God's Plan For Our Salvation...
Ever since God spoke to the people through the Apostle Peter in Jerusalem on the Day of Pentecost and spoke the following words:
36"Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made the same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.
37 Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the Apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?
38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
39 For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the LORD our God shall call."
40 And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, "Save yourselves from this untoward generation."
41 Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.
42 And they continued stedfastly in the Apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers. Acts 2:36-42
On this day the Church was established and the people that followed Peter's instructions on how to be saved were added to the Church that very same hour and day. The same instructions that Peter gave to the people in Jerusalem over 2,000 years ago are the same instructions that we need to hear and obey in order to be saved and be added to Christ's Church today.
1. You must hear the gospel and recognize your condition
You must hear the gospel and then understand and recognize that you are lost without Jesus Christ no matter who you are and no matter what your background is. The Bible tells us that "all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God." (Romans 3:23) Before
you can be saved, you must understand that you are lost and that the only way to be saved is by the obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 1:8) Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me." (John 14:6) "Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men,whereby we must be saved." (Acts 4:12)
2. Have Faith in God
You must have faith in God because "without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him." (Hebrews 11:6) But neither belief alone nor faith alone is sufficient to save. (James 2:19; James 2:24; Matthew 7:21)
3. Repent of Your Sins
You must repent of your sins. (Acts 3:19) Repentance is more than just being sorry for your sins. For us to repent we must change our way of life. We must say that I have been living my life the wrong way but, now I'm going to live my life the right way for God. But repentance alone is not enough.
The so-called "Sinner's Prayer" that you hear so much about today from denominational preachers does not appear anywhere in the Bible. Indeed, nowhere in the Bible was anyone ever told to pray the "Sinner's Prayer" to be saved. By contrast, there are numerous examples showing that prayer alone does not save. Saul, for example, prayed following his meeting with Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:11), but Saul was still in his sins when Ananias met him three days later (Acts 22:16). Cornelius prayed to God always, and yet there was something else he needed to do to be saved (Acts 10:2, 6, 33, 48). If prayer alone did not save Saul or Cornelius, it will not save you either. You must obey the gospel.
4. Confess That Jesus Christ is the Son of God
You must confess that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. (Romans 10:9-10) Note that you do NOT need to make Jesus "Lord of your life." Why? Because Jesus is already Lord of your life whether or not you have obeyed his gospel. Indeed, we obey him, not to make him Lord, but because he already is Lord. (Acts 2:36) Also, no one in the Bible was ever told to just "accept Jesus as your personal savior." We must confess that Jesus is the Son of God, but, as with faith and repentance, confession alone does not save. (Matthew 7:21)
5. Be Baptized for the Remission of Your Sins
Having believed, repented, and confessed that Jesus is the Son of God, you must be baptized for the remission of your sins. (Acts 2:38) It is at this point (and not before) that your sins are forgiven. (Acts 22:16) It is impossible to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ without teaching the absolute necessity of baptism for salvation. (Acts 8:35-36; Romans 6:3-4; 1 Peter 3:21)
Anyone who responds to the question in Acts 2:37 with an answer that contradicts Acts 2:38 is NOT proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ!
6. Be Faithful Unto Death
Once you are saved, God adds you to his church and writes your name in the Book of Life. (Acts 2:47; Philippians 4:3) To continue in God's grace, you must continue to serve God faithfully until death. Unless they remain faithful, those who are in God's grace will fall from grace, and those whose names are in the Book of Life will have their names blotted out of that book. (Revelation 2:10; Revelation 3:5; Galatians 5:4)