Salvation: Stepping into Salvation

Look at the examples we have in the Scriptures of conversions, when people first came into faith in the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation. What takes place?

The day the church began, thousands came to faith in Christ. Read the verse to see how Peter instructed them.

Acts 2:38 And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”

Acts 8:14-17 Now when the apostles at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent to them Peter and John, who came down and prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit, for he had not yet fallen on any of them, but they had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. Then they laid their hands on them and they received the Holy Spirit.

Acts 16:30-33 …“Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” And they said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.” And they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house. And he took them the same hour of the night and washed their wounds; and he was baptized at once, he and all his family. (He baptized everyone in the wee hours of the night. It was important!)

Acts 8:35-36 Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning with this Scripture he told him the good news about Jesus. And as they were going along the road they came to some water, and the eunuch said, “See, here is water! What prevents me from being baptized?” (Philip must have spoken of baptism as what was needful when sharing the good news.)

Acts 9:17-18 So Ananias departed and entered the house. And laying his hands on him he said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus who appeared to you on the road by which you came has sent me so that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” And immediately something like scales fell from his eyes, and he regained his sight. Then he rose and was baptized.

Acts 10:43-48 To him all the prophets bear witness that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.” 44 While Peter was still saying these things, the Holy Spirit fell on all who heard the word. 45 And the believers from among the circumcised who had come with Peter were amazed, because the gift of the Holy Spirit was poured out even on the Gentiles. 46 For they were hearing them speaking in tongues and extolling God. Then Peter declared, 47 “Can anyone withhold water for baptizing these people, who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?” 48 And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ.

Below is a verse from when Paul is retelling his conversion experience. I want to point out that he was calling on the Lord in baptism.

Acts 22:16 “And now why do you wait? Rise and be baptized and wash away your sins, calling on his name.”

Romans 10:13 is not telling people they can call out the word Jesus and be saved. It says, “For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” Paul called on the Lord by being baptized. People wrongly use Romans 10:9 (below) as a method of salvation. It was written to Christians! It’s not explaining to anyone how to get saved.

Romans 10:9 If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.

A few verses later, we read the context of these verses. In verse 12, it talks about how there is no distinction between Jew and Greek. That’s what these verses are talking about — that anyone, not just Jews, can believe for salvation. Jesus Himself tells us in the Sermon on the Mount that there will be many confessing that Jesus is Lord with their mouth and they will not be saved.

Matthew 7:21-23 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’”

Baptism does NOT save you. Faith saves you by the grace of God. Our next lesson will be about “saved by grace.” I just want to point out the Bible example of how people come into their life in Christ. The church has mostly replaced baptism with prayer. They both operate by faith. People can be saved by praying. The most important part is the faith that chooses to give up your life, ALL OF IT, in exchange for the life of Christ. When we come to Christ, we are crucified. We die to ourselves. We are forgiven of our sins. They are washed away, and we take on the life of Christ by His Spirit so that was can walk in righteousness, right living, from then on.

Lesson Point: We come into salvation by repentance (choosing to give up our own life and choosing God’s life instead), baptism (by faith accomplishing what we’ve chosen to walk in), receiving the Holy Spirit. (You don’t have to have someone lay hands on you. You can ask God for the Holy Spirit and by faith receive it.)

Challenge Question: Have you given up your life in exchange for Christ’s? Is there anything you are still holding onto, unwilling to give up for Him? (Repent!) Have you in faith identified with Jesus in His death, burial, and resurrection? Have you received the Holy Spirit? What is the evidence? It should change your life! Not just by outward things, like going to church or Bible study, but it should control how you live your life each day.