Before I go deeper in explanation, the first thing that needs to be understood is why a person has to be saved: it is because everyone has sinned against the Lord. The concept of sin that we hold may refer to killing, hurting others, lying, hatred, anger, hold grudges, does not want to forgive, pornography, lust, and many other things. But actually sin in its original language is defined as ‘missing the target’. So it is not only the bad things that we’ve done, it is also a bunch of other things that we should have done but we didn’t do!
What is salvation? How can a person be saved? What drives us to be saved?
The basic concept of salvation is that it cannot be earned. People may seek redemption towards their souls through good doings – e.g. giving to the poor, forgive others, love one another, etc. But the Bible says that, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23). This means that everyone’s fate is to spend eternity (which will be discussed later) in hell – as all have sinned – with unbearable tortures and the raging fire. No one can ‘save’ himself, for how can a blind man helps another blind man cross the street? The only way for us to receive salvation is through Jesus Christ, as God has given His only Son to die in the cross for us. Jesus Christ, who has not sinned – became sin to redeem us from the eternal punishment. However, Jesus Christ was not condemned in hell, He triumphed over hell and lived again. Through the grace of God who sent Jesus Christ, we receive salvation.
The first step of receiving salvation is ‘accepting Jesus Christ as our Savior’, for it is written, “That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” (Romans 10:9). This is the basic way of being saved.
The second step that is usually lost in translation is that: believing Jesus is Lord is not enough, for “You believe there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that – and shudder (tremble in fear).” (James 2:12) In order to have salvation, we must prove it through our actions, for it is written, “Not everyone who says to me, “Lord, Lord,” will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 7:21). Notice that saying Jesus is ‘Lord’ is not enough – we must do the will of the Father (God the Father)!
So if a person says that, “I’m a Christian,” is his place in heaven has been booked? If someone says that, “I believe in Jesus,” will he enter the kingdom of heaven? The answer is NO! If he only believes that Jesus is the Lord, and thus his actions and behaviors prove otherwise, he may not enter the kingdom of God (or else we will see devils in heaven!). Even for those who lived ‘normally’ and attend church regularly, believe in Christ, and doing good things; they may not be saved after all. They have also sinned because they are not doing the will of God (as mentioned before, sin is explained as ‘missing the target’). This is where most of the deception comes. Many people think that believing in Jesus is enough. Well apparently, it isn’t! People who believe in Jesus but live their days according to world’s ways (doing corruption, does not love the others, telling lies, does not forgive his brothers, etc) will not inherit the kingdom of heaven. To put it in another way, we believe in Jesus through faith. And faith without actions is nothing, for the Bible also says, “Faith without deeds is death.” (James 2:26) Thus, if we believe in Jesus through our faith but we do not live our lives as a reflection towards this faith, it is dead – nothing.
Doing the will of God is not easy, for it is human nature to sin (since Adam has fallen in the very beginning). What is the will of God? Generally, the will of God is presented through the scriptures – the Bible. By reading Bible, we can know the will of the Lord and thus live according to His ways. It is summarized in the Ten Commandments, but yet there are other wills of God given to each of us personally, which I will discuss later in ‘judgment’ part.
So in order to have salvation, there are two things that must be done:
- Repent from our sins and believe Christ as our Savior – as well as confess it through our mouths (Romans 10:9)
- Doing the will of Father (Matthew 7:21)
Believe in the Lord but yet doing nothing – it’s not going to be ‘enough’ =)
I hope this can be a blessing for us all =)