A friend of mine (I didn’t know at the time what faith they served, I only knew he or she needed the truth), who demanded at the end of a conversation I tell “what I think” it is to be saved. I couldn’t do that in 10 seconds. I said I’d send an email the next day. I did, and here it is:
My friend, you asked me what, “(I) think is the way to be saved.” I have the answer, but you will see why it wasn’t something I could just SAY and have you understand what I’m actually saying. What I’ve put together here is an EXTREMELY condensed explanation of the answer. The answer itself is simple, so simple that a child can understand it. That’s what God wanted. He didn’t want anybody to be confused about how to be saved through Him. But to understand the simple answer, there is a lot of background that you have to know first.
Lots of people who “know the bible” will say that the Old Testament is the old way and the New Testament is the new way. They’ll tell you the Old Testament is all fine and dandy, but the New Testament is technically all you need. Well, technically, they are correct, BUT, without an understanding of the Old Testament, you could never understand the foundation the New Testament is built upon.
There is a consistent message throughout the entire bible, from beginning to end. That’s right, the plan of salvation is SHOWN to us over and over again throughout the bible, starting in the very first book (Genesis). The Old Testament is filled with types and shadows of what is, and what is to come. The entire bible, 66 books, is also consistent about sin. Sin leads to death, PERIOD. The Kingdom of God and sin cannot coexist. Not even ONE sin. ONE SIN is all it takes to be condemned to the lake of fire. NOBODY can be saved by living a good life. I tell you this, at the end there will be MUCH “better” people than you and I in Hell. Jesus himself said in Matthew 11:11 – Verily I say unto you, Among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist: notwithstanding he that is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he. He was making it plain that we cannot be saved without help. That is also something to watch for as you read in the New Testament: Whenever Jesus (remember, this is GOD) uses the word “Verily”, he wants us to pay close attention. There’s even a time or 2 where he doubles it up, “Verily verily”. It’s like saying, “if you remember nothing else I say, at least remember THIS.”
In Genesis, God decided he had to destroy the world because sin had overtaken everything and everybody. Noah is commanded by God to build an ark to protect him and his family from a flood, for Noah was the only man God found worthy of saving – Noah was a faithful man of God. Anyway, God used water. He used water to wash the world of all sin and start anew. He used the ark to allow Noah to pass THROUGH the water.
We see how God uses water again with Moses. When Moses was born, the Jews were slaves in Egypt. Pharoah, afraid the Jews would become populous enough to rebel, to control the Jewish population, made an edict that all males born of the Jews be immediately killed when found (Exodus 1:9-16). So Moses’ mom made a little boat for baby Moses (an Ark), and placed him in the Nile. If you know the story, Moses drifts down the river and is found by the Pharaoh’s daughter who raises him as her own. Ironically, she chooses a Hebrew woman to be his nurse to help raise him and that woman was his real mother. But anyway, we see Moses pass THROUGH the water to salvation.
As Moses is leading the children of Israel out of Egypt and being chased by Pharaoh’s, they reach a dead end at the Red Sea and all his people are convinced this is the end of the road and the army is going to kill them all. Through Moses, God parts the Red Sea for their escape. All the children of Israel pass THROUGH the water to their salvation. Pharaoh’s army, following after, perishes in the sea when it closes back up after Moses’ people make it to the other side. Once again, the water has saved the children of Israel, and washed away sin.
Again, after their 40 years of wandering through the desert, when God finally allows the people of Israel to enter into the promised land, the land of milk & honey, they get there by crossing the river Jordan. God parts the river, and Israel walks across on dry land. They passed THROUGH the water to salvation, the promised land.
Adam and Eve were living in the garden of Eden. They were sinless. They knew not of good & evil. They walked with God, literally. That’s right, they got to literally see, touch, and speak to GOD. That had to be pretty cool. But then they sinned. It was ONE sin. They ate the only thing that was forbidden of them to eat. As far as we know, this is the ONLY rule they had to follow. But nevertheless, it was a sin – ONE SIN. What did God do? He killed some innocent animals and covered Adam and Eve with their skins. This was the first blood shed. It had to be shed to COVER their sin. Adam and Eve had already covered themselves with big leaves from plants. They were already covered. This is pretty significant. God didn’t kill the animals for fun. He wouldn’t have done it if it wasn’t absolutely necessary. Next they had to be banished from the garden, never to walk with God again, for now they were not sinless.
