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Nothing can be more important to a Christian than to know for certain that he or she is Saved. Many Christians live frustrated and defeated lives because of failure to understand God's plan of salvation. A Christian can carry no greater burden than the insecurity about salvation.
For a Christian to not know that he or she is saved, is like living a poor and destitute life not knowing that you have a million dollars in the bank. God wants you to know that you are saved so that you can lead others to Christ.
The Fall of Man
The fall of man necessitated the provision of salvation.
A. The "fall" of Adam (Gen. 2:17, 3:6) caused a rupture in our spiritual fellowship with God.
"Wherefore, as by one man sin entered in the world, and death by sin and so death passed upon all men, for all have sinned" (Romans 5:12).
"For since by man came death..." (I Cor. 15:21).
For as in Adam all die. (I Cor 15:22).
B. Sin is Universal
"For there is not a just man upon earth, that doeth good and sinneth not" (Eccl. 7:20)
"For all have sinned, and fall short of the glory of God (Rom. 3:23).
"If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His Word is not in us" (I John 1:8-10).
What God Did for Us - Atonement (a-tone-ment)
A. God sent His Son to die for us (John 3:16).
"For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending His own Son, in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh" (Romans 8:3).
"So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many..." (Heb. 9:28).
The Conversion Experience
Conversion is turning to God. Conversion is not salvation in the truest sense of the word. Conversion is often used interchangeably with regeneration. But, the two experiences are not the same. Conversion is the human side of the salvation experience, while regeneration is on the Divine side of the salvation experience.
Conversion simply means to turn to God from our sins. During conversion we turn to God from our sins. We do not (can not) turn from our sins to God (I Thes. 1:9).
Conviction is the first step in conversion. The salvation experience starts with conviction, which is when we are aware of our sinful condition. It is not a good feeling. It is a remorseful feeling (Acts 2:37). There are two parts to conviction. For total conviction, awareness must be followed by the desire to be saved (Acts 26:28). A person can remain under conviction (awareness) for many days, even weeks and months.
Conversion is the result of Faith. Hebrews 11:1 says, "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." A one-word definition for faith is Trust. Faith is not synonymous with belief. Faith precedes belief. At this step a person is trusting in Christ that He can save him. We cannot minimize the absolute necessity of faith. The Scripture says, "...without faith it is impossible to please God" (Heb. 11:6) Our faith is not of ourselves. It is not self-produced (Eph. 2:8, II Peter 1:1)
As previously stated, regeneration is on the Divine side of the salvation experience. Belief is the bridge between conversion and regeneration.
When a person reaches the point of belief then God regenerates him (saves him). God does not save at the point of conviction. God does not save at the point of repentance. God does not save at the point of faith.
GOD DOES SAVE AT THE POINT OF BELIEF!! (John 3:16, Acts 8:37, 16:31) At belief, salvation becomes our personal gift.
General Belief will not save. The clearest and most practical verse in all of the Bible on salvation is (Romans 10:9).
At no time during the salvation experience do we act independently of God (John 6:44) we do not convict ourselves, God convicts us (John 8:16). We do not have faith of ourselves, God gives us the faith (Eph. 2:8, Rom. 10:17). We do not repent on our own, God gives us repentance (II Tim. 2:25). We do not believe on our own, God gives us belief (Mark 9:24)
SALVATION IS TRULY A "GIFT FROM GOD"!!
The Holy Spirit "seals" the contract when we believe (Eph. 1:13). He also baptizes us the moment we believe (I Cor. 12:13, Gal. 3:2). He also indwells us the moment we believe (John 7:39, I Cor. 3:16,6:19).
Baptism in the Holy Spirit is to be placed in the body of Christ. (I Cor. 12:13)
A. Water baptism is not a part of the salvation experience! It is to follow the salvation experience. There is no saving efficacy in water. Water Baptism merely commemorates and symbolizes the Death, Burial and Resurrection.
B. There is no biblical record of infant baptism. A person must be capable of believing before being baptized. There is a distinction between a person who cannot believe, and a person who will not believe.
Only a believer has the right to be baptized (Acts 8:37).
We believe in baptism by immersion. (Matt. 3:13-16; Acts 8:38; Col. 2:12).
How to Know You are Saved
A. As simple as it is to be saved, it is a very confusing issue in the minds of many Christians. Many Christians honestly believe that a person cannot know he is saved until he dies. That is False!! You can know you are saved before you die.
B. The Word of God provides the best evidence of Salvation. (Rom. 10:9; I John 5:13) Through the scriptures, we are made "wise unto salvation" (II Tim. 3:15). Salvation is predicated on the Word of God. The only assurance that the thief on the cross had of his salvation was the Lord's word (Luke 23:43).
C. Our salvation is as sure as God's Word. The Psalmist recognized the immutability of God's Word and said, "Forever, O Lord, thy word is settled in heaven" (Psalms 119:89) God has given us His word that He will save us if we believe (John 3:16; Acts 16:30,31; Romans 10:9)
Salvation is a one-time experience. You are saved now and for all eternity (John 10:28; Romans 5:8,9, 8:38,39; Phil. 1:6) The joy of your salvation will intensify if you will share witness of God's simple plan with others. Share the plan of salvation with others that they may also believe and be saved.