What Must I REALLY Do to Be Saved?
The gospel of Jesus Christ is really quite simple and easy to understand when presented properly. But in many cases Christians have made the gospel sound complicated by using terminology that is not Biblical or, even worse, by using Biblical terminology theologically-incorrectly or unclearly. With this in mind, I came up with a list of 50 things that unbelievers are sometimes told they need to do in order to be saved! Here’s the list:
Some Actions that Unbelievers Are
Often Told to Take in Order to Be Saved
|Accept Christ||Get Saved||Ask Jesus to Save You|
|Give your life to God||Be Baptized||Give your heart to Jesus|
|Be born again||Be Converted||Have your sins forgiven|
|Humble yourself before God||Be washed in the blood||Invite Jesus into your heart|
|Become a Christian||Look to Jesus and live||Believe in/believe on Jesus|
|Make a faith commitment||Call upon the Lord||Make Jesus your Lord|
|Cleanse your heart||Make your peace with God||Obey the gospel|
|Come to Jesus||Commit your life to Jesus||Pray "the prayer"|
|Confess Jesus as Lord||"Pray through" (at a mourner's bench)||Confess publicly with your mouth|
|Prepare to meet your God||Confess your sins to God||Put your faith in Jesus|
|Convert to Christianity||Reach out to Jesus||Decide (make a decision) for Christ|
|Cry out to God to be saved||Receive Jesus||Receive the gift of salvation|
|Deny yourself and take up the cross||Repent of your sins||Draw near to God|
|Surrender your life to Christ/God||Drink/take water of life freely||Trust Jesus|
|Enter the narrow gate||Turn from your sins||Follow Jesus|
|Turn to the Lord||Forsake all to follow Jesus||Turn your life over to God|
|Get right with God||Yield your life to Jesus/God|
Suppose you went through this list and checked off the actions that you think have legitimate Biblical support as actions that result in salvation. Let’s say that you selected 20 of them. Would you think of these as separate action steps to salvation? Or, would you think of these simply as different ways to describe a single heart-action that results in salvation?
Wouldn’t you agree that the simple “believes in Him” truth of John 3:16-18 is sufficient, even though this heart-action might be expressed in the New Testament through the use of a variety of metaphors and synonyms?
John 3:16-18 (NKJV)
16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. 17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. 18 He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
Why is this issue so important that I would write an article to address it?
Throughout the Good Soil Evangelism and Discipleship Basic seminar and The Story of Hope, we emphasize that “faith” (believing/trusting) is the heart-action step that results in the salvation of a sinner. More specifically, it is faith that is focused on God’s provision for man’s spiritual needs—the death and resurrection of God’s Son, Jesus Christ.
Yet, frequently we are asked the “But what about ...” questions:
• But what about turning from sins; when does the unbeliever do that? • But what about calling upon the name of the Lord (“praying the prayer”); when does the unbeliever do that? • But what about receiving Jesus and God’s gift of salvation; when does the unbeliever do that?
These actions (and many of the others in the table above) are mentioned in a few passages in the New Testament. But the New Testament clearly teaches that there is one single heart-action that brings salvation and it is “faith” in Jesus Christ.
Ephesians 2:8-9 (NKJV)
8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast.
Because of the various synonyms and synonymic metaphors used in the Bible to describe the act of “saving faith,” some people seem to think that (genuine) faith in Christ is only one step that must be preceded or followed by other steps—turning from sins, praying a prayer, receiving the gift of salvation, and so forth. They fail to differentiate between the synonyms (and synonymic metaphors) for “faith in Christ” and the heart-action of (saving) faith in Christ itself. Consequently the synonyms are misunderstood to be separate steps to salvation.
Does it not make better Biblical sense to think that a sinner is turning from his/her sins, calling upon the Lord in his heart, receiving God’s gift of salvation, when he or she sincerely places his or her trust in Jesus Christ as Savior?
This series of articles summarizes the content of a Good Soil Basic Seminar:
- Three Greek Verbs Define Good Soil
- Assessing Unbeliever’s Gospel Understanding
- Assessing Gospel Receptivity
- Initial Contact or Relational Evangelism—or Both?
- The Problem of Gospel Static
- One Gospel - Three Worldviews
- Worldview “Noisy” Neighborhoods
- How to Understand Worldviews: I’m an Onion – You’re an Onion
- How to Witness to A Non Believer: 3 Step Guide To Using Verbal & Non Verbal Communication
- Gospel Knowledge Deficiencies
- The Romans Road in “Post-Christian” North America?
- Gospel Tracts in “Post-Christian” North America?
- Evangelism that BEGINS with Jesus – Good or Not So Good?
- Explaining the Gospel – Where Did Jesus Begin?
- Change the Way We Do Evangelism in North America?
- Evangelism – For the Biblically Uninformed
- A Distinctive Evangelistic Bible Study Workbook
- How Many Stories in the Bible?
- Eight Words Summarize the Bible’s BIG Story
- Gotta Pray the Sinner’s Prayer?
- Repent and/or Believe? Two Steps or Two Sides?
- Helping Believers “Hold Fast” to the Gospel
- Sharing the Gospel Through Your Faith Story
- Sharing the Gospel Through Your Faith Story, Pt. 2
- Making Evangelism & Discipleship a Priority in Your Life
Learn More About Personally Sharing the Gospel
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