What Must I Do to be Saved?
Everyone should ask himself the important question, “What must I do to be saved?” Many people believe they are saved, yet Jesus said, “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 7:21). To be saved, it is necessary to believe that Christ will forgive our sins. Then we must repent of them, live a holy life, and love one another. Because there are many teachings advanced by a multitude of religions, the question may well be asked, “What really is the truth?”
What Is Meant by Being “Born Again”?
Many people try to serve the Lord without first experiencing the new birth, but are they saved? Jesus said, “Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God” (John 3:3). When Jesus left this world, He sent the Holy Spirit. “And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment” (John 16:8). The Holy Spirit will bring man to an awareness of sinfulness. When man begins to feel the burden of his sins, he will feel condemned in his heart. If he humbles himself and through faith in Jesus cries out to God with all his heart, then God will forgive him. “Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out” (Acts 3:19). Repenting of sins includes being sorry for them, forsaking them, and turning to a new way of life. When this happens, the Holy Spirit enters the heart and one is born again. “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new” (2 Corinthians 5:17).
Who Needs This New Birth?
“For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). Inspired by the Holy Spirit, the prophet Isaiah foretold the suffering of our Lord Jesus for the sins of mankind. He said, “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way” (Isaiah 53:6). Jesus clearly told Nicodemus, a seeker of the truth, that one cannot see the kingdom of God unless he is born again. This spiritual birth is the work of the Holy Spirit. All who want to be saved need to experience this birth.
All who are weary and tired of their burden of sin are invited to come to Jesus and find forgiveness. Jesus invites: “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:28-30). Jesus suffered, shed His blood, and died on the cross “for our sins: and not for ours only, but for the sins of the whole world” (I John 2:2).
Repentance, confession, and restitution are all part of coming to the Lord Jesus with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength. “He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy” (Proverbs 28:13). “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (I John 1:9). If we have wronged our fellow man, we should confess and acknowledge our sins, and make restitution where needed. “And Zacchaeus stood, and said unto the Lord: Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor; and if I have taken any thing from any man by false accusation, I restore him fourfold” (Luke 19:8).
Faith and Obedience
Once we have experienced the new birth, we endeavor to live faithful Christian lives. Jesus instructs His followers; “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross and follow me” (Matthew 16:24). We are also admonished to keep ourselves unspotted from the world (James 1:27). “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world” (I John 2:15-16).
The Christian will be able to accomplish this by following the leading of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit will give direction and the strength to live a godly life. “Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth” (John 16:13). The results of this effort will bring about a changed heart; a life of faith that will produce obedience. “By works was faith made perfect” (James 2:22). The Christian is now living for Jesus instead of living for himself.
The indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit inspires a deep love in the Christian’s heart. He will seek the fellowship of other born-again Christians. The unity of this fellowship encourages an open-hearted sharing with one another. This is a support to the Christian and helps him to grow spiritually.
When we are born again, our names are written in the book of life. “And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire” (Revelation 20:15). Our sins are forgiven, and we experience joy and peace in our hearts. Satan will try to rob us of this gift of salvation by tempting us to disobey, but God has promised to protect and deliver us if we are faithful. “There is therefore now no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit” (Romans 8:1). “Godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come” (I Timothy 4:8).