How is a person saved?

What must a person do to become saved, and have eternal life with God? One might think that this would be the most important question on a persons mind. Growing up, I always thought God was in heaven, writing down every good and bad thing I did. I thought, if the good outweighed the bad at the end of a persons life, then this would be the way God determined your fate. As I got older, I learned that Jesus died for our sins. I still assumed that my past sins, as a non- Christian were forgiven, but I had to  keep earning my way to heaven, by doing the right things to please God.  I attended a church many years ago, that said they were the true Church of God, and were keeping all the traditions of the early 1st century church, that had been done away with by the Catholic Church. We observed the seventh day sabbath, and did not work on that day. We also abstained from meat, that the bible said was unclean.  Along with this, we observed the old testament holy days, instead of Christmas and Easter. I thought these things were pleasing to God, and he would reward me for my obedience to him.

In Luke chapter 2, there is an account given of the birth of Christ, in verses 13-14 it says, ” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.”  The angels were not proclaiming peace on earth among men, but peace on earth, and good will toward men, from God.  Before the birth of  Jesus ,God rewarded ancient Israel according to how well they kept his laws and commandments, and punished them when they strayed from keeping them.  This was recorded, and given to us as an example of  what a relationship with God, apart from Christ, is like. In 2 Samuel Chapters 11 and 12 we can read the story of  King David, and Bath-sheba. In this story, David lusts after Bath-sheba, and has sexual relations with her, although she is a married woman. When he finds out she is pregnant with his child, he calls her husband Uria up from fighting in the front lines, and tries to persuade him to go home, and have sex with his wife . When Uriah refuses, David has him killed, and takes Bath-sheba as his own wife.  She bare him a son, but in 2 Sam. 11.27 it says, “But the thing David had done displeased the Lord.”   Nathan the prophet then tells King David, the punishment that he will be given, for committing this sin.  David is told the sword shall never depart from his house,  God says he will raise up evil against him, out of his own house. [See Absalom’s conspiracy in the following chapters.] And David is also told,  the  son who Bath-sheba bore to him, would also die. This is an example of the relationship between God, and man, before Jesus.  David, having gone through this wrote in Psalm 32 . 1-2,  looking forward to the time of Christ, “Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man unto whom the Lord imputeth not iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no guile.”  Paul repeats this blessing, in his letter to the Romans, where speaking of Abraham, Paul writes in Rom.4.5, “But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.” Paul then goes on to quote David, in Psalm32.

What is it then, that we need to have faith in?  Can we have faith that God will keep us from sin, and not let us fall into temptation like David? After all, Paul writes in Rom. 2.13 ” For not the hearers of the law are justified before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified.”  Here Paul writes, the doers of the law shall be justified. But what law is Paul speaking of?  In Rom.3.27 Paul tells us, “Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay; but by the law of faith.” By the law of faith, we are justified.  Again we can read, in Eph. 2.8-9, “For by grace are ye saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God. Not of works, lest any man should boast.”  So were are saved by faith, not by works.  Rom. 3-10 says , “There is none righteous, no, not one. ” And Isa. 64.6 says, ” But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags, and we all do fade as a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind have taken us away.”

Finally, to answer the question, what must we have faith in to be saved? We read in Acts 2.21, ” And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.” And in Acts 4.12 speaking of Jesus we read, ” Neither is there salvation in any other, for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.”  Jesus tells us in John 10.9, ” I am the door, by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.”  Rom. 10.9-10 states, ” That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.  For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. ”  The Good News is, even the faith we have to believe that Jesus died for us, is a gift from God.  Paul warned the Corinthian church, in 2Corn. 11.3, ” But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.”  There are churches, and preachers, that would have you believe  it is very complicated to receive Gods grace, and gift of eternal life.  Believe in God, and his goodness.  “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.” John 3.16.  To be saved, we need to recognize that we are sinners, and believe that Jesus died for our sins. And acccept him as our Lord and Saviour.  Then, we can receive the free gift of eternal life.

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