In a pluralistic American society, it has become politically incorrect to suggest that any one religion can make any claim to absolute truth. Historic Christianity has made such a claim to absolute truth. Just as a counterfeit twenty-dollar bill bears resemblance to the genuine twenty-dollar bill, so all other world religions and cults bear some resemblance to the genuine faith of the entire human race Christianity! Faithful Christians have not neglected to insist upon the absolute truth that Jesus Christ is the only means by which any individual may be brought into a favorable relationship with the eternal God. In Acts 4:12, we learn that there is salvation in no one (or anything) other than Jesus Christ. To receive Jesus Christ as your Savior, three easy, yet sincere, steps must be taken.
Realize Your Condition
The first step necessary to receive eternal life is coming to the realization that you have broken the law of the eternal God. The Bible calls the act of breaking God’s law “sin”, and every individual has sinned, and is, therefore, guilty of treason against God and worthy of eternal death: For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). Because all have become criminals against God by sinning against His law, everyone deserves nothing but complete justice which is eternal punishment.
But God is not eager to eternally punish anyone, and for this reason, He has provided a way in which our crimes against Him may be forgiven. Jesus said that a person who realized his spiritual need was responsible to do two things: ‘The time has come,’ he said. ‘The kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news!’ (Mark 1:15). After an individual realizes he is a criminal in the opinion of God because of sin, He expects us, as Jesus taught in the preceding verse, to repent and believe (or receive).
After realizing the need for forgiveness of sin, one must first repent. Very simply, to repent means to turn around from or away from. It means that an individual turns away from sin you make a “U” turn away from sin toward God. Before seeking forgiveness of sin, you walked toward sin and practiced sin, but when seeking to become a Christian, you must turn completely away from all which displeases God that is with the help of God’s Holy Spirit we repent.
Part of repentance involves the confession of our sin. This does not mean to recall or confess every sin we have ever committed, but what it does mean is to agree with God’s assessment of our condition of guilt. Everyone who comes to God must acknowledge that he has sinned against God and has become guilty because of that sin (1 John 1:9).
To be aware of one’s guilt before God and repent of crimes against God is not enough. There is one more step. The final step to receiving eternal life is to receive Jesus Christ as the One who can save from the punishment of sin; for this reason, Jesus is called “Savior.” In Acts 20:21, the Apostle Paul noted that all must turn to God in repentance and have faith in our Lord Jesus. To receive Jesus as Savior, two things are necessary, and sometimes these two components of receiving Christ are spoken of individually in Scripture, but both components should be present in the reception of Christ as Savior. They are separated here for the sake of clarity.
First, we must believe (Mark 1:15; Acts 20:21). That is, we must believe that Jesus is the only way to heaven: Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved (Acts 4:12). You must be willing to believe that your sins can only be forgiven by Jesus Christ: For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life (John 3:16).
Second, if we believe this, we must personalize this truth by accepting it to be true or receiving the truth: But as many as received him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name (John 1:12). Someone may offer you a present; you may be aware of it. But you must receive or accept the gift if it is to be a benefit to you. So it is with regard to Jesus Christ. You may know about him; you may believe that he exists. But God intends that everyone regard him in a superior way, as the only Means which God has provided to forgive us of our crimes. Until we receive the gift in the way in which God has offered Christ to us, we do not enjoy the benefits of God’s gift in Christ.
If you would like to enjoy the spiritual life which God offers to you, you may wish to offer the following prayer to our heavenly Father:
Eternal Father, I realize I have broken your law and have become a criminal in your sight, and I know I deserve eternal punishment for having sinned against you. I confess that I have sinned. I believe with all of my heart that Jesus Christ is the only means which you have provided to forgive my sin. I now receive the gift of forgiveness which you offer to me through Jesus. Forgive me, and make me your child so that I may receive spiritual life, and give me the grace I need to walk with you everyday in a way that is pleasing to you. By faith, I accept your gift in Christ. Thank you for the new spiritual life which you have given to me in Christ, and it is in His name I pray. Amen.
If you have placed your trust in Jesus as your Savior, you have received eternal life and have been delivered from spiritual darkness (Colossians 1:13) and have been “made new,” “created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness” (Ephesians 4:23). Since this is true, it is important for you to create habits which will enable you to live a life which is pleasing to God. To do so, share with a family member or friend that God has forgiven you of your sin, and you are now a child of God and heir of heaven (Galatians 4:7). Begin to regularly read the Bible and pray, and be sure to attend church each time there is a service.
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Concerned with the cultural decay of America, Dr. Flick has sought to provide answers to fellow Christians (and unbelievers) concerning the questions and objections to Christianity often posed by secularists and the irreligious. Dr. Flick is Christian Heritage Fellowship’s executive director and resides in East Tennessee with his wife, Beth. He spent 12 years as a Seminary professor and has been a licensed minister for more than thirty years, during which time he has served as pastor, revival and camp meeting evangelist, interim pastor, and other ministerial roles. He has authored numerous articles concerning America’s Christian heritage. Dr. Flick earned his Ph.D. from Drew University in theology and church history.