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How to Be Saved According to the Bible

Updated on April 22, 2017


Those of us who have spent some time reading the Bible probably understand already that Jesus came to Earth to be our sacrifice and to pay for our sins. Some of us have heard that in church or heard it from Christians we've met but aren't really sure where in the Bible to look to see this for ourselves. For those who are convinced that there's no validity to Christianity at all, this isn't really the hub for you. This is written primarily to seekers or to Christians who are interested in a more in depth study of salvation and how it works. All of the support for this hub is from scripture. I will not attempt to make a case for why I believe the Bible is trustworthy here. You can find that in another hub called "Is Jesus Who He Claims to Be?". For those of us who are genuinely seeking to learn, let's take a walk together.

I do have one disclaimer to make. I know going in that many of you have a different faith background than mine. While I could try to check my background at the door, I recognize that it's really no use. What I can do is present scripture that I believe is relevant to this topic and then give my opinion based on the research I've done. I acknowledge that there will be things you disagree with. All opposing view points are welcome. I love honest and respectful conversation, and am certainly interested in other opinions on what the Bible has to say. I am not trying to make anyone believe anything. I am simply trying to explore what the Bible has to say and spark some conversation in hopes that we will all learn something.

The Event

There has certainly been controversy over the years concerning the nature of salvation. Some may assume that salvation is based on church membership or affiliation. Some believe that its entirely based on our ability to follow either the Mosaic law, the teachings of Jesus, or both. Some believe that you can simply pray a prayer to get in, while others believe that no one goes to heaven without baptism. Some are even so specific that it must be baptism by immersion or the salvation experience was not genuine. So many different beliefs, all from people who use the Bible to find and define truth. So what does the Bible actually say about all this? Is it really that confusing?

First, we'll look at John chapter 3. Many of us actually memorized John 3:16 as children. Here Jesus is trying to give some insight to Nicodemus about the nature of salvation. The entire passage is worth reading again when you get a chance but there are some key quotes that are of interest. Here are the words of Jesus from John 3:3-6 without the conversational context (in the interest of space):

"Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God... Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit." (John 3:3-6) NKJV

Without even bothering to wait for Nicodemus to ask the question, Jesus decides to answer it for him. When Jesus says "born again", I think this clearly describes an event that must take place. And, it is clearly a spiritual event rather than a physical one. Now let's look at verses 17-18.

"For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God." (John 3:17-18) NKJV

If you look at the entire passage in context, there is a clear association between the word "saved" and the phrase "see the kingdom of God." Conversely, there is a clear association between the word "condemned" and NOT seeing the kingdom of God. We also see that more definition has been added to this strange idea of being "born again." Now He says that believing in God's Son is a requirement to be saved. So there is step one--believing in God's Son.

In addition, from the very beginning of Jesus' ministry He taught that we should "repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." (see Matthew 3). This is actually step two, according to the apostles in multiple places within the book of Acts.

"Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, 'Men and brethren, what shall we do?' Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.'" (Acts 2:37-38) NKJV

Here are the definitions of the word repent I found after a quick search:
To feel remorse, contrition, or self-reproach for what one has done or failed to do; be contrite.
2. To feel such regret for past conduct as to change one's mind regarding it: repented of intemperate behavior.
3. To make a change for the better as a result of remorse or contrition for one's sins.

Clearly when Jesus was saying that they needed to repent, he wasn't running around telling everyone to feel remorseful. He was telling them to make a change and turn away from their sin. So now we have believe and repent. But, in this same verse Peter says they need to be baptized. This part is tricky, so we'll cover baptism in a later section. If we look closer at this passage, we see that "the event" is actually more like a transaction. It's as if God is saying "You do these three things and I'll give you this (the Holy Spirit)." We'll discuss the role of the Holy Spirit later as well.

So the current list is believe, repent, and be baptized, but we're not done. Suddenly Paul comes on the scene. Paul also preached repentance (see Acts 26:20), but he adds one more thing to the list: confession.

“Salvation that comes from trusting Christ—which is the message we preach—is already within easy reach. … For if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by confessing with your mouth that you are saved.” (Romans 10:8-10) NLT

It's clear that Paul believed that confession (sharing your faith verbally with someone) is a critical component to salvation. So the final list is:
1. believe
2. repent
3. confess
4. be baptized (TBD)

These are the puzzle pieces we have so far to understand what it means to be "born again." So now let's look at the role of the Holy Spirit in the salvation process..

The Spirit of Adoption

As discussed, Acts 2:38 says that once you have repented and undergone baptism, you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit (God in us). Paul made things even more clear in Ephesians when he said that the Holy Spirit is like a down payment or deposit that guarantees our place in heaven.

“And now you also have heard the truth, the Good News that God saves you. And when you believed in Christ, he identified you as his own by giving you the Holy Spirit, whom he promised long ago. The Spirit is God’s guarantee that he will give us everything he promised and that he has purchased us to be his own people. This is just one more reason for us to praise our glorious God.” (Ephesians 1:13-14) NLT

When you believe in Christ, God identifies us as one of his own by giving us the Holy Spirit. Here Paul says that the Holy Spirit is like a deposit or downpayment on our salvation. It is a "guarantee" to us that God will deliver what He has promised. At that point we are considered adopted by God. We have a new Father, and a new forever home.