In Exodus 24:8-11, Moses has to sprinkle the people with blood. “And Moses took the blood, and sprinkled it on the people, and said, Behold the blood of the covenant, which the LORD hath made with you concerning all these words. Then went up Moses, and Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel: And they saw the God of Israel: and there was under his feet as it were a paved work of a sapphire stone, and as it were the body of heaven in his clearness. And upon the nobles of the children of Israel he laid not his hand: also they saw God, and did eat and drink.”
They HAD to be covered with blood to get close to God. Again, I doubt God insisted upon this because of a sick demented lust for killing. It was necessary.
While God was leading the children of Israel through the desert for 40 years, he was teaching them. The most all encompassing example of the plan of salvation, given to us here in the OLD Testament, is the Tabernacle. The Tabernacle Plan is first time in the bible where God actually lays out the plan of salvation from beginning to end. God is very thorough. He commanded Moses to build a temple for them to have with them while wandering in the desert. This portable temple was where the one high priest (Aaron, Moses’ brother) would meet God once a year. Everything had to be done exactly PERFECT for him to get to be in God’s presence without dying.
Here’s how it worked: The Ark of the Covenant was the physical place where God would come down to meet his people. Only the high priest could meet him, and it could only happen once a year on a specific day. It was called the Day of Atonement. It was the way to cover the sins of the people for one more year. To make a long story short, an animal without blemish had to be sacrificed at the alter of burnt offering. Next, the priest had to go to the laver of washing and wash himself clean with water. Next he would enter the tent where there was candlelight, bread, and burning incense. He had to light the candles, eat the bread, and burn the incense, and then he could finally enter behind the veil where the Ark of the Covenant was. In this room he would meet and talk with God. If he got ANY of the steps wrong leading up to this moment, he would die when he went behind the veil.
God comes down as man in the flesh to be the perfect offering (without blemish). He’s on a very important mission: He has to tell us how to be saved before he is sacrificed for us. Since he is fully flesh as Jesus, he is bound by the exact same rules to get back into the Kingdom of God as we are. So he has to be the perfect example. He finds John the Baptist, who is baptizing people for the remission of sins. He gets baptized by John the Baptist. As he comes up out of the water of baptism, he gets filled by the Holy Spirit. Yes, Jesus is the Holy Spirit, but the flesh still had to go through this “spirit baptism.” Matthew 3:16-17 – And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him: And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.
While he’s in the garden of Gethsemane, just before being taken by the Pharisees, he prays to the Father. Again, this is not a contradiction (praying to himself) because his flesh HAD to pray.
In John chapter 3, a pharisee named Nicodemus comes to Jesus by night (he didn’t want to be seen talking to Jesus) to tell him he knows he must really be from God because no man could possibly perform all the miracles he has performed. Jesus tells him that no man, unless he has been born again, can see the kingdom of God. Nicodemus of course is confused and asks if a man can enter a second time into his mother’s womb to be born again and this was Jesus’ response:
Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.
Jesus spoke this little nugget as plainly as it possibly could have been stated. He wanted this to be simple to understand. And as you now know, even Jesus himself made sure to be baptized of the water AND of the spirit. Notice, this is one of those “double verily” moments I mentioned earlier.
Jesus tells his disciples in Matthew 28:19-20 – Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.
Now, as of that time, Jesus had already been crucified and resurrected and was getting ready to go back up to heaven. He was telling them to do this once he is gone. But his command was very clear. “…(baptize) them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.” What name is there in the past, present or future that could possibly fit that description? Only one: Jesus. He is the Father, he is the Son, and He is the Holy Spirit. This is important. Baptize them in the NAME of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. He was specifically making sure he was being crystal clear with us. So many churches out there today use the words, “..of the Father, Son, Holy Spirit” when they’re baptizing instead of using the NAME – JESUS. The power is in THE NAME. ❤
The last part, the Holy Spirit, he couldn’t fulfill until after his ascension back up into heaven. But he did make sure to tell them about it. In John, chapter 14, he is comforting his disciples because he has told them that he’s going to die. He tells them in verses 16-19, John 14:16-20: And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you. Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more; but ye see me: because I live, ye shall live also. At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you.
