To listen to people, talk, it seems that most people believe nearly everyone will one day have a home in heaven. But Jesus taught “Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it” (Matthew 7:12-14.)
In light of Jesus’ teaching, the greatest question any of us could ever ask is “What must I do to be saved?” You have probably heard many different answers. These answers often contradict one another. This causes many people to wonder, “Can I really know what I must do to be saved? How can I know?”
Yes, you can know! But you cannot find the answer by asking other people. The answer can only be found by going to the Bible. God’s Word, the Bible, provides us with everything we need to know concerning our salvation (II Timothy 3:16,17, James 1:21, II Peter 1:3.)
The Bible teaches that a person must first hear the gospel. Without hearing the good news about Jesus Christ, it is not possible to have faith. Romans 10:17 – “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”
The Bible teaches that a person must believe the gospel. “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 316). He must believe that Jesus is the Son of God. He must believe that Jesus existed in the flesh and lived a sinless life. He must believe that Jesus offered himself up to die on the cross and arose from the grave. He must believe that Jesus went back to heaven and is preparing a place for those who are faithful to Him (John 14:1-4.)
But faith has no benefit unless it is accompanied by obedience. “Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone” (James 2:17). We are justified by our works, and not by faith only (James 2:24.) Does this mean we earn our salvation? Absolutely not! Romans 6:23 teaches that eternal life is a gift from God. But we must meet the conditions set by God in order to receive the gift. Our lives must be lives of obedience to God.
The Bible teaches that a person must repent of their sins. “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 Ghost” (Acts 2:38). A person repents of his sins when his godly sorrow causes him to become determined to live a life that is pleasing to God (II Corinthians 7:10.)
The Bible teaches that a person must confess his belief in Jesus Christ as the Son of God. “Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 10:32-33). It is not only a duty but also a privilege for a person to confess his belief in Jesus Christ.
The Bible teaches that a person must be baptized. “The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ:” (I Peter 3:21). Jesus taught: “And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned” (Mark 16:15-16). It is only when a person is baptized that his sins are washed away. “And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord” (Acts 22:16). A person cannot believe his way into Christ nor pray his way into Christ. A person must be baptized into Christ. “Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death” (Romans 6:3). “For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ” (Galatians 3:26-27).
A person who has not been baptized is still outside of Christ. A person who is outside of Christ has no real hope of receiving any of God’s spiritual blessings because all spiritual blessings are in Christ (Ephesians 1:3.)
What must a person do to be saved? He must hear the gospel, believe the good news about Jesus Christ, repent of his sins, confess his faith in Jesus Christ as the Son of God, and then be baptized.
A person must continue to live a life of faithfulness to God. The Bible teaches it is possible for a person to be saved from his sins but later fall from grace and be lost. “Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace” (Galatians 5:4).
A person might ask, “What church should I join?” The Bible teaches that it is not possible to join a church. The Lord adds those who are saved to the church (Acts 2:47.) Which church? The Bible speaks of only one church (Matthew 16:18, Ephesians 4:4, Colossians 1:18, Romans 16:16). The church Christ built, where salvation is found, is not a denomination, but is the one church He purchased with His blood (Acts 20:28).
Yes, you can know what you must do to be saved! You can be one of those who enter into the strait gate and finds eternal life!