"For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God..." (Romans 8:14-16) NKJV

Jesus seems to say in the verse below that, once we are identified as belonging to Him, we will forever be considered His. We cannot lose our standing as adopted sons and daughters.

"My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand. I and My Father are one.” (John 10:27-29) NKJV

Based on these three passages together, it seems that the Holy Spirit is like a tattoo. Once you have received the Holy Spirit, He doesn't go away. His presence is a sign of your permanent relationship with Jesus. Salvation is a transaction that can’t be undone. It’s a gift that can’t be taken away. This is not a license to sin though. That would be disrespectful of the incredible gift you’ve been given. Instead, it’s a reason to love God even more! How incredible that your salvation is not your responsibility to maintain! God makes it permanent so that your relationship is one of love instead of fear and anxiety. You are completely accepted, not based on your impressiveness, but based on His forgiveness. And over time, you will grow and become a better person as a natural part of a relationship with God. It won’t be a forced change. It will be change from the inside out that will require no gritting of teeth to maintain. God wants what’s best for you, and it turns out that what’s best for you is Him.

The Role of Water Baptism

In Acts 2:37-38, Peter tells those listening to him what they must do to be saved (repent and be baptized). Some read this passage and infer that baptism is required for salvation. But there are two verses that seem to contradict this belief.

1. Acts 10:44-45
"While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who heard the word. And those of the circumcision who believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the Gentiles also."

In this passage, Peter is speaking to some gentiles in Caesarea (family and friends of Cornelius the centurion) when suddenly, while he is still speaking, some of them receive the Holy Spirit. None of them have been baptized at this point.

2. Luke 23:42-43
"Then he said to Jesus, 'Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom.' And Jesus said to him, 'Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.'"

This passage shows Jesus telling one of the criminals being crucified with him that he would be with Jesus today "in Paradise." Clearly this man was forgiven based entirely on his faith. He had no opportunity to be baptized and yet he was still saved.

Often 1 Peter 3:21 is used to show that water baptism is required for salvation as well.

"There is also an antitype which now saves us—baptism (not the removal of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God), through the resurrection of Jesus Christ..." (1 Peter 3:21) NKJV

However, from a Biblical perspective there are actually two contexts for the word "baptism", which is why I said this is a tricky subject. One is water baptism, the other is spiritual baptism. Several new testament verses refer to being "baptized by the Holy Spirit." Ex. Matthew 3:31, Acts 1:4-5, 1 Corinthians 12:13. Baptism of the Holy Spirit refers to the moment when the Holy Spirit comes to indwell a believer. This type of baptism certainly is a requirement for salvation (in fact it is the culmination of salvation). I believe that this is where the confusion comes from. Based on this, my personal opinion is that the physical act of water baptism is not required for salvation. It is simply an outward expression of the change that occurred on the inside.


The bottom line is that salvation is a transaction that is wrapped around an event in which we:
1. believe in Christ
2. turn toward God and away from our sin
3. confess to someone that we have chosen to follow Christ
Additionally, baptism should follow the salvation experience to follow Christ's example but I don't believe that salvation is dependent on it based on the passages we read.

In short, our sin had created a debt that we couldn't pay. But like a shop owner at the mall, God didn’t require that the money comes out of your wallet. It’s as if you wanted to buy a shirt but didn’t have the money to pay for it. So Jesus walks up to hand you the money for the shirt. He doesn’t just walk up to the clerk and pay it for you. He hands the money to you. The gift is for you, not the clerk. It’s very relational. At that point, you have a decision to make. You can reject this gift and walk away without a shirt. Or, you can accept it, say thank you, and pay the man. With salvation there is a similar dynamic. You must accept the gift to be saved. And like the shop owner, God is perfectly happy accepting the payment from Jesus. He just requires that payment is made.


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    • bBerean profile image


      5 years ago

      Very well done. I have no further critique as we are of one accord. Total agreement. Thank you for the hub.

    • SwordofManticorE profile image


      6 years ago from Burlington

      Be reconciled? To be a beacon of light to the world, but for the last 2000 years, we have done a lousy job of being this light to the world. With that said, why didn't Paul warn the gentiles about Gehenna fire or hell?

    • sonfollowers profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Alpharetta, GA

      Hello again, SoM.

      So if reconciliation happens for us whether we want it or not, why would Paul be imploring us "on Christ's behalf: Be reconciled to God" (at the end of the verse you shared)? Why wouldn't he simply have told us to recognize that we are already reconciled to God? Notice that God is making an appeal through us as Christ's ambassadors. Why is it necessary to make an appeal to the world for reconciliation if he already took care of it?

    • SwordofManticorE profile image


      6 years ago from Burlington

      Salvation is God's work, not man's.

