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How to be saved (Compass)

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This is an opinion article from a user of WikiChristian.

This article is not a step by step process that you can follow in order to be saved. Instead it attempts to be a helpful tool for all exploring their own salvation.

We need to begin with the focus of all Christians. Scripture says that salvation is found in the person and work of Jesus Christ. It is not what you believe, but who you believe in that is most important to your salvation. Believing insomething is different from believing about something. You know a great deal about the work you do, but do you believe in the work you do. Are you enthused about it, do you trust in what you do as beneficial and good. Being saved is living a life that believes in Jesus, that is a life that is entusiastic about Jesus. This new life begins by accepting Jesus into your life and accepting what He has done for you in His death, resurrection and ascention. The Gospel of John is a good place to find out both who Jesus is and many examples of what it is to simply believe in Him. Many of the examples reflect the simple recieving of a gift. John talks in terms of drinking "living water", or eating the "bread of life." Things God provides in Jesus. These are simple acts of quenching thirst or satisfying our need for food that point to our need to satisfy our spiritual hunger or thirst. This is done by seeing Jesus, learning about Jesus, hearing His words and acknoledging that He is who He says He is. As you learn of Him a trust will grow in your heart and mind that He is God and that in Him you will find eternal life. God will draw you to His Son and by God's grace through your faith your trusting in Him, your beieving in Him, your enthusiasm for Him will grow and you will be saved.


The Importance of Grace

It is a fundamental belief of the Church that it is God that saves. Our own actions cannot save us. This is stated clearly in Ephesians chapter 2 verses 8 and 9

2:8 For by grace you are saved through faith, and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God; 2:9 it is not from works, so that no one can boast. NetBible

Thus in simplisitic terms being saved means accepting by faith the offer of salvation in Christ made to you out of Gods grace.

Some traditions use a standard prayer, typically called the sinners prayer, that they encourage people to pray in order to accept the offer of salvation and repent of their sins and thus 'be saved'. Others believe that the acceptance of grace is part of their normal liturgy. The point of acceptance of God's saving grace by faith is usually known as the point of conversion.


Each Experience of Salvation is Unique to the Individual

If we look across the spectrum of Christian practice and belief, both now and in the past, we need to recognise that there are many different forms of conversion experience. Some of them are dramatic and others almost un-noticed.


Assurance of Salvation

Our assurance of being saved is not based on our typical way of knowing things. If I join the Army, there is no doubt that I am a soldier. For some, knowing that they are for certain a Christian is not as clear to them given the wide range of possible conversion experiences. Typically, this can lead to asking questions like:

Surely I can't have been saved because x has not happened?
I don't feel any different, have I really been saved?
If I am saved why are my prayers not being answered?
I am still doing y, so have I been saved?
My life has not suddenly got better, surely I can't have been saved?


How Do I know I am saved?

Many people ask How can I know I have been saved?

Scripture says that if you confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead you will be saved. This is not a formula, a set of magic words to accomplish salvation. They are the response of a person being drawn by God to His Son. It is making a public statement that you acknowledge that Jesus is who He says He is (a confession of the lips) and it is also a recognition inside your being that Jesus is alive and desires to dwell in you (He was raised from the dead). This is a matter of faith not feelings. Trust that it is so based on God's written word and God will make it real in your life. As you grow in this reality you will see the fruit of the new life Jesus brings to you. You (and others) will see the Holy Spirit at work in your life. The orthodox view is that the Holy Spirit is given as a seal of your salvation.

There is some disagreement about when this happens, there being 3 main views

It may be helpful to consider that at the point of conversion the Holy Spirit takes up residence in your life (in other words God accepts your acceptance of salvation and comes to dwell in you. At this point you begin a process of Sanctification of being set apart for doing the things God has in store for you. This is the next step after your Salvation.

So how can we know the Holy Spirit is resident in our lives (i.e. the seal of our salvation)? Simply put, we and/or others should expect to see the fruits of the Spirit in our lives namely love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control from Galatians 5:22. The desire to be more Christlike in our lives is a sign of the Holy Spirit at work within us and so an assurance of our salvation.

Questions New Believers Raise About Their Salvation

Surely I can't have been saved because x has not happened?
This is most commonly heard in Churches with a strong focus on Baptism of the Holy Spirit and Speaking in tongues, first re-read 1 Corinthians 12 and rest assured that a) there is no distinction given to Speaking in tongues over other gifts b) gifts are given by the Spirit as he decides for the common good, if we expect all Christians to exhibit the same gift then we are attempting to take control away from the Spirit c) See 1 Corinthians 12:27-31 clearly Paul thought not all would speak in tongues. Please, relax and let the Holy Spirit rule in your life, spiritual gifts are not signs of [salvation] (more accurately maybe they could be called signs of calling and responsibility).
I don't feel any different, have I really been saved?
Conversion is not about a feeling. It is about a change of direction, the start of a process of Sanctification that will end with us in heaven.
If I am saved why are my prayers not being answered?
Salvation is not a bargain with God, but an acceptance of his grace. It does not elevate us to being equals with God or allow us to make demands on him. Look at Prayer and How to Pray for some help on the nature of prayer and how God answers.
I am still doing y, so have I been saved?
See Romans 7:7-25
My life has not suddenly got better, surely I can't have been saved?
Christian faith does not result in a better quality of material life. It is about eternal life and the kingdom of God. Consider the traditional form of the covenant prayer used in the Methodist Church in the UK.
I am no longer my own but yours.
Put me to what you will,
Rank me with whom you will;
put me to doing, put me to suffering;
let me be employed for you or laid aside for you,
exalted for you or brought low for you;
let me be full, let me be empty,
let me have all things, let me have nothing;
I freely and wholeheartedly yield all things
to your pleasure and disposal.

Conclusion

Remember you are not saved by anything you did for God and you are not sanctified by anything you do for God. In John Jesus speaks to Nicodemus and tells him that He must be born anew or born from above. When born from above God endows you. He is then able by His Spirit to guide, confort, teach, discipline, empower and encourage you in the way He would have you go. You started with Jesus as your focus of trust and belief in order to be saved. Continue your Christian walk with Jesus and He will see to your sanctification. As Jesus makes Himself real to you, you will have no doubt that He has saved you.




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