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John 3:16 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.

Salvation is God’s greatest gift to mankind. It justifies us as righteous in God’s eyes. More than that, it is adoption into God’s family. It moves us from being slaves to sin, children of Satan, and enemies of God to being children and heirs of God. 1 John 3

To understand Salvation, one must first understand what it is that we are saved from. Christ saves us from our sins. 1 Peter 3:18; Matthew 1:21 The Bible teaches that all have sinned and that no one can be righteous on his own. Romans 3:23, 10 We have all inherited a sinful nature from Adam our forefather, and just like he chose to rebel against God, we have each chosen sin ourselves. Romans 5:12 Like with Adam, the penalty for our sin is also death. Genesis 2:17; Romans 6:23

This death is not only physical death as the consequence of sin, but also spiritual death—eternal separation from God. While God is making heaven and a New Earth for us, no sin can enter there. Revelation 21:27 Sin would make it less than perfect. Without Christ remaking us as sinless, we have no hope of heaven. The only way is Jesus. John 14:6

Exactly how salvation is attained is one of the core matters of denominational divisions. The major views are:

  1. Sola Fide

    Sola fide is the doctrine that salvation is attained by grace through faith alone. It is not dependent on any works we do.

  2. Baptismal Regeneration

    Baptismal regeneration is the belief that salvation is attained by water baptism.

Many people also believe that salvation is a combination of faith and works and that one must be “good enough” to get into heaven. This is not really the doctrine of any denomination, and it is rarely espoused by people who have a formal theological stance. It is, however, a common belief among people who have not studied what God says about salvation.

Despite these disagreements, there are further truths on the Scriptures about salvation which are agreed and can still be used to guide. It’s clear that salvation is only possible through Christ’s death. Hebrews 9:22 We must believe on His death and resurrection. Acts 16:31; Romans 10:9 Note that that this is believing on Christ, not just believing in Christ. Obviously you have to believe in Christ first, but even the devils believe that Christ is God and that he rose again. James 2:19 We must place our faith in Christ alone to save us.

Ephesians 2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:

Salvation is a gift. Again, there’s nothing we can do to earn our way to heaven, no matter how good we try to be. Even so, true faith will afterwards produce good works. Faith without works is dead. James 2:17 Yet it’s only through the power of the Holy Spirit after Christ has transformed us that we can produce good works.

The first step of this transformation and a requirement for the forgiveness of our sins is repentance. Acts 3:19 Repentance is turning from idols—of whatever kind—and to God. 1 Thessalonians 1:9 It’s forsaking our own ways and returning to God’s plan for our lives. Isaiah 55:7

This returning to God and trusting Him as our savior is the most important decision one can make in his life. Not only does it give us the power we need to live a righteous earthly life, it also ensures that we will spend eternity in paradise with God, instead of eternally separated from Him. If you have not trusted Christ as your savior, I implore you to turn to Christ today.