      2 Cor 5:19 that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. 20 We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      FROM: WATERSTAR, Why are we Here Why Were We Born Why we Look The way We Look Why We Talk The way We talk Why We Stand Upright And Walk The way We Walk And Why We Have The Power To Create And Make And Build All Kind Of Things The Way We Build We SEEMS to Do Things A Little Different From All The Other Creatures We Live And Share This World Call EARTH With, BUT Ah THERE Is A REASON , one Day in Land Far Far Away Many Light Years Up in A BEAUTIFUL Place GOD CALL HIS HOME A LAND CALL HEAVEN With ALL OF His MIGHTY HOLY HOST HIS ANGELIC SERVANTS GOD Decided HE Like A PICTURE OF HIMSELF so in order to do so HE GOD HAVE GOT TO CREATE A NEW WORLD SO GOD CREATED THIS WORLD out of Darkness GOD SAID Let There BE LIGHT And IT Appear Then GOD SPOKE Every LIVING CREATURE In this EARTH BUT IT did Not LOOK Complete so GOD CAME DOWN on The Earth and Bend Down PUT HIS HAND IN DIRT OF DUST SQUISH DIRT till IT LOOK Like Water MUD THEN PUT THE MUD TOGETHER IN A Picture THAT LOOK LIKE HIM GOD AND HE LOVE IT and SMILE Because it LOOK Very GOOD as it is written in the image of GOD Made THEM MALE and FEMALE and GOD BLESS THEM to go Have CHILDREN, BUT the SERPENT cause THEM to SIN and CAUSE ALL their CHILDREN to BE UNDER SIN AND NO HOPE BUT DEATH, BUT AH GOD DID A VERY IMPOSSIBLE MIRACLE GOD BECAME A MAN HIS NAME IS JESUS HE BECAME A SACRAFICE AND DIED FOR ALL TO HAVE HOPE and LIVE AGAIN BUT ONLY IF THEY: REPENT OF SIN, BELIVE IN JESUS AS THEIR LORD, BABTIZE IN HIS NAME THE NAME OF JESUS AS it is WRITTEN IN ACTS Chapter 2 verse 38 GET FILLED WITH THE HOLY GHOST AND NOW LIVE LOVING AND HOLY CLEANLIVES, FORGIVE to be forgiven And NOW LOOK FOR A JOURNEY TO THE SKY A BRIGHT HOME IN HEAVEN WITH THEIR HEAVENTLY FATHER GOD, IN THE IMAGE Of JESUS their SAVOUR and LORD SO BROTHERS and SISTERS WHO LOVE JRSUS PLEASE it Is VERY important GET YOURSELF READY THERE is no more playtime FOR JESUS IS COMING VERY VERY VERY SOON it Could BE in this MINUTE it that CLOSE Let all try to make it in before it too Late Remember the NOAH FLOOD only DEATH was awaiting the Late Commers truly forgive every one and try your best to LOVE EVERYBODY For Love Never FAILS and GOD IS LOVE so practice true heartfull Love : BY WATERSTAR

    • sonfollowers profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Alpharetta, GA


      Thanks for the response. I'll deal with this most recent one first (otherwise I'll have to write a book).

      I think it's interesting that you consider viewing scripture whollistically as a bad thing. What's especially disconcerting is that you don't recognize that the words of a particular author (at the very least) need to be handled in context of his other writings. If two of Paul's statements seem to contradict each other, how is it reasonable to just pick the one that best fits your personal theology and ignore the other? How could you possibly know which one to choose?

      As you say, I do in fact believe that "no scripture can be used to negate another." I have no idea how you could come up with a reasonable process for doing that. Maybe you could explain it. Paul said that "All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness." At the time I assume he didn't realize that his writings would one day be considered scripture. Still, it's an important statement. Do we consider New Testament scripture to be inspired by God? This was written by someone who spent time with those Jesus chose to be His closest disciples. His life shows a complete 180 degree turn, instigated by a personal experience with the risen Jesus Christ. I believe that his words are in fact inspired and that God protected the message He wanted to send us. Rather than negating passages of scripture, we should interpret them in light of each other. I believe that's the only way to accurately understand what these authors were trying to communicate.

      "Using you method of using scripture then Adam should not have been able to fall..."

      I have no idea what that means. Adam was able to fall specifically because God gave him a choice. God knowingly and intentionally put the tree there. The presence of the tree constituted an opportunity for sin. God intended for Adam to have that opportunity. I certainly do agree that God does not want robots. When a robot follows you, does it mean anything? Of course not.

      Can a person fall away? Absolutely. I could spend 40 years of my life zealous for God, doing mission trips and the like. But if I do not consistently and constantly cultivate that relationship, I could find myself distracted by life. If I have strayed away, I could one day find myself in a situation similar to the the prodigal son. My life could be a wreck because I failed to follow and walked away. There are lots of people who have stories like that. They walked away, their lives went in the ditch, they suffered for it, and they later came running back. All of that is absolutely true. You apparently assume that the truth of this somehow has something to do with salvation. I believe that scripture is clear that this isn't the case. You're saying "if A then B", but I don't believe that is valid.

      Let's look at the verse you used:

      1 Cor 6:9-11

      9 Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, 10 nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God.

      But verse 11 is the key to understanding what Paul is saying here...

