If you openly declare that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.
There was a time when I had no idea what it meant to be saved. Granted I was young, but still, no one took the time to explain it to me. I remember eavesdropping on adults when visiting friends and being saved was never central to their conversations. It was a different time, with denominations staying in their lanes, rarely venturing across the bustling religious highway. We didn’t ask many questions, tried to do what we were told, and played outside till the streetlights came on. Thirsty? Grab the garden hose. Hungry? Pick a few crab apples off the crabby neighbor’s tree.
In my good old days, there were denominations who believed they were the only folks going to heaven. Seriously, can you imagine my thought process? It’s like being a Kentucky or Louisville fan. Am I supposed to root against my neighbor getting to heaven? But being a kid, I believed what I was told, and those folks were not going to heaven. Our neighborhood was diverse, with different faiths and religious beliefs, and yet, the children played together just fine. But every now and then, I would sound off about my church being the only true religion and that would turn things upside down. Times have changed and people of varying religions have come to understand it is about the relationship with Jesus and not a religious label.
Even in our sometimes cantankerous and complicated culture, salvation is being shared and the Bible is being read, no longer just a dusty book on the coffee table. Salvation is an ever-increasing confidence; a blessed assurance that those who believe and live their lives to please Him will spend eternity in heaven. When we believe and ask Jesus to be Lord of our lives, the Holy Spirit changes us from the inside out. It is a supernatural transformation which takes place within us. Although there are an ever-increasing number of temptations, challenges, and trials, our desires have changed. Our appetite is not to satisfy the flesh, but rather to honor God.
God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago. Ephesians 2:8-10
So what are some differences between saved and unsaved persons? Those saved have placed their trust in Jesus and have repented of their sin. Repentance is simply turning away from those things which are contrary to God. They have given their life to Jesus and live as “living sacrifices” to Him. Those unsaved have not changed and do not live for Him. They instead live for self. They may even believe there is a God out there, but their life does not reflect a relationship with Him. Saved individuals are not perfect, but they are willing to repent, forgive others, and pickup their cross daily.
“As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.” Ephesians 4:1-3
What length will God go for you to be saved? Do you remember the account in Acts 16 about the salvation of the jailer? Around midnight Paul and Silas were in prison praying and singing hymns to God as the other prisoners were listening. Suddenly, there was a massive earthquake, and the prison was shaken to its foundations. All the doors immediately flew open, and the chains of every prisoner fell off. The jailer woke up to see the prison doors wide open. He assumed the prisoners has escaped, so he drew his sword to kill himself. But Paul shouted to him, “Stop! Don’t kill yourself! We are all here!” The jailer called for lights and ran to the dungeon and fell down trembling before Paul and Silas.
Then he brought them out and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved, along with everyone in your household.” And they shared the word of the Lord with him and with all who lived in his household.
No one can say if God placed Paul and Silas in the prison for the salvation of the jailer, but one thing is certain, they did not let their circumstance keep them from sharing their joy for Jesus. We know the jailer repented because he took care of Paul and Silas’ wounds. How many future prisoners benefited by the jailer’s salvation experience?
The world is too crazy to not have the assurance of our salvation. We need to be increasingly confident of our eternal home. Jesus crossed all cultural and ethnic barriers and the many lanes of religion. Ask yourself, do I show the love of Jesus to the world? Do I seek the world or God’s approval? The truth is, there is only one way to heaven and that is through Jesus Christ our Lord. If your church does not follow the whole Holy Bible, then find a church that does! The Word is truth, and it stands the test of time.
Half hearted commitment will not cut the mustard. Having the approval of Jimmy Joe or Mary Sue won’t do either. We cannot live any old way if we are saved. We have been bought at a price and that is the blood of Jesus! We must daily die to self. If you believe that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart God raised him from the dead, you will be saved! That’s assurance! To God be the glory! The angels are rejoicing!
Now, share your joy for Jesus!