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Steven Walker|United States

I was raised in the Christian Church and from the time I was very small, we were taught the plan of salvation by counting on the fingers of one hand, “Believe, Repent, Confess, Be Baptized, Live a Good, Christian Life.”

After more than 40 years of studying the Bible, I’ve found the scriptures support this simple little memory tool. The plan of salvation is indeed simple enough for even a child to understand. That doesn’t mean that following it is always easy, but it helps to know the steps, and the scriptures that teach them. Here, then is a look at the scriptures supporting each step to buy a college paper on becoming a Christian.

Believe – This is the one everyone seems to agree on, at least. This is the basic first step to becoming a Christian. Believing comes by hearing the Word of God (Romans 10:17). Reading and being taught the Scriptures is essential to understanding our sinful nature, the penalty required by a just God, and the compassion with which He sent His Son to pay the price for our sins. We must believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God and our personal Savior. John 8:24 shows Jesus saying, “That is why I said that you will die in your sins; for unless you believe that I am the Messiah, the Son of God, you will die in your sins.”

The way we learn about The Way is through the Living Word of God. The Bible as a whole is the inspired Word of God, and it is living, active and sharper than any two-edged sword (Hebrews 4:12). The Bible says that Jesus is the Word (John 1:1, 14), and that ALL “scripture is profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction and for training in righteousness (2 Timothy 3:16).”

The importance of Scripture can not be overstated. It is what gives us something TO believe. It is a library of 66 books written over centuries that all work together to tell us what the Creator God has done for us and what He requires of us. But from the very beginning, in the Garden of Eden when the serpent deceived Eve with half-truth, the Bible has been under attack. Many people fall for the lie that the Scriptures are inaccurate through years of translation. However, this does not take in to account the fact that Father God, Jesus and The Holy Spirit are perfectly capable of keeping the Word intact. First of all He kept it intact through centuries of writing it. The prophecies of the ages all came true in Jesus Christ so we could know He was the Messiah. A study of many, many translations will show that the differences are so slight as to be meaningless in the overall message of the Word. Furthermore, anyone with the Holy Spirit living inside of them has the Author of our Faith doing any interpreting that needs to be done.

Many people get caught up in whatever the prevailing culture was at the time the scribe, used by God to write a book of the Bible, lived. This is used to pick and choose what to obey, and is a very dangerous habit. Taken to logical conclusions, this would negate all scripture, none of which was written in our particular culture. But when one reads the Bible from the beginning, one quickly sees that human nature has not changed, and God certainly never will. So the culture argument is ridiculous at best, and extremely dangerous, even blasphemous, as well.

The Bible is a library of many books, meant to be read as a whole, not nit-picked to death, analyzing every jot and tittle. Can you imagine someone trying to cook a meal by pulling 66 cookbooks off the shelf and cutting snippets here and there from them, then following the cobbled recipe? What about an athlete taking training manuals from 66 different sports and following whatever rule suited him at the moment? Nor can we live our lives this way.

Believing is crucial to becoming a Christian. The Bible says “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved.” Many people stop here and think this is all they need to teach anyone looking to “be saved.” All well and good if you ignore the rest of the Bible – but that seems a strange thing to do. After all, the Bible says that even the demons “believe, and tremble.” So, once you believe, what then?

Repent – Once you believe that you are a sinner and that blameless Jesus Christ, the Son of the Living God, died on a cross for your sins and rose again to ascend to the Father and prepare a place for His followers, you must repent of your sins. The dictionary defines “repent” as “to feel sorry, self-reproachful, or contrite for past conduct; to regret or be conscience-stricken about a past action, attitude, etc. ” When we realize how black our sins are; when we fully realize that our actions caused the death of our beloved Savior – it is natural to repent of them with sorrow and even self-loathing. Repentance is often accompanied by weeping, because true repentance includes hating the sin that has been committed.

When Peter preached about how they put Jesus to death even though He was the Messiah, the multitudes asked Peter how to be forgiven. He replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:38) and 3,000 were added to the church. But when Peter preached to the religious leaders, explaining how they had put Jesus to death despite Who He is, they were furious and wanted to put Peter to death! He explained, in Acts chapter 5, verse 30-31, “The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom you had put to death by hanging Him on a cross. He is the one whom God exalted to His right hand as a Prince and a Savior, to grant repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins.” In verse 33 we see “But when they heard this, they were cut to the quick and intended to kill them.” They did not repent!

It is not enough to believe that Jesus died to save you, if you don’t acknowledge what He saves you from, and don’t turn from those sins and renounce them. Luke 13:3 and 4 b – “And don’t you realize that you also will perish unless you leave your evil ways and turn to God? And you, too, will perish unless you repent.”