      11 And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.

      In Romans, Paul talks about a transition from being in Adam to in Christ. Those who are in Christ are who he's talking about here. We were justified by God as a gift, based entirely on our faith and not on our ability to follow. Here the words are all past tense. You were washed (not being washed). You were justified (not being justified). Even sanctification (which has an alternate ongoing meaning) is used in this context to mean a once-for-all event that took place in the past. We are sanctified (set apart) unto God, separated from the rest of the world. While we continue to be sanctified as an ongoing process of making us more like Christ, none of us magically became perfect followers of Christ on day one. He continues to sanctify us over time, making us more like Him. But that process is not what Paul is talking about here. This sanctification is done already.

      It's not that we are no longer sinners. I assume you would admit that you still sin. It's that we are no longer viewed as sinners by our Heavenly Father. We have been washed, we've been justified, and, in a way, we actually have been sanctified already. Of course we are becoming more and more like Christ over time, but that process has nothing to do with salvation in this context.

      Thanks for the response!

    • celafoe profile image


      6 years ago from From Kingdom of God living on Planet earth in between the oceans

      The old baptist switcheroo

      NO SCRIPTURE STANDS ALONE and all must be used with others that pertain. No scripture can be used to negate another. They must fit together and support each other . OR we call God a liar.

      Using you method of using scripture then Adam should not have been able to fall as he was created in the very image of God, was given everything he needed, and was placed in paradise.. He chose not to do what was right--did not obey God.

      and In daily communion with God.

      BUT unfortunately Adam had the same problem we have - free will.

      The scriptures you quote fit well along with the one I quoted and do not stand alone. There is no scripture that negates the availability of one to "walk away" of his own and there are scriptural examples of those who have done that.

      It does say NO ONE else can snatch one away but the self will is never taken , it has to be given freely without coercion.

      God is not looking for robots or slaves he can buy, he is looking for bond slaves and Paul made that clear by declaring himself to be a bond slave of Jesus Christ.

      There are quite a number of men that ministered effectively and that were born again that died drunkards or worse

      if once saved always saved no matter what is true the God is a liar because he said

      1 Cor 6:9-11

      9 Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, 10 nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.


      Jesus paid for it all, He prepared the way, He gives us everything we need to be saved but whether we choose to be saved is up to us meeting the requirements of salvation, not just being born again

      now if you believe in eternal security-once saved always saved and also do not believe in free will then i have wasted much precious time.

    • sonfollowers profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Alpharetta, GA


      Sorry about the gender confusion. :) Thanks for completing your thought. In order to deal with the rest of your comments, I still believe it starts with you giving your interpretation of the verses below:

      Ephesians 1:13-14

      Romans 8:14-16

      John 10:27-29

      2 Timothy 1:12: "...I know him whom I have believed, and I am persuaded that he is able to guard that which I have committed unto him against that day."

      This is what I asked from CJ Sledgehammer as well. I will address your concerns. Please indulge me and explain how the verses listed above fit into your theology.


    • celafoe profile image


      6 years ago from From Kingdom of God living on Planet earth in between the oceans

      its a he not a she

      Sorry i meant to return and forgot. the balance that was cut off is below. I am a terrible and extremely slow typist so sometimes when i have an article that applies i use it. I ask your forgiveness for taking the easy way out and will try not to do that in the future

      So as to not further offend you i will take the time and address a couple of things.

      The reason scriptures use the terms "born again" and "saved", instead of just saved as so many people do is because they are two different things. You must be born again to get saved but you cannot be "saved until you are dead or Jesus returns, whichever comes first. Then if you have" endured to the end you SHALL be saved.

      One of the things I had trouble with is the church lie that baptism is for the outward display. There is no scripture that calls for witnesses to baptism. So if one follows the scriptural pattern and baptizes the person immediately upon conversion there is not two witnesses.

      The scriptures clearly say that the hard heart of man that cannot receive the things of God is circumsized during water baptizing thereby making it possible to accept and understand the things of God.

      Col 2:11-14 In Him you were also circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the sins of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, 12 buried with Him in baptism, in which you also were raised with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead. 13 And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses, 14 having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us,

      another is that you are endorsing once saved-always saved which the following scriptures and many others deny .

      Matt 24:12 And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold. 13 But he who endures to the end shall be saved.

      Mark 13:1 3 And you will be hated by all for My name's sake. But he who endures to the end shall be saved.

      balance of previous.

      Peter explains it this way.

      1 Peter 1:6-9 In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, 7 that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, 8 whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, 9 receiving the end of your faith — the salvation of your souls.

      Do you notice what he said, to prove that you trust God. And do you see the last of it, verse 9,

      receiving the end of your faith - salvation. Do you now understand that as the scriptures say in many places "they who endure to the end shall be saved".

      Matt 10:22 And you will be hated by all for My name's sake. But he who endures to the end will be saved.

      Matt 24:12-14 And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold. 13 But he who endures to the end shall be saved.

      I am sure that much more could be added to this study but we have covered the basics and hopefully you will now know and understand that Salvation is a life work not a one shot solution as some teach. May God bless you as you follow His word.

