WHAT MUST I DO TO BE SAVED?
Most of us have heard of the concept of repeating the "sinner's prayer" to earn redemption. It is thought that all one has to do to be saved by Jesus Christ is to utter a prayer repenting of one's sins and presto, one is saved. Although teaching new believers about prayer is a beneficial practice, it does not provide them with understanding about how to receive genuine salvation.
Hear and Believe
How can you know about anything without hearing about it first? You have to be given the opportunity to hear about the message of the gospel of Jesus Christ. (Romans 10:14) Even before hearing the message of the gospel you have to be open or available to receiving it. When Jesus was teaching the multitude of people by the seaside, he indicated more than once that whoever has ears should hear. He was instructing them to be attentive and consider the message with an intention to understand.
When the apostle Paul was jailed the keeper of the jail asked him what must he do to be saved. The answer was to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and he would be saved. They then shared the gospel with him and his household. After hearing the good news of the gospel the keeper of the jail and his entire household believed and was baptized.
So now you have heard the gospel message of Christ and faced with a decision. Do I believe or reject what I have heard. To believe is to be persuaded, convinced or to think to be true. We are to believe with our heart. This involves more than accepting facts . It involves an inner trust and conviction. The heart rules our thoughts, wills and desires. So believing with our heart is a deeper belief that impacts all those areas. It is a life changing belief. (Romans 10 9-10; Ezekiel 33:26; Acts 8:37)
There are a lot of things that I have done that I am sorry for, often to the point of sadness. It is not a sorrow of condemnation but of conviction. It pushes me away from reoffending and toward the freedom of God's grace and mercy. Repentance produces like results. Repentance involves a changing or shift of the mind. In the Old Testament it is often described as a turning away.
What are we turning away from? We are turning away from a rebellious, sinful way of thinking and living and turning back to God. (Nehemiah 1:9; Deuteronomy 4:29-31) Repentance is not produced with words but with a changing of the mind which produces godly results or actions. (Revelation 9:20-21)
Our faith in Christ is not to be kept a secret. Whenever we have good and exciting news to share, like a new job or life events. We like to share it with as many people that will hear it. It is so hard to keep good news to ourselves. For so many of us our beliefs are private and we often keep it to ourselves for fear of offending others who may not hold those same ideals, especially those who can impact change in our lives.
In John 12:42 we have the chief rulers who believed on Christ but would not admit it for fear of being put out of the synagogue. I don't know much about who the chief rulers were in the religious center or how they performed their position. However it is apparent that they loved their position more than they loved God. We must not be ashamed to talk about Christ openly. We are to be the vessels to carry his message to a lost world.
To confess Christ is one of the components of salvation because it spreads the message of the good news of Christ to the world. As scripture would say, "How can they hear about him unless someone tells them?" This outward confession of belief in Christ Jesus is a confirmation of what has taken place in your heart. (Romans 10:10)
Call ON THE LORD
Acts 2:21 says :
and it shall come to pass that whoever calls on the name of the LORD will be saved.
This is not a verbal calling or yelling out as if just saying the name of Jesus will accomplish salvation. For Christ himself said , "Not everyone that says Lord, Lord will enter the Kingdom of Heaven". Nor would using his authority or name to do good works accomplish like results. Only those who do the will of the Father in heaven would enter into the kingdom.
Calling on the name of the Lord involves submitting to God's will. We are to be identified with Christ by our worship and obedience to him. Today we may also refer to it as having a relationship with God.
In Zephaniah 3:9 it states :
For then will I turn to the people a pure language, that they may all call upon the name of the LORD, to serve him with one consent.
As you can see here calling upon the name of the LORD is interpreted here as worship and serving Him. It is not an verbal statement to solidify your beliefs. It involves an commitment and reliance on God instead of following our own ways.