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One day we all will stand before God to be judged. There are two groups of people that will be judged 1) the saved (redeemed) and 2) the lost. The saved are judged to determine their rewards (crowns) while the eternal destiny of those that are lost has already been determined. It is Hell and the Lake of Fire.
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Through repentance and the finished work of Jesus Christ that is found in his death, burial and resurrection, redemption is available for all those that will receive Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. It is through the gift of grace that our Lord makes this available to anyone who will receive it by faith. However, Jesus warned us that it would be very difficult to enter his Kingdom.
When I talk to people about Jesus, it seems that nearly everyone I speak to is saved and going to heaven. However, this doesn't align with scripture. Matthew 22:14 tells us "For many are called, but few chosen." Matthew 7:14 says "Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it." Very few people will make it into heaven; many will be surprised when they don't. Why is it so difficult?
The reason it is difficult to enter God's kingdom is not because God is requiring us to do the impossible or his way is too hard for us, but because our sin nature makes us want to gratify the desires of our flesh. Very few will find true salvation because many will desire to remain true to their old sinful nature rather than allow the Holy Spirit to create within them a clean heart, to give them a new nature so they can become citizens of a new Kingdom.
For salvation, Jesus is asking you to switch allegiances from the Kingdom of Darkness to the Kingdom of Light. In John 18:36 Jesus tells that his kingdom is not of this world. Though we must live here until God calls us home, we must not live for ourselves or this world's system, we must live according to the values of his kingdom. Why? 2 Corinthians 5:20 tells us "Now then we are ambassadors for Christ..." This is now our high calling and in salvation we agree by covenant to abide by our heavenly father's kingdom's values while we live on earth.
We submit ourselves to the power of the Holy Spirit. Apart from the Holy Spirit, we can do nothing. 1 Cor 12:3 tells us "...no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost." John 6:44 tells us, "No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him..." Salvation and repentance is a supernatural act. God draws us to Him and opens our eyes to sin and allows us to see sin as He sees it. This brings a desire within us to change out hearts, to repent (turn from our sins) and to be saved.
So how can a person be genuinely saved?
First you must acknowledge you are a lost sinner in need of a savior.
"If our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are LOST." - 2 Corinthians 4:3
"All have sinned and come short of the glory of God." - Romans 3:23
"The wages of sin is death." - Romans 6:23
"There is none righteous, no not one: There is none that seeketh after God." - Romans 3:10,11
"All we like sheep have gone astray." - Isaiah 53:6
This is the first major hurdle. As noted above, most people think they are saved and going to heaven. They are trusting in things that are not Biblical and thus will not get them into heaven.
Things that will NOT get you into heaven:
- Being Christened, Baptized or Confirmed.
- Your good works. Doing good daily.
- Praying daily.
- Going to church.
- Your church membership.
- Your position in the church. There are lost deacons and pastors.
- Giving money to the church.
- Believing in God.
Believe that Jesus died for you; trust Him to save you.
"But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died FOR US." - Romans 5:8
"BELIEVE on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved." - Acts 16:31
"He that BELIEVETH on him is not condemned." - John 3:18
"He that BELIEVETH on the Son HATH everlasting life." - John 3:36
God determined the price of sin, which was a perfect, sinless sacrifice. God then gave us His own Son to pay the price that we couldn't. Jesus paid the price for your sin when He shed his blood, died on the cross and arose on the third day.
Confess HIM before men to show that you trust Him.
"For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation." - Romans 10:10 "How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed?" - Romans 10:14
You must first believe in your heart before you can call upon Him.
Ask in prayer, "Lord Jesus, I am a sinner. Forgive me Lord for my past sins. I surrender my life to you as my Lord and Savior. Create within me a clean heart and save me. Thank you Lord for saving me. Amen."
Now, in trusting Jesus Christ, and accepting Him as your Lord and Savior, you have eternal life. Next, you should publicly confess Him before men, and then present yourself for believer's baptism by immersion as an act of obedience and identification with Christ.
Most people stop here. However, salvation is more than saying a simple, one-time, sinner's prayer. A person truly saved will surrender his or her life to the Lordship of Jesus. Many do not do this, that is why only a few are truly saved. We must submit our lives to the Holy Spirit to create within us a clean heart; one worthy of our new king, Jesus.
True salvation will provide real change in our lives. 2 Corinthians 5:17 tells us, "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new." As the Holy Spirit works in our life, our desires, attitude and actions will change.
As an ambassador, representing the most high kingdom of God, we will no longer feel comfortable using off-color language, tolerating sexual innuendos and generally living the life we did before. If there were no changes in our life, then there was no salvation - you are not part of the saved few.
You need to find a sound, Bible-believing, New Testament church as commanded in Hebrews 10:25. Use this link to search for a church in your area.
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