“If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” Read Romans 10:8-10 to understand this scripture in context. You are a Christian once you have declared Jesus is Lord and believed in your heart that His Father, Jehovah raised Him from the dead, even if you have not been in a church building or not yet water baptised.
Table of Contents
Much confusion in the 21st century, and inaccurate teachings profess that you are only saved once you are water baptised. However, you are saved from the moment you make the declaration and believe in your heart. This is just the beginning of your journey and not the end. The journey doesn’t end until you leave this Earth.
Jesus led by example [Matthew 3:13-17], so we follow His lead. He directed the Apostles to preach and teach and baptise people in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. “Go, therefore, and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to follow all that I commanded you; and behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age,” [Matthew 28:19-20 NASB].
We have an annoying habit of complicating life, even when God makes it very simple for us. Becoming a Christian is at the top of that list. Speak it, believe it, live it. The mouth speaks what the heart believes, but in a world spilling over with guilt and condemnation, we do not always believe that God will forgive us for the life we have led up to the point that we accept Jesus as Lord and Saviour. As a result, many think that they have done so many bad things that God couldn’t possibly forgive and save them.
Many profess, “God doesn’t want me in His church…” I want to tell you, “Yes, He does.” Even the worst sinner can and will be saved. Before we knew and served the Lord, we all did many things in ignorance and disbelief [1 Timothy 1:13]. And God is aware of this. If there were anything that could prevent us from accepting Jesus as Lord and Saviour, rest assured, it would be in the Bible. Our contempt for ourselves and fear of others’ disapproval prevent many from declaring Jesus as Lord – even when they believe in their hearts.
A common but misguided belief is that you have to try by your efforts to perfect your life before you can become a Christian. If we could sort ourselves out, we would not need a Saviour! You can stop doing whatever you are doing, buy a new outfit, polish up your car, and look the part when you step into the church building, but God knows your mess. Please don’t attempt to impress people; they can’t help you. Just bring your weak, broken self to God, and He will ‘build you up’, so much better than you were before you came to Him.
When you become a Christian, Jesus wants you to be free from condemnation; He will not condemn you for your past actions and does not want you to condemn yourself. If you continue to feel condemned and guilty, what was the point of Him dying to set you free? Don’t hold on to guilt! Your slate is wiped clean. Life is complicated enough without being constantly reminded of our shortcomings so that He won’t do it. This is, instead, a time for great rejoicing for the new convert and their friends and family. And if you have no friends or family to share this precious moment with you, make no mistake that God is overjoyed, and there is great rejoicing in heaven, which is incomparable to our rejoicing. “I tell you, in the same way there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous people who have no need of repentance.” [Luke 15:7 AMP].
The next step is the public declaration of your decision to become a Christian—Water Baptism. Jesus wasn’t ashamed of us or afraid to show His love for us and to call us His own, so we must not be ashamed of Him. If we deny Him, He will deny us, so although the water baptism doesn’t save us, it is an essential part of our salvation. “Therefore, the one who confesses and acknowledges Me before men [as Lord and Saviour, affirming a state of oneness with Me], that one I will also confess and acknowledge before My Father who is in heaven. But the one who denies and rejects Me before men, that one I will also deny and reject before My Father who is in heaven.” [Matthew 10:32-33 AMP].
Water baptism is to be fully immersed in water and to surface again. This represents the death and burial of the ‘old sinful person’ and the birth of the ‘new person’ in Christ. Hence the term ‘born-again Christian’. Just as Christ was buried and resurrected, the water baptism represents our burial and resurrection in Him. Thank the Lord that we don’t have to go through what He went through! We do not have to be crucified and suffer as Jesus did, so let us not be afraid to do this simple act for the Lord.
Due to the stigma attached to religion today and to the Christian Faith, people often fear ridicule and persecution. Challenges from family and friends and the fear of how their news will be received usually leaves new converts confused, so they sometimes hide this singularly most important decision of their lives from anyone who may disapprove. We must be steadfast in our convictions and not be intimidated or ashamed of the Lord. Denying Him is not nice; you wouldn’t do that to someone you love. Boldly declare your love and devotion to Christ!
Matthew Chapters 3-7
Romans Chapter 8
Next in the Series: What is Salvation