I had been to the altar several times, usually after a good ‘hell fire and brimstone’ sermon and although I believe the fear of going to hell should be enough to turn anyone to Christ, that was not my story. I would go to the altar, repeat the prayer or salvation but somehow I was still uncertain of where I stood with God.
Then came that beautiful bright Sunday morning. There I was sitting in the small cramped pre-teen Sunday school class. A team was visiting for Vacation Bible School and 2 of the young men were teaching our class that day. They spoke of the Light of the world and told us about how much God loved us. I was enthralled, captivated by this love they were speaking about. I wanted to know Jesus, not just to escape hell but because I believed He loved me. That day, when I said the prayer to ask God for forgiveness and to invite Christ into my heart, I knew for certain that I was saved. That was my day of salvation.
What About You?
Have you ever accepted Jesus Christ as your Saviour? Do you even know what that means? Do you even care to know? Only you can decide that for yourself, but God is willing to save you, right now.
2 Timothy 2:3 For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour;4 Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.5 For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;6 Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.
But Why do I Need to be ‘Saved’?
Let’s go back to the beginning…
(If you do not have a Bible you should be able to put your cursor over the scripture references and they will pop up for you to read.)
In Genesis chapters 2 and 3 we are given a glimpse into a critical event experienced by the first man and woman who were created. They had it all. The only restriction God gave them, was that they should not eat from the tree in the middle of the garden of Eden, the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. He warned them of the consequences, if they ate from the tree they will surely die (Genesis 2:16,17). Man was given a free will. He could choose to obey God and enjoy the splendour of Eden or choose not to obey God and reap the consequences of his disobedience.
Then entered temptation, a subtle tongue, smooth words from a serpent and Eve caved and ate from the tree. She gave some to Adam and he had his share. Did they die on the spot? No, but death for them was now a certainty. Before we leave the perfect garden of Eden, I think there are some things that must be noted…
The Deceiver’s Strategy
Eve was deceived, but instead of pointing an angry finger at her for eating us out of perfection, let us consider her ways and choose wisdom, for even today the deceiver uses the exact tricks to ruin our lives.
First, we noticed that the serpent (the deceiver) started with a question.
“Did God really say, ‘you must not eat from any tree in the garden’?” (Genesis 3:1 NIV)
Seemed simple enough, but it was not to learn from Eve’s answer, instead his plan was to open the dialogue for his point of view to be heard (Check Genesis 3:2-5). His answer then left Eve in doubt about the truth. This is still a common tactic today used by those who want to manipulate and control you and your thinking.
Eve still had a choice. She could decide to believe what God had said or accept what the serpent had said. Sadly instead of taking it to God or at least to Adam and get his input, she relied on her physical senses. In Genesis 3:6, the woman saw:
that the tree was good for food (lust of the flesh)
it was pleasant to the eyes (lust of the eyes)
a tree to be desired to make one wise (pride of life)
She believed the serpent’s lie that she would become “like God” and so she chose to disobey God and ate from the forbidden tree. She then gave some to Adam and he, without a question, ate too. They disobeyed God and now they had to face the consequences.
In Genesis 3:8-10 we realise that God didn’t just put Adam and Eve in the garden and went on His merry way. Oh no, God came for visits. He walked in the Garden and had conversations with Adam and Eve. Yes the great God Almighty came down and walked in Eden. He came down to see Adam and Eve on a personal level. Check it for yourself:
Genesis 3:8-9 (NIV) Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the LORD God as He was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the LORD God among the trees of the garden. But the LORD God called to the man, “Where are you?”
God came for a visit, but they were hiding. The effects of the sin of disobedience had begun. The relationship between God and humankind was no longer the same.
It was Their Fault not Mine
Here begins ‘passing the buck’. In Genesis 3:11-13 we peek into an interesting dialogue. God asked a straight forward question but no one gave a straight forward answer. Adam blamed Eve for him eating the fruit, Eve blamed the serpent and they were all put out of the garden. Curses were spoken but God in His goodness made them some proper clothing before sending them out into the cold harsh world of work and pain and eventually…death.
What Does That Have to do With me?
Romans 5:12 (NIV) Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned.
We are told that by one man’s sin, sin entered into the world and with it death. Just like the traits that are passed on from generation to generation, every child born from that first couple and every generation after, is born in sin and will die someday. As it is written in Romans 3:23 ‘All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God’. Also as the Psalmist David puts it in Psalms…’I was born in sin and in sin did my mother conceived me.’ For some this is a hard pill to swallow. I’m still amazed at anyone who takes offence to the fact that we were all born in sin. Yes, even the most beautiful, innocent child was born in sin before they even committed an act of sin. Not one of us can call ourselves perfectly sinless and all of us have a sentence of death hanging over our heads, thanks to the choice of Adam and Eve.
