Scriptural Steps to Salvation
Step One You must be born again.
Being born again is the first step in salvation but you are not “saved” here you are born again. thereby gaining access to the things of God. .Salvation is a process not a one step solution as is commonly taught .
John 3:3-8 Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” 4 Nicodemus said to Him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?” 5 Jesus answered, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. 6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7 Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ 8 The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit.”
1 Peter 1:22-24 22 Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit in sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart, 23 having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever,
So what does this being born again mean?
John 3:14-17 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, 15 that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. 16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. 17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.
To understand this verse that is so commonly misunderstood we must look at the word that is translated “believe”.
NT4100 pisteuo (pist-yoo’-o); from NT:4102; to have faith (in, upon, or with respect to, a person or thing), i.e. credit; by implication, to entrust (especially one’s spiritual well-being to Christ):
NT:4102 pistis (pis’-tis); from NT:3982; persuasion, i.e. credence; moral conviction (of religious truth, or the truthfulness of God or a religious teacher), especially reliance upon Christ for salvation; abstractly, constancy in such profession; by extension, the system of religious (Gospel) truth itself:
You see the word does not mean what today’s use of the word believe would infer, but a much more complex relationship. That of entrusting your Spiritual life to Him. In other words trust Him to lead, guide, direct, correct, rebuke, teach and protect you. How could He possible give you salvation if you don’t follow His lead and allow Him to bring you in.
So we see step one is becoming “born again” by believing that Christ died on the cross for you and your sins and allowing Him to take control of your life.
Step Two Water baptism
So now you are born again it is time to make the next step in your salvation experience. Water baptism has several important aspects. First I will give a few scriptures and then discuss them.
Mark 16:15-17 15 And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. 16 He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.
Matt 3:13 Then Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan to be baptized by him.
Acts 2:38 38 Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins;
All of these scriptures are talking about water baptism. Again if we are now able to enter the kingdom of God and Jesus is our pattern whom we are to trust and follow then they must also apply to us.
Do you see it? It is clear that we must have this baptism to follow Him. And for those who would say the thief on the cross was not baptized you must understand this was still under the age of the law and not in the new testament age which did not begin until after the resurrection of Christ. So back to water baptism. If Jesus was baptized in the river then I believe that shows the proper baptism is by immersion not by sprinkling and certainly no nonexistant “holy water” is needed.
Now, most people have been taught that the purpose of baptism is to show publicly your commitment to Christ. This may be true but there is a more important purpose in Water baptism.
Col 2:11-14 In Him you were also circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the sins of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, 12 buried with Him in baptism, in which you also were raised with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead. 13 And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses, 14 having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us,
When you are baptized (buried with Him in water and raised up again) there is something that takes place that is of the utmost importance. Scripture tells us that the man that is not born again has a hard heart. This scripture show us that at the point of water baptism there is a circumcision “not made with hands”. In other words by us being faithful to the pattern and being water baptized God circumsizes our heart and breaks through the hardness so we can receive the things of God.
So now after being born again and water baptized we are ready and ABLE to continue our journey to salvation. Eternal Life.
Step 3 Baptism in the Holy Spirit
Acts 1:4-6 “you have heard from Me; 5 for John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”
Now before someone says well I know someone that received the Holy Spirit before water baptism I will say so do I. The ideal according to scripture would be that it is received during water baptism and they come out of the water speaking in tongues. I have seen this too but it is not the way it usually happens. There are instances of both of these in the book of Acts. If you experience it one of these ways wonderful, if not it is ok just continue and receive it however God wants you to have it. Or if you have been taught that it is not for today and have trouble receiving then just trust God and continue on keep asking and you will receive it.
Acts 1: 8 But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
Now we see the purpose of the baptism in the Holy Spirit. It is not as many teach to give us power to do all the things we want to do but the purpose is to give us the power to be Christians and be His Witnesses in the world. It was not easy to be a Christian then, and it is not again today when everything seems to be against Christianity. Knowing this , if we follow His pattern we will have received the power from Him to do so.
So step three has been accomplished and it is time to continue on our road to salvation.
Step 4 Baptism of Fire
This step is seldom fully explained. but we will address it here in some detail as here is where many fall away because they do not understand this. It is because of His great love for us that we are allowed to go through this fire of affliction. To be approved.
There always seems to be a period after being born again and filled with the Holy Spirit that you are floating on air, feeling especially good, now that you have been cleansed of your sins. But this does not continue forever, you WILL face this fire as Jesus faced His fire. His was to trust His father on the cross. Abraham faced his fire when God told him to kill his favorite son . Meshack,,Shadrack and Abebednego faced theirs in the firey furnace but as in these and other cases God came through to save them. Remember He will never put more on you than you can bear, you may think its too much but it is what is necessary to purify you for His purposes.
Peter explains it this way.
1 Peter 1:6-9 In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, 7 that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, 8 whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, 9 receiving the end of your faith — the salvation of your souls.
Do you notice what he said, to prove that you trust God. And do you see the last of it, verse 9, receiving the end of your faith – salvation. Do you now understand that as the scriptures say in many places “they who endure to the end shall be saved”.
Matt 10:22 And you will be hated by all for My name’s sake. But he who endures to the end will be saved.
Matt 24:12-14 And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold. 13 But he who endures to the end shall be saved.
I am sure that much more could be added to this study but we have covered the basics and hopefully you will now know and understand that Salvation is a life work not a one shot solution as some teach. May God bless you as you follow His word.
TrueChristianity.org Charles LaFoe