With this, of course, he was speaking of the Holy Spirit, which had not yet been given. But it would be.
After Christ was crucified and rose again on the third day, he was with his disciples for a short while (40 more days). Literally the last thing he tells them right before ascending back up into heaven, in the book of Acts, Chapter 1, verses 3-8 he tells them what to do.
To whom also he shewed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God:
4And, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me. 5For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence.
6When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?
7And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power.
8But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.
At that moment, Jesus ascended up into heaven and while they were all still standing there looking up, there were suddenly 2 men standing amongst them in white apparel who said, “Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.
Then they went back to Jerusalem and went into an upper room, all the disciples and women including Mary the mother of Jesus. There were 120 people total in that upper room and they were all waiting for the day of Pentecost. In those days, Jews from all over came to Jerusalem for the day of Pentecost. Since they came from all over, they didn’t all always speak the same language. They came from many different areas and didn’t all understand each other.
Filling with the Holy Ghost
1And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.
2And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting.
3And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them.
4And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.
5And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven.
6Now when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded, because that every man heard them speak in his own language.
7And they were all amazed and marvelled, saying one to another, Behold, are not all these which speak Galilaeans?
8And how hear we every man in our own tongue, wherein we were born?
9Parthians, and Medes, and Elamites, and the dwellers in Mesopotamia, and in Judaea, and Cappadocia, in Pontus, and Asia,
10Phrygia, and Pamphylia, in Egypt, and in the parts of Libya about Cyrene, and strangers of Rome, Jews and proselytes,
11Cretes and Arabians, we do hear them speak in our tongues the wonderful works of God.
12And they were all amazed, and were in doubt, saying one to another, What meaneth this?
13Others mocking said, These men are full of new wine.
Peter Explains Pentecost
14But Peter, standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice, and said unto them, Ye men of Judaea, and all ye that dwell at Jerusalem, be this known unto you, and hearken to my words:
15For these are not drunken, as ye suppose, seeing it is but the third hour of the day.
16But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel;
17And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams:
18And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy:
19And I will shew wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath; blood, and fire, and vapour of smoke:
20The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and notable day of the Lord come:
21And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.
22Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know:
23Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain:
24Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it.
25For David speaketh concerning him, I foresaw the Lord always before my face, for he is on my right hand, that I should not be moved:
26Therefore did my heart rejoice, and my tongue was glad; moreover also my flesh shall rest in hope:
27Because thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.
28Thou hast made known to me the ways of life; thou shalt make me full of joy with thy countenance.
29Men and brethren, let me freely speak unto you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his sepulchre is with us unto this day.
30Therefore being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne;
31He seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell, neither his flesh did see corruption.
32This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses.
33Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear.
34For David is not ascended into the heavens: but he saith himself, The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand,
35Until I make thy foes thy footstool.
36Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made the same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.
All the people who had been mocking those speaking in tongues were now blown away. Now they totally “got” it.
Verse 37 goes on: 37Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?
They’re saying, “We get it! Now tell us how to be saved!”
Peter lays it out for them!
38Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.
39For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the LORD our God shall call.
40And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation.
41Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.
So there it is. This is the message of salvation. God had to bring us along slowly through the Old Testament with many examples, but he lays it out for us as plain as day. Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.
This is how to be saved. 3 steps:
2. Be baptized in the name of Jesus (Note there isn’t one piece of scripture telling of a baby being baptized. Also, nobody was baptized by the sprinkling of water. It was full emersion ONLY.)
3. Receive the gift of the Holy Ghost
These are the 3 things that are required to be saved. This is the plan of salvation.
SO many churches today preach what I call, “Santa Claus” salvation. They tell you that that all you have to do is believe in your heart that Jesus is real, try to be a good person, and you’re saved. Tell me: How is that any different than what parents tell their children about Santa? If you BELIEVE, and be a good boy all year, you’ll get presents. But if Santa finds out you’re a doubter or you’ve been bad, you won’t get any presents.
Think about that. Why have the book at all? Why would God give us the entire bible, telling us not to change one word of it if all we have to do is “believe”? Do we have a 2,000 page book for Santa?
Any questions? Seek the truth of His word, the Kingdom first 🙂