Many people are looking for “steps to salvation.” People like the idea of an  instruction manual with five steps that, if followed, will result in salvation.  An example of this is Islam with its Five Pillars.  According to Islam, if the Five Pillars are obeyed, salvation will be granted.  Because the idea of a step-by-step process to salvation is appealing, many in  the Christian community make the mistake of presenting salvation as a result of  a step-by-step process. Roman Catholicism has seven sacraments. Various  Christian denominations add baptism, public confession, turning from sin,  speaking in tongues, etc., as steps to salvation. But the Bible only presents  one step to salvation. When the Philippian jailer asked Paul, “What must I do to  be saved?” Paul responded, “Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be  saved” (Acts  16:30-31).

Faith in Jesus Christ as the Savior is the only “step” to  salvation. The message of the Bible is abundantly clear. We have all sinned  against God (Romans  3:23). Because of our sin, we deserve to be eternally separated from God (Romans 6:23). Because of His  love for us (John 3:16),  God took on human form and died in our place, taking the punishment that we  deserve (Romans 5:82  Corinthians 5:21). God promises forgiveness of sins and eternal life in  heaven to all who receive, by grace through faith, Jesus Christ as Savior (John 1:12; 3:16; 5:24; Acts 16:31).

Salvation is not about certain steps we must follow to earn salvation. Yes,  Christians should be baptized. Yes, Christians should publicly confess Christ as  Savior. Yes, Christians should turn from sin. Yes, Christians should commit  their lives to obeying God. However, these are not steps to salvation. They are  results of salvation. Because of our sin, we cannot in any sense earn salvation.  We could follow 1000 steps, and it would not be enough. That is why Jesus had to  die in our place. We are absolutely incapable of paying our sin debt to God or  cleansing ourselves from sin. Only God could accomplish our salvation, and so He  did. God Himself completed the “steps” and thereby offers salvation to anyone  who will receive it from Him.

Salvation and forgiveness of sins is not  about following steps. It is about receiving Christ as Savior and recognizing  that He has done all of the work for us. God requires one step of us—receiving  Jesus Christ as Savior and fully trusting in Him alone as the way of salvation.  That is what distinguishes the Christian faith from all other world religions,  each of which has a list of steps that must be followed in order for salvation  to be received. The Christian faith recognizes that God has already completed  the steps and simply calls on us to receive Him in faith.

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