Hebrews 9:27 And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:
But I’m a Good Person
God is holy, sinless and just. He keeps His word and for sure there is a punishment for sin. God created this earth and He is the Righteous Judge of this earth. No one can stand before a just judge after having broken the laws of a country and go unpunished simply because they claimed that they are generally a good person. Sin separates us from God and if we died without having a relationship with God we will suffer the penalty for our sins through eternity. There is a place we don’t like to hear about but it is as real as heaven that every one wants to go to. For those who refuse to follow God’s plan of salvation there is still life after death, but in hell. Jesus himself indicated that such a place exists when He told the parable of Lazarus and the rich man in Luke 16.
Luke 16 23 And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.
Luke 16: 24 And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.
We are also reminded, by Jesus, that our body and soul can be destroyed in hell.
Matthew 10:28 And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.
In the world today we often like to acknowledge the loving nature of God. That, however, does not make Him become what we would want him to be. God is love (1 John 4:8) but God is also just (2 Thessalonians 1: 6) and He will punish those who refuse His plan of Salvation.
2 Thessalonians 1:8-10 (NIV) He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. 9 They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might 10 on the day he comes to be glorified in his holy people and to be marveled at among all those who have believed. This includes you, because you believed our testimony to you.
Will you choose to believe. I don’t know about you, but I’d rather not experience such a fate as hell and it’s good to know we don’t have to.
God Loves You, God Loves Me
I cannot refer to hell and not think of the indescribable love of God. It was His love that drew me to Him. Know that the one who created all things and knows all things about you, loves you and desires to have a relationship with you, here on earth and on through eternity. The scripture describes this love so powerfully.
1 John 4:10 Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.
1 John 3:1 Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not.
His love for us all, was the basis of His plan to save us from the wages of sin that came into this world, through the disobedience of the first man.
What must I do to be saved?
Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ (Acts 16:31). That is the way to salvation.
Romans 5:17 for if by one man’s offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.
Romans 5: 19 For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by one man’s the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.
Sin came into the world because of Adam’s disobedience, salvation came because Jesus, the Son of God, came to earth, was born as one of us humans, lived a sinless life and was crucified so that forgiveness of sin may be offered to all men.
2 Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.
However, to receive God’s forgiveness you must believe and accept what Jesus has done, repent of your sins and turn whole heartedly to God. Let Him teach you how to live as His child.
How do you do this? It’s simple, just speak to God in prayer and tell Him you believe, confess that you know you have sinned and ask Him to come into your life and take full control. Ask Him to fill you with His Holy Spirit. I believe it must be from your heart so I hesitate to tell you exactly what to say, however, I’m grateful for the one who led me into what is called the “prayer of salvation”, so if you want an outline of a prayer to help you, I will put one at the end of this section.
John 3:16-18 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.17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not, is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
Prayer for Salvation:
God almighty, Creator of heaven and earth, I come to You just as I am, because I believe that You are God. I confess that I am a sinner and have done many things that are wrong. Please forgive me. God, I believe that Jesus died for me and I want Him to come into my life and cleanse me from every sin. Take full control and be the Lord of my life. Please fill me with Your Holy Spirit and let me live for You, in Jesus Name. Amen.
If you have accepted Christ as your Saviour, there is so much more for you to learn but have no fear. Pray and ask God to direct you to a Bible believing church. Once you have identified a church, let them know of your decision to follow Christ and ask to be baptised. Pray to God often, get a Bible and read it for yourself. I would recommend starting in the book of John but, God can lead you to your starting point and that is best. It is vital in this day and age, that you read the Bible for yourself and ask God to reveal the meaning of the parts that are tough to understand. Learn from you Pastor and other sound Bible teachers and Christian material. However, be aware of the sad fact that even in Churches the words of the Bible are sometimes used for selfish reasons. Don’t let any of that deter you from walking with Christ.
2 Peter 3 18 But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.
Make no mistake, the old serpent the devil will try to draw you back into your old life and may even make you doubt your salvation. Temptations will still come and you may even give in to sin. Be quick to repent. As is written…
1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, He is Faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
However, as you grow in you Christian walk, you will learn that what Jesus did for us goes beyond saving us from hell. He has given us power to overcome sin. He now lives in you and can change you if you keep allowing Him to.
Galatians 2:20 I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.
Written By: Mildred Chalmers
May God Almighty, bless every soul that reads this.