in Jesus Christ for himself. Christianity is a religion of teaching, Matthew 28:19,20. Unless one has heard the gospel and learned that Jesus Christ died, was buried and rose from the dead, he cannot be saved, 1 Corinthians 15:1-4. The apostle Paul wrote, “How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?” Romans 10:14. One must first hear the gospel before they can believe it.
Second, one must believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God. Jesus said, “If you do not believe that I am he, you will die in your sins” John 8:24. The jailor at Philippi asked Paul and Silas, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved? They told him to, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household” (Acts 16:30,31). Jesus also said, “He who believes and is baptised will be saved, but he who does not believe will be condemned” (Mark 16:16). One comes to believe in Jesus Christ when one hears the gospel he taught. Faith comes only by hearing the word of God (Romans 10:17). This is the reason it is so important that the gospel be preached to the whole world (Mark 16:15).
Third, one must repent of his sins in order to be saved (Acts 17:30,31). Jesus commanded that “repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name to all nations beginning at Jerusalem” (Luke 24:47). Repentance is the result of being sorry for one’s sins. When the Jews on the day of Pentecost learned from Peter that they had crucified the son of God, they were “cut to the heart” (Acts 2:37). They wanted to be forgiven of their sins, so they asked “What shall we do?” They were told to “Repent, and let every one of you be baptised in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins” (Acts 2:37,38). When one repents, he turns away from his sins (1 Thessalonians 1:9). He shows he has repented by doing good works (Mark 3:8).
Fourth, one must confess that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God. This great truth is the very foundation upon which the church of Christ is built. Jesus said that we must be willing to confess him before men if we want him to confess us before the Father (Matt 10:32,33). The apostle Paul wrote, “But what does it say? The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart (that is the word of faith which we preach) that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation” (Romans 10:8-10). When Philip preached Jesus to the Ethiopian eunuch, the eunuch asked, “What hinders me from being baptised?” Philip told him he could be baptised if he believed. The eunuch then confessed, “I believe that Jesus Christ is the son of God” (Acts 8:35-38). We must make this important but simple confession also in order to be saved.
Fifth, one must be baptised in order to be saved. Jesus said, “He who believes and is baptised will be saved” (Mark 16:16). Please note that baptism follows belief. One who does not believe the gospel cannot be truly baptised. Therefore babies cannot be baptised for they are too young to (1) Have sin (2) Hear the gospel. (3) Repent of sins and (4) Confess that Jesus Christ is the son of God. Baptism also followed repentance on the day of Pentecost: Peter told those who asked what to do to be saved to “Repent, and let every one of you be baptised” (Acts 2:38). One cannot be truly baptised who has not truly repented.
Baptism is a burial in water (Romans 6:3,4; Colossians 2:12). Therefore sprinkling or pouring are not proper baptisms. Baptism is in order to be saved. One is not saved before baptism. Baptism is for the remission (forgiveness) of sins. Just as Jesus shed his blood for remission of sins, (Matthew 26:28), so we are baptised in order to receive remission of sins. In baptism, the sinner’s sins are washed away be the blood of Jesus (Acts 22:16, Revelation 1:5).
What does one have to do in order to be forgiven of one’s sins? One must (1) Hear the gospel of Christ (2) Believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God (3) Repent of all sins (4) Confess that Christ is God’s Son (5) Be baptised for the remission of sins. When a person does this, he is added by the Lord, to his church, ecclesia. He/she is then in Christ where all spiritual blessings are to be found (Ephesians 1:3). In short, they are Christians (1 Peter 4:16; Acts 11:26; 26:28). In summary, have you taken these simple steps to salvation? If not, why not start today?
Bro Mayende Erisania Sifuna (Busia, Uganda)