Q. What is salvation?
A. The dictionary tells us that salvation means "to be rescued from harm, ruin or loss". As you read this, you may be experiencing one or all of these definitions in your life right now. We look out our windows every day and see a broken world, but what do we see when we look into our own hearts? Do we see a life scarred and broken by a lifetime of poor choices or do we feel an emptiness that nothing in this life seems able to fill. It is in moments like these that we become aware that we are in need of a Savior. Jesus Christ, the Son of God, came to this world to save us from the hurt, and pain and emptiness we feel in our hearts. He came to give us a promise, that if we truly believe in Him and put our full trust in Him, that He would not only save us from this world, but more importantly, He would save us from ourselves.
Q. Why do I need to be saved?
A. In this world we have laws that govern our conduct and action and if we violate one of those laws, there is a penalty that must be paid. In God's kingdom He also has laws and when we violate one of His laws, there is also a price to be paid. Our dilemma is this, with what do we pay our debt to God for violating His laws? First, know this, God doesn't want our money and He won't accept our good works. He doesn't care about the families we come from or the size of our houses or the corner offices we work in. None of these can save us from the debt we owe God. Thinking we can handle our debt to God in any of these ways would be like being found guilty of counterfeiting and then paying our fine with counterfeit money. It just won't work. You have nothing that God will accept for violating His law. Nothing.
Q. How do I become saved?
A.There is only one instance in the Bible when someone asked this question and the Apostle Paul answered this way, "Believe in the Lord Jesus with all your heart and you will be saved and your whole family." Every law we have broken, every sin we have committed has incurred a debt between us and God and when God saw how helpless we were in the face of this mounting debt, it saddened Him beyond belief. His solution, have His Son, His only Son come into this world and offer Himself as payment for our sins. This was the only price God would accept for the debt we owed, the death of One who knew no sin. And now, if we believe in His sinless life and if we believe that He took our place before the Judge and accepted the penalty for our sins, we will be saved from the debt we owe God.
Q. So how do I tell God I want to be saved?
A. Start by praying this simple prayer. "Father, I know that I have broken your laws and I know now that I am a sinner. I am truly sorry for the choices I have made and I want to start living a life that pleases you. I understand now that Jesus has died for my sins and I ask you now to forgive me and to take all my sins away. I believe with all my heart that Jesus is the Son of God and that He died on the cross for me. I believe that He was buried and on the third day He was resurrected. I invite Jesus into my heart right now and accept Him as my Lord and my Savior. Please fill me with your precious Holy Spirit so that I might honor you with this new life you have blessed me with. In Jesus' name I pray, amen."
Q. I prayed this prayer, now what do I do?
A. Now that you are saved, the next step is to become a follower or a "disciple" of Jesus Christ. A disciple is a person who not only follows but is a person who everyday is changed by this new relationship with Christ. If you just prayed that "prayer of salvation", you're now ready to become a disciple of Christ. So first, you need to get a Bible, the Word of God. There are so many versions out there so find one that is easy for you to read. Next, start reading in the Book of John. Take your time and don't rush, this isn't a race. Think about what you're reading and let it sink down deep into your heart. Next, find a church that teaches and preaches the Word of God. Try out a number of churches before you settle on one. When you find a church you're interested in, start by making a connection with the pastor and share with him what Christ has done in you life. This is how you get started as a disciple of Christ. Keep reading your Bible (even if it doesn't make a whole lot of sense at first), keep talking to God throughout your day, trust that He has a plan for your life. And most importantly remember, now that you are His child, nothing can ever separate you from your Father or His unconditional love for you!