Salvation is viewed by most Evangelical Christians as the act of saying a prayer during which one confesses one’s sins and pledges one’s life to following Jesus as Lord. Though this is somewhat biblical, what is even more biblical is that God sees into the heart – and this is where true salvation lies.
At the cross, one thief is promised entry into paradise, not by the words of a prayer, not by baptism (including baptism of the Holy Spirit, who was not yet in the world) but because in his heart, he knew that Jesus was who he said he was – the Son of Man, the Messiah, the Christ, the LORD.
Do you realize who Jesus is? You’ve heard his claims. You’ve heard his teachings. Now you need to decide who this man is.
“A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic — on the level with the man who says he is a poached egg — or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice.” – CS Lewis
So, is Jesus a lunatic, the Devil of Hell or who he said he is? Jesus said that he is the Way, the Truth and the Life. Jesus says that no one can come to the Father except through him. He also said that he is the Resurrection and the Life and that if you trust in him, even if you die, yet you will live. He tells us that he is seated at the right hand of the Father. He tells us he is going to come with the Glory of his Father and His angels and will judge us.
Most people will choose to believe that Jesus never said these things, or that we can ignore what he said and continue to search for another way. For these people, salvation will never come. When God speaks, you don’t have to listen, but you will have to pay the penalty for not being perfect. Since we have all sinned, we are separated from God and therefore also from Heaven (or in our politically correct world, one might make themselves feel better by saying that they are not sinners, they just are not perfect – either way, it is the same problem – you cannot be in Heaven with a Perfect, Eternal God).
Salvation is the recognition that we have sinned and are not worthy of being in the presence of God, mourning over our sinful state, realizing that we cannot save ourselves and so we need God to save us and calling out to Him for Him to remove our sins from us and make us right again. When we do this, we find God’s mercy waiting and He changes us from our old ways of living to become the people He will want to spend eternity with (that would be someone who desires to make God’s heart, their own). The crux of this Salvation process is God’s removal of our sins and that happened when Jesus died on the Cross (read Why did Jesus have to die).
Salvation comes to those who believe Jesus is who he said he is and that their only hope is that he will bring them home to Heaven. Any other option leaves us far short of Heaven and thus falling down to Hell.
If you have not yet done so, please consider this most important issue. This life is great, but it is only for a short time. No one escapes death and it will come to you also. This question of Salvation is not just for the 80 years you are here on Earth but the 80 times 80 (times 80, times 80, times a billion and then triple it and you are still just at the beginning) years you will be in eternity. It is too long and too important to ignore. See this as your fire alarm. Do not go back to sleep. The house is burning. Take hold of your only Salvation – the One who has the power to quench the fire and rescue you from the flames.