    • sonfollowers profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Alpharetta, GA


      I do appreciate your desire to do the right thing. I think though that maybe you're being a little overly sensitive. I think we both know that I have not claimed to corner the market on truth. Remember that you each came to my hub to leave a critical comment and explain how confused I am. As I've said, I'm totally good with that. Criticize all you want. But it is completely unreasonable to believe that you should be able to criticize someone's interpretation of scripture while not providing any evidence to support your claims. As you said, God's Word is precious. When I write something like this, I believe that I have a responsibility to defend it to the best of my ability. If I'm shown to be wrong, my position is indefensible and I have a responsibility to learn and grow. In this case, neither of you have fully engaged enough in the details of the hub to reach any conclusions. Celafoe gave a lot of detail but she didn't specifically address the text of the hub she was arguing against. It's like bringing a megaphone to a sword fight. There's no way to reach a satisfactory conclusion. The goal is truth, right? My criticism is truthful and, I believe, constructive. How is it that my work can be criticized but it is wrong for me to disagree with the way that criticism was communicated? Seems like a double standard. Engage or not. But don't half-engage. Just get off the fence. I think I remember Jesus saying something similar to that once.

    • profile image

      CJ Sledgehammer 

      7 years ago


      Just so you know - I do understand your point-of-view, but I am far more tolerant of spirited/argumentative dialog in the forums, but not with something as precious as God's word and Biblical truth.

      I think we need to keep the door open for all who want to enter because what you have written here is extremely important and not one of us has cornered the market on Godly wisdom and Biblical knowledge. It's just that I have noticed twice now, where you have come across as somewhat demeaning and I wanted to call you on it. :0)

      Peace be with you - C.J. Sledgehammer

    • sonfollowers profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Alpharetta, GA

      It probably does come off that way. What I'm really looking for is an actual dialogue about this stuff. I wrote the hub to present my view. If someone disagrees, just say what specifically in the hub you disagree with so we can discuss it. Also, it would help if we could all read the hub completely as well as the comments before writing something that makes me rehash either the points I made in the hub that were ignored or rehash something in the comments I've already addressed. I love it when people contribute to the discussion. Just please get caught up on the discussion before you jump in. It's no good for anybody if I have to re-explain my entire stance every time someone new leaves a comment. It's counter-productive. I hope the goal is for all of us to walk away learning something. An actual discussion is required to do that, which means we need to respond to what is written. If you're not going to read the content that's there, that tells me you're more interested in shoveling out your opinions than you are in hearing what everyone else has to say. From my perspective, it's arrogance (assuming you couldn't possibly learn something from somebody else). I'm happy to dialogue with whoever shows up, as long as that person will make the conversational investment to understand what I'm saying. I will return the favor. Otherwise, there's no point.

    • profile image

      CJ Sledgehammer 

      7 years ago

      You sound a little defensive and come across as somewhat demeaning and condescending, Sonfollowers. I find no fault with Celafoe and even if s/he did cut and what.?

    • sonfollowers profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Alpharetta, GA

      Greetings, celafoe. Thanks for stopping by.

      It appears that you read my hub (it seems partially) and then pasted in your own description of the steps of salvation from something you had written previously, citing verses, etc. It's clear that this is what happened because you didn't actually notice that the bottom of what you were pasting got cut off. Some amount of your content is missing. Instead of actually attempting a rebuttal of my content, you seem to have taken the lazy way out. I, of course, will happily discuss your content should you actually put it in a hub of your own (or maybe it is and that was the source for your comment). First though, how about you actually address the content of this hub itself and describe how the verses found in the hub do not actually say what I believe they are saying? Since my content was posted first, this seems like a perfectly reasonable course to me. Hopefully you agree.

      Thanks for visiting!

    • celafoe profile image


      7 years ago from From Kingdom of God living on Planet earth in between the oceans

      incomplete and partially incorrect. you are calling being born --salvation. which it is not.

      The Truth about Salvation according to Scripture

      Step One You must be born again.

      Being born again is the first step to salvation, but it is not being “saved” . Being born again thereby gaining access to the things of God. . is the promise of an event yet to come, It is a process, not a one step solution , as is commonly taught.

      John 3:3-8 Jesus answered and said to him, "Truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he can not see the kingdom of God." 4 Nicodemus said, "How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter the second time into his mother's womb and be born?" 5 Jesus answered, "Truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he can not enter the kingdom of God. 6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7 Do not marvel that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again ". 8 The wind blows where it wills, and you hear its sound, but do not know where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit."

      1 Peter 1:22-24 22 Having purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart, 23 having been born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible through the word of God which lives and abides forever,

      What does it mean to be born again?

      John 3:14-17 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, 15 that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 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. 17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him be.

      To understand this verse that is commonly misunderstood, we must look at the word translated as "believe".