Confess – Romans 10:9 and 10 says “For if you tell others with your own mouth that Jesus Christ is your Lord, and believe in your own heart that God has raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is by believing in his heart that a man becomes right with God, and with his mouth he tells others of his faith, confirming his salvation.”

There is such a thing as confessing your sins, but that isn’t what is referred to here. The confession made before baptism is a confession of Who Jesus Christ is. In Matthew 16: 13-14, Jesus asks Peter who he thinks Jesus is. Peter replies, “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God.” This is the same confession made by people about to receive baptism. An example in the Bible of this is the Ethiopian eunuch, who, after Philip preached Jesus to him, asked if he could be baptized. Philip told him he could, if he believed with all his heart. The eunuch’s response to this was “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.” Acts 8:37.

Confessing Jesus Christ as the Risen Lord is essential for a Christian, as Jesus tells us in Matthew 10:32-33, where He says, “”Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before My Father which is in heaven. But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before My Father which is in heaven.”

Be Baptized – “Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” Acts 2:38. This commandment is simple and yet, instead of just believing and obeying, people have parsed and diced and analyzed and modified, added to and taken away from, this simple command until nobody seems to know what to do. I really don’t know how this single step of obedience has been so vilified, but it just doesn’t seem that difficult to understand, and certainly is not difficult to obey. Are we like Naaman, demanding grand gestures instead of simple obedience?

In the Old Testament Bible book of 2 Kings, chapter 5, we find the story of Naaman, the Commander-in-Chief of the Syrian army. He was a very important man, but he had leprosy. His wife’s maid, a captive from Israel, suggested that he go to see the prophet Elisha, whom she was sure would heal him of his leprosy. So Naaman went, with entourage and horse drawn chariot, and pulled up in front of Elisha’s house in a flourish of importance. Elisha sent a messenger out, who told Naaman to go and wash seven times in the Jordan River and he would be healed.

Naaman was absolutely furious! “Look,” he said, “I thought at least he would come out and talk to me! I expected him to wave his hand over the leprosy and call upon the name of the Lord his God, and heal me! I have rivers at home better than all the rivers in Israel put together. If I need rivers, I’ll go and bathe in them!” But as he was going off in a rage, his officers reasoned with him, saying, “If the prophet had told you to do some great thing, you would have done it. So surely you should obey him when he tells you to do something as simple as washing in the river to be cured.” So Naaman capitulated and went and dipped himself seven times in the Jordan. When he came up, his skin was as clean as a newborn babies’. He was humbled and declared that from that time on, he would worship only the one true God of Israel.

I find it interesting that he was not healed after six times – only after seven. No one believes that the Jordan River had healing powers to cure leprosy – Naaman did not go away impressed with the potent rivers of Israel! He was humbled before the living God, Who used an ordinary river and an act of obedience to cure a man of leprosy. Another tie-in to baptism, of course, is the fact that John baptized Jesus in the Jordan River many, many years later, as an example to us as to how we could please and obey God the Father.

In fact, being baptized was one of the first things Jesus did when He began His ministry, and baptism is the last recorded command He gave, right before He ascended back in to heaven. In what is commonly referred to as the Great Commission, Jesus told us to “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:19, 20.

Live a Good Christian Life – Some people think of living as a Christian as just a list of rules and regulations, grim and serious. But God gives us joy and a peace that passes understanding. The more we trust God, the more we will obey Him. The more we obey Him, the easier it becomes to trust Him, because He honors our obedience. We rarely know why we have to do certain things until we obey, but then He shows us the joy of living a life filled with the Lord. When we grow as Christians, we gradually give over more and more of our life to Him, and He blesses us beyond what we could ever have imagined. We begin to be content, whatever our circumstances, and life begins to make sense as we live it in His will.

However, we cannot neglect growing in Christ, or take lightly the sacrifice made for us. As God warns us in Hebrews 10:26, 27a, “For if we go on sinning willfully after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a certain terrifying expectation of judgment.” “But the one who endures to the end, he will be saved.” (Matthew 24:13)

The way we learn His will is through His Word, which is full of instruction for us. Someone has cleverly called the Bible “Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth.” When an athlete diligently performs the training exercises his coach prepares, he becomes a better athlete. When we follow God’s “training in righteousness” program mentioned in 2 Timothy 3:16, we become better Christians. We become happier, more confident, and more like Christ, the Author and Perfecter of our faith. We have the Holy Spirit to help us, and He guides us. We begin to grow the fruit of the Spirit, promised in Galatians 5:22, 23. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.”

Believing the Gospel, repenting of our sins, confessing Jesus Christ as our Risen Lord, being baptized in to the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, and “rising to walk in newness of life” (Romans 6:4) are the five Biblical steps of salvation. Although it is miraculous, there is nothing magic about becoming a Christian. All you have to do is make a choice.

Source: The Holy Bible


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