I presume if you are reading this that you are a new Christian, considering becoming one or just trying to find out a bit more about Christianity. If you have been visiting a church or meeting Christians, you may have been asked the following questions:-
“Are you saved?”
“Are you born again?”
“Have you said the sinner’s prayer?”
“Are you baptised?”
I found these types of questions very alarming when I was first asked them. I had absolutely no clue what they were talking about and I also had no idea whether this was something I wanted to be involved in or not! Having grown up with the idea that one’s religion was a private matter it was uncomfortable for me to hear people speak like this!
Now I understand these questions, I can assure you there is nothing to be scared about. It is just part of being a believer. Let us look at some Bible verses in order to understand what being “born again” means.
Paul tells us in Romans 10:9 “that if you confess with your mouth Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved;” O.K, so, here we see what we must do in order to be saved, we must confess with our mouths that “Jesus is Lord” and we must genuinely believe that Jesus came back to life and that it was God who raised Him. Luke further emphasis the need for faith in Acts 16:31 “ “They said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.” The only way to be saved is through Jesus Christ, as Acts 4:12 tells us “And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.”
You may ask “Do I need to be saved?” The answer unquestionably is Yes!! Romans 5:9 states “Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him.” 1 Corinthians 1:18 tells us “For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” So, without being saved we face the wrath of God and we will perish, in other words, we will not be accepted into heaven.
You may still ask, “How does being saved work?” When you realise how holy and perfect God is, it becomes apparent just how sinful and depraved we are and therefore how does this holy God save us? Our holy God cannot look upon evil yet by His great grace He saves us. Ephesians 2:8 tells us “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God;” 2 Timothy 1:9 “who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was granted us in Christ Jesus from all eternity,” Here we can clearly see that our being saved has nothing to do with us but God and His grace that He has extended to us. You will see that this passage also mentions that this grace is granted us in Christ Jesus. This refers to the crucifixion. Only through the atonement of Jesus can God look upon us sinners and grant His grace to us in order to provide us with salvation.
So, how does being saved happen? Another word for being saved is salvation or being born again. The Ordo Salutis tries to simplify all these weighty theological doctrines into a chart. There are different forms of this chart, so I have used a simplified version.
First God must call you to Him. You may have felt a growing or sudden desire to attend church or perhaps someone spoke to you about Jesus and you felt the need to learn more. This is effectual calling. God has called you and you have responded. Romans 10:17 “So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.”
Next you are regenerated. You may have heard this term before on a popular science fiction series! The difference here is that on the outside nothing has changed, you still look exactly the same but, on the inside,, you are changed, you are born again, John 3:3-8.
Justification means that you are made right with God. This is where the sacrifice of Jesus comes in…. Imagine you are in the dock and God is judge and jury, you are convicted of sin and sentenced to death, then Jesus, God’s only Son stands up and demands to take your place so that you may live … This is the truth of what He has done for you. You are now justified, and God will not hold your sins against you. Ephesians 1:13 “In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation—having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise”
God, accepting this substitution, frees you from the guilt of sin and adopts you into His Family. You are now a Child of God.
Now the hard work starts!! It is time for you to be transformed into a likeness of Jesus. This does not happen overnight and, indeed, it will not happen during your lifetime. Bit by bit, month by month or year by year you will notice that you become more and more aware of your sin, that you strive that bit more to avoid the sins of this world and instead work hard as Jesus’ hands and feet on earth.
Only at death will we be made holy so as to be acceptable to live with Jesus in heaven. This is called glorification.
I hope I have managed to explain a little of this vast subject. A lot of complex doctrine is involved here but the basics of what you need to know are:-
To be a Child of God you must be born again, not as in an infant birth but a birth of the Spirit. The Holy Spirit will come to you in order that you can do the work of the Lord and understand Scripture well. For this to happen you must genuinely believe in the resurrection of Jesus and say the words “Jesus is Lord”. There is a Sinner’s prayer that is not found within Scripture but may be useful for you to have an idea how you can pray about this. I have detailed a simple example below:-
All that is important to salvation is that you voice the words “Jesus Is Lord” and that you believe in your heart that God raised Jesus from the dead, however, an important part of prayer is the confession of sin and the request for forgiveness so if you are comfortable praying the prayer above then Go For It!!
I understand this is a lot to take in so if you have any questions, please get in touch with me and I would be more than happy to help you.
Do not forget to call on the Lord! Romans 10:13 “for “Whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
Love and Blessings