      Pisteuo NT4100 (piston-yoo'-o), from NT: 4102, to have faith (in, on or in relation to a person or thing), ie credit, by implication, to entrust (especially one spiritual well-being to Christ):

      NT: 4102 pistis (pis'-tis), from NT: 3982, persuasion, ie credibility, moral conviction (of religious truth, or the truthfulness of God or a religious teacher), especially reliance on Christ for salvation, abstractly, constancy in the profession and, by extension, the system of religious (Gospel) truth itself:

      You see the word does not mean what the current use of the word believe infers, but a much more complex relationship. The spiritual life of absolute trust in Him. In other words, trust him to lead, guide, direct, correct, rebuke, teach and protect you. How can one believe salvation is possible if you do not follow his example and allow him control of your life?

      We see, then, the first step is to become "born again" by believing that Christ died on the cross for your sins and you let Him take control of your life.

      Second step of water baptism

      So now you are born again, it's time to take the next step in their salvation experience. Water baptism has several important aspects. First I will give some scriptures and then talk about them.

      Mark 16:15-17 15 And he said: "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature 16 He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved. But he that believeth not shall be damned.

      Matt 3:13 Then Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan to be baptized by him.

      Acts 2:38 38 Peter replied, "Repent, and each of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins;

      All these scriptures are talking about water baptism. Again, if we are now able to enter the kingdom of God and Jesus is our model whom we trust and follow then these scriptures must also be applied to us.

      See? Clearly, we have to have this baptism to follow. And remember, for those who say that the thief on the cross was not baptized and yet, it was with Jesus. Remember that Jesus was the one who took him with him and there was no way or time for baptism. I do not know about deathbed conversions, whether valid or not, but as of this writing it appears that they are. But that's another topic. So back to water baptism. If Jesus was baptized in the river, then I think that it adequately shows that baptism by immersion is the prescribed method.

      Now, most people have been taught that the purpose of baptism is to publicly display their commitment to Christ. This may be true but there is a higher purpose in water baptism.

      Col 2:11-14 In him you were also circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body you of sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ, 12 buried with Him in baptism, in which you were also raised with Him through faith in the power of God who raised him from the dead. 13 And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses; 14 Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us,

      When we are baptized (buried with him in the water and rise again) is something that is done that is of the utmost importance. The Scriptures tell us that the man who has not been born again has a hard heart. This passage shows that at the time of water baptism is when we receive the circumcision "not made with hands." In other words, if we follow the scriptures and are baptized in water, God circumsizes our heart thus cracking open the hardness that you may receive the things of God.

      So now, after being born again and baptized in water that we are willing, ready and able to continue our journey toward salvation. Eternal life.

      Step 3 The baptism in the Holy Spirit

      Acts 1:4-6 He said, "you heard from me; 5 For John baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days."

      Now before anyone says, and I know someone who received the Holy Spirit before water baptism can I say, the ideal according to the scriptures would be to be baptized in water and leave the water speaking in tongues. I've seen it too, but not the way it usually happens. There are examples of both in the book of Acts. If you experience any of these wonderful ways or another just be happy to receive all that God has for you. And some have been taught that it is not for today and have trouble getting then just trust God and keep asking until you receive.

      Acts 1: 8 but receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth. "

      Now we see that the purpose of baptism in the Holy Spirit. Not, as many teach to empower us to do what we want to do, but the purpose is to give us the power to be Christians and be his witnesses in the world. It was not easy then to be a Christian in the world, and today also it is becoming more difficult, when everything seems to be against Christianity. Knowing this, if we follow the pattern that has been given us we will be empowered to do so.

      So the third step has been achieved and it is time to continue our path to salvation.

      Step 4 The baptism of fire

      This step is rarely if ever included and explained. We will try here in some detail as this is where many fall away because they do not understand this. It is because of his great love for us, allowing us to go through the fire of affliction. To be approved.

      There always seems to be a period after being born again and filled with the Holy Spirit that is like floating in the air, feeling especially good, now that they have been cleansed of their sins. But this does not continue forever, you will face this fire as Jesus faced his fire. His was trust his father on the cross. Abraham faced his fire when God told him to kill his favorite son. Meshack, Shadrack and Abebednego faced theirs in the firey furnace but as in these and other cases God came through to save. Remember, He will never put more on you than you can bear, you may think its too much but it is necessary to purify you for His purposes.

      Peter put it this way.

      1 Peter 1:6-9 In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a littl

    • profile image

      CJ Sledgehammer 

      7 years ago


      You have given me some things to chew on, so I will return after I have had time to digest them - with hopes of continuing our friendly discussion. Until then...please have a wonderful weekend.

      God's blessings to you and yours - C.J. Sledgehammer

    • sonfollowers profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Alpharetta, GA

      CJ Sledgehammer,

      Very nice. :) You found some interesting verses to look at. I'll definitely address those, but in your comments I noticed that you completely ignored the passage in Ephesians chapter 1 which I mentioned twice (once in the hub and once in my reply back to you). You also ignored Romans 8:14-16 and John 10:27-29. Somehow you have to deal with these as well as the concept of adoption presented in the scripture in your theology. I'm specifically interested in the passage in Ephesians because it's so clear, but the rest definitely support what Paul is saying. In 2 Timothy 1:12, Paul says "...I know him whom I have believed, and I am persuaded that he is able to guard that which I have committed unto him against that day." Couple this verse with Ephesians 1. Paul was convinced that God maintained his salvation. When the name is written in the Lamb's Book of Life, it is written in permanent marker. This does not mean that a person is unable to stray. They can if they choose to. Many have fallen away from the church for some number of years for one reason or another. Consider the prodigal son. When he walked away, he was still his father's son. When he returned, his father loved him and threw a party for him. While he was gone, his life sucked and he had to deal with the consequences for his decision. But, his father never disowned him. Paul says we are adopted, which makes this story even more important and appropriate for us.

