Christians speak of "being saved." What is this all about?
Your first need is to know that you are utterly lost, without God, without hope, without strength, and absolutely bankrupt as far as having any goodness on your own that could entitle you to salvation.
God's description of us by nature is not flattering. It fits all, regardless of education, culture, social standing, environment, heredity, or wealth. God declares that "all have sinned," that all are "children of wrath" by nature, that all are "dead in trespasses and sins," that "there is none righteous, no, not one," that the heart of all is "deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked," and that "except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God." See Ephesians 2:1–13; Romans 3:10, 23; Jeremiah 17:9; and John 3:3, 5, 7.
Only lost people can be saved. No others are invited. "Respectable" and self-righteous sinners are the most hopeless of all and usually the last ones to find salvation because they fail to see their need.
"They that are whole need not a physician; but they that are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance" (Luke 5:31, 32).
"For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost" (Luke 19:10).
There is good news for every sin-burdened and lost soul. God has provided a sufficient Saviour in Jesus Christ. Everyone who realizes his hopeless and helpless condition and is willing to break with sin and the devil can be set free by God through our Lord Jesus Christ.
"For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek" (Romans 1:16).
"In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace" (Ephesians 1:7).
"Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; that being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life" (Titus 3:5–7).
Repenting of sin, believing on the Lord Jesus Christ, and obeying the Gospel is the threefold experience that connects the sinner with God to transform him into a saint, making him ready for a continuous life of victory.
How can a lost sinner and a satisfying Saviour get together? Some say, "Only believe," but multitudes, including the devils (James 2:19), believe, who are not saved. There is much belief that falls short of salvation, because repentance is lacking. God's Word is for the simple as well as for the worldly-wise.
"Seek ye the Lord while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near" (Isaiah 55:6).
"Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved" (Romans 10:13).
"Repent ye, and believe the gospel" (Mark 1:15).
"Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved" (Acts 16:31).
"If thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved" (Romans 10:9).
"He became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him" (Hebrews 5:9).
"He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him" (1 John 2:4).
"Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness? But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you" (Romans 6:16, 17).
But isn't salvation all of grace?
Is it possible that we can merit salvation by hearing, seeking, repenting, believing, confessing, and obeying? The Bible is clear that salvation is by grace and not by human deeds of merit. There is no merit in the works of rebels before the enmity is removed and reconciliation takes place.
Must these formal steps take place in every conversion in the order given? The Bible does not lay all of these down in any one place. Like other truths of God's Word, they are scattered throughout the Word and have been gathered together here in their logical, Scriptural order. It is quite likely that these conditions may come almost at the same time and more or less instantaneously. It is sure that a sinner must know he is lost before he will desire salvation, whether this step is met formally or consciously, or otherwise.
Even the repentant thief on the cross heard the Word (Luke 23:39–42), was convicted of his sinfulness (verse 40), called upon the Lord (verse 42), repented of his sins as he owned his guilt and witnessed the sinlessness of Christ (verse 41), believed that Jesus Christ was the Saviour, and confessed Him as Lord (verse 42).
If you have repented of your sin, if you have believed the Gospel concerning God's Son and are willing to obey God in anything and everything His Word may teach you, be assured that you belong to Him and can claim His promises to His children.
"Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life" (John 5:24).
"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: which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God" (John 1:12, 13).
God is able to keep us from falling and able to restore the fallen, but He has not promised to save unrepentant believers.
"He that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved" (Matthew 24:13).