      I'm assuming your theology is wholistic in nature and not simply a grab bag of verses that fit what you teach. So how do you interpret the several verses I referenced in my hub so that they are consistent with what you are saying? Since my verses were brought to the table before yours, how about we deal with mine before moving on to yours? :) I promise I'll get to them though.

      Thanks for visiting!

    • profile image

      CJ Sledgehammer 

      7 years ago


      Sorry about the interruption, Internet Explorer was having some problems, so I switched to Google Chrome. Hopefully this will cure the problem.

      Now then, you stated in your essay, "Salvation is a transaction that can’t be undone. It’s a gift that can’t be taken away. This is not a license to sin though. That would be disrespectful of the incredible gift you've been given."

      Yes...that would be an incredible gift...if when cannot be undone. What makes it so "incredible" is that this notion is found nowhere in Scripture. In fact, this was not a belief of the original church and did not even show up on the radar screen until John Calvin (1509-1564) introduced the concept of "Eternal Security" to the world.

      On philosophical grounds, "Once Saved, Always Saved" or "Eternal Security" gives the distinct impression that once you have made a decision to follow our Heavenly Father and His glorious can never leave - somewhat like the "Hotel California", where you can check out any time you like, but you can never leave.

      But alas, the Almighty does not work this way. From the start, our Heavenly Father has always given us freedom of choice and if someone, like Judas Iscariot, chooses to turn away...then that is his choice to make. The Almighty does not keep prisoners.

      Hebrews 6: 4-6 says it well, (4) "It is impossible for those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit, (5) who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the coming age, (6) if they fall away, to be brought back to repentance, because to their loss they are crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting Him to public disgrace."

      Then again, Second Peter 2:20-21 makes a similar statement by saying, (20) "If they have escaped the corruption of the world by knowing our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and are again entangled in it and overcome, they are worse off at the end than they were at the beginning. (21) It would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than to have known it and then to turn their backs on the sacred command that was passed on to them."

      In the same likeness, James 1:22-25 adds a little clarity as well, (22) "Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. (23) Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror (24) and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. (25) But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it - he will be blessed in what he does."

      There are at least a half dozen more verses like this, but I'll stop for now, because I think the point has been sufficiently made.

      Please keep in mind that each of the above verses speaks about continuing on in the faith. Why? Because one can fall away if they become complacent or are lured away through other means. It is clear that our Heavenly Father is not going to stop us from walking away...if we want to, so it is imperative that we CONTINUE on in the faith and run the great race from beginning to end. Not stopping mid-way and saying, "Yeah baby...I got it made."

      May the love of God keep you warm - C.J. Sledgehammer

      P.S. Since switching to Google Chrome...I have not experienced any of the problems I had experienced earlier. :0)

    • profile image

      CJ Sledgehammer 

      7 years ago


      In regard to your reply, I apologize for not having Bible verses handy. I have the awareness and training, but cannot necessarily pull chapter and verse out of my hat on demand. Sorry.

      Anyway, I will respectfully disagree with you when you said, "Just because he (Judas Iscariot) followed Jesus around doesn't mean he was a true believer. You're making an assumption that you can't possibly validate."

      Perhaps you are right, but, then again, aren't you assuming he didn't have something to offer, hence his appointment as one of Christ's 12 disciples? It seems to me to be a far greater stretch to assume that he was just another guy hanging out with Jesus, without having to show some kind of merit, as they did in appointing his successor.

      I computer is acting up, so I will have to cut this short and come back at another time.

      Peace be with you - C.J. Sledgehammer

    • sonfollowers profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Alpharetta, GA

      Greetings, CJ Sledgehammer.

      So let me walk through your comments in order:

      About Judas, I don't think we can accurately deduce that Judas Iscariot "had probably done all that was necessary for salvation by virtue of his office." An "office" does not save us, as I'm sure you know. Billy Graham would not have been saved based strictly on his accomplishments. I'm not convinced that Judas ever actually repented and put Jesus ahead of himself (ie. made him Lord). Just because he followed Jesus around doesn't mean he was a true believer. You're making an assumption that you can't possibly validate.

      Since you are trying to use verses to make an argument, it would be helpful if you actually provided scripture references. It's hard to discuss scripture references that are out there somewhere. Anyway, the verse you actually quoted was Revelation 2:10 (Jesus' messages to the seven churches). The assumption you're making that I believe is an invalid one is that we are unsaved until we receive the crown of life. There are actually three specific crowns referenced in the New Testament that we can receive as rewards (maybe there are more than that). The "crown of righteousness" is given to everyone who "loved His appearing" (see 2 Timothy 4:8). The "crown of life" is actually referenced in two different places. One is the one you mentioned in Revelation. The other is in James 1:12: "Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial; for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life, which the Lord has promised to those who love Him." Both of these verses are specifically about enduring trial. I believe that the crown of life is reserved for those who endured suffering in the name of Christ and persevered similar to the purple heart, but there is no reason to assume that this is somehow tied to salvation (other than salvation is required to receive the crown). In other words, the crown is dependent on salvation but salvation is not dependent on the crown.

      About "once saved, always saved", I am a proponent of Paul's assertion that, when we believed in Christ, God marked us as his children by giving us the Holy Spirit which is a deposit or a downpayment; it is God's guarantee of our inheritance. This is almost a direct quote of Ephesians 1:13-14. Paul says that the Holy Spirit is a seal. This seems very clear to me. It also seems to line up with the rest of the New Testament, in which the apostles ran around telling people to believe and repent to be saved without saying anything about perseverence.

      Hopefully that makes sense.

      Thanks for visiting!

    • profile image

      CJ Sledgehammer 

      7 years ago


      First of all, I would just like to compliment you on your well written essay. I think you are a gifted writer and are quite articulate.

      I agree with virtually everything you said here, but I feel compelled to address the statement, "Once you have received the Holy Spirit, He doesn't go away." I also need to challenge the notion that, "Salvation is a transaction that can't be undone...God makes it permanent."

      Without having the verses on hand, I would just like to interject a thought or two. Please remember that Judas Iscariot was a disciple and had probably done all that was necessary for salvation by virtue of his office. As you know...he fell away.

      It is also found within Scripture "Be thou faithful unto death and I will give thee a crown of life." Why would one have to worry about being faithful unto death if one's salvation is permanent?

      Of course there are other referrences in the Bible that tell us to "Continue in the faith", so it seems that one needs to run the great race with conviction from beginning to end.

      Now, you didn't say it outright, but I hope you are not a proponent of "Once saved always saved". If not, then please accept my apologies. If so, please reconsider your position using Scripture as your guide. It is dangerous for believers to think they have it made once and for all. This belief system can easily lead one astray and down the slippery slope of complacency and pride and headlong into trouble.

      Best wishes and be well - C.J. Sledgehammer

    • sonfollowers profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Alpharetta, GA

      Thanks, shofarcall! I appreciate the kind words. That's awesome that you have experienced the "magical" process of becoming a better person over time as you lean into your heavenly Father. Life really is so much better with God than without Him. Have a great weekend!

    • shofarcall profile image


      7 years ago

      This hub is truly a gift. Thank you Jesus for giving Sonfollowers the skill to set down and clarify for us all, so clearly 1) What is required for salvation to take place 2) Water baptism 3) Spiritual baptism or being born again [of the spirit]

      I agree fully with your interpretation because I was one of those who experienced spiritual baptism (following repentance and crying out to God) before this being followed up sometime later with water baptism. And oh yes, the wonder of being changed, molded, from the inside out by a personal, intimate relationship with Jesus, is a constant wonder. Thank you again and God Bless you and keep you safe over these holidays. Voted up, awesome and useful!!

    • sunkentreasure profile image


      7 years ago from RUIMSIG, SOUTH AFRICA


      There's no other friend

      so true and so faithful

      There's no other love

      so precious, so dear

      There's no other joy

      so rich and fulfilling

      There's no other grace

      so kind and so rare

      There's no other one

      who has done

      more for the world

      than Jesus.

      © Bernard Levine

    • sonfollowers profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Alpharetta, GA

      Thanks, faythef! Have a great week.

    • faythef profile image

      Faythe Payne 

      7 years ago from USA

      AMEN..voted up.....

    • sonfollowers profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Alpharetta, GA

      Yeah, good find. This is an interesting passage. One thing to note about this one is that the reason why they hadn't received the Holy Spirit is because they were baptized by John the Baptist, likely before Jesus had come onto the scene. John was testifying that the Messiah was coming but those he baptized didn't know who to put their faith in yet. This is why they hadn't yet received the Holy Spirit. They hadn't yet trusted Christ specifically and the Holy Spirit didn't show up until much later.

      In my opinion, these men still would have been saved because they were trusting in the promise of a coming Messiah the same way that those in the Old Testament (ex. Abraham) looked forward to the Messiah. It seems like there would have to be overlap between the old and new covenants. I don't believe there is anything in scripture to help clear that up. It's just a hunch. Either way, we are firmly under the New Testament covenant today. The requirements for us are much more clear.

      Thanks for the feedback. :) It is very nice to meet you.

    • hookedhuntress profile image


      7 years ago

      Nicely done!I voted this up and gave it a useful,interesting,beautiful and awesome.

      I would like to add something from Acts,

      Acts 19:1 And it came to pass, that, while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul having passed through the upper coasts came to Ephesus: and finding certain disciples,

      2 He said unto them, Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed? And they said unto him, We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost.

      These verses also confirm some of what you say in your hub.

      These men that Paul encounters are considered believers,disciples even, but they had not yet been sealed be the Holy Spirit.

      So it would seem that simply believing,or even being a disciple did not seal your salvation..or guarantee your salvation.



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