Have you ever wondered how to be saved? How you ever wondered whether you are among the saved or among the lost?
From 1712 to 1788 there was a man who lived in France named Jean Rousseau. He was a philosopher, poet, composer and is accredited for being the father of Romanticism. He was also a Calvinist believing a doctrine called “predestination” espoused by John Calvin.
The doctrine of predestination states that even before you were born, God had already predetermined whether you will be lost or saved, and there is nothing you can do to change it.
As a believer in Calvinism, Jean Rousseau did not wonder how to be saved. He struggled because he was not sure whether he was among the lost or the saved. In order to give himself peace of mind, he devised a method of answering that question. He decided that he was going to throw a rock at a tree. If he hit the tree he was among the saved. If he missed the tree he was among the lost. Rousseau picked up a rock. He wanted to make sure that he was not going to miss, so he stood only a few feet away. He threw the rock at the tree and hit it. Jean Rousseau then walked away convinced that he was among the saved.
When you and I study the Bible, we learn that we can know with absolute certainty how to be saved and whether we are among the lost or the saved. The apostle John wrote this...
John did not write so that we can hope that we are saved. He did not write so that we can guess that we are saved. He wrote so that we can know that we are saved. Right now, at this very moment, you can know whether or not you are saved. So which is it for you?
There is only one way to know whether you are among the saved or among the lost, and it has nothing to do with throwing rocks at trees. Every one of us needs to test ourselves to know where we stand with God.
In this passage, the apostle Paul places upon us the responsibility to know our own spiritual condition. If you have confidence that you are among the saved, is it possible that you have been deceived? There are many in this world who have just as much confidence in their relationship with God, but when they examine themselves in light of what the Bible says, they learn that they are lost.
We are called upon to put our conclusions to the test. Test yourselves and see if you are in the faith, because the last thing we want is to have a false hope. It is only when you study the Bible and compare your life to what the Bible says that you know for certain whether or not you are saved.
It does not matter who you are or what your lot is in life, everyone is guilty of sin. It is sin that separates us from God and puts us in a lost condition. However, we do not have to remain in that lost condition.
We can learn how to be saved, and know that we are saved because of Jesus. Can we just admit something? It is hard to love someone who is unlovable. In fact it is often hard to give your life for someone who is righteous or good (Rom. 5.7). Look at how the world is described.
In spite of our being ungodly, sinners, and enemies of God, He loves us anyway and gave His Son, Jesus to shed His blood for our salvation. It isn't because we were good and righteous people and God felt it necessary to reciprocate that love back to us.
The gift of salvation is made available because God demonstrated His love to a people who did not deserve it.
The gift of salvation that takes away our sins does not come to everyone universally. God did His part by sending Jesus, but there is also something that we must do to receive the salvation that God offers.
Salvation is universally offered, but it is not universally accepted. There is something that we must do.
In Acts 10, Peter is told to go to the house of a man named Cornelius. When he arrives, Cornelius had gathered all his family and friends for the purpose of hearing what he had to do to be saved. Listen to what Cornelius told Peter when he arrived.
After being greeted by Cornelius and his household, Peter began to preach a sermon. Peter then says this in verse 43:
In the next chapter, Peter is telling his brethren about how the house of Cornelius was saved. Cornelius was told by an angel that Peter would come and tell him, “words by which he and his household will be saved” (Acts 11.14).
From this account we learn that Cornelius and his household had to do two things…
Jesus is sending out His disciples to preach the gospel to the lost. As they preach the gospel to the lost, there are two things one must do to be saved.
The word “baptized” is in the form of an action taken at a specific point in time. When one comes to that point in his life where he now believes and because of that belief comes to the point where he takes the action of being baptized, he will be saved.
What about the second part of that verse? “…but he who does not believe will be condemned.”
It does not say that he who does not believe and is not baptized will be condemned. However, the way this is worded indicates that belief and baptism are so connected that you cannot have one without the other. If you have faith then you will naturally have baptism. But if you do not have faith, then does not need to be mentioned because it will never enter the picture.
It is like saying, “he who eats and swallows shall have sustenance. He who does not eat will not have sustenance." You do not have to say “he who does not eat and does not swallow will not have sustenance,” because it is obvious that if you don't eat neither will you swallow. In like manner, it is obvious that he who does not believe also will not be baptized.
From this passage, who then can be saved? Those who are saved are those who call on the name of the Lord. If you want to know how to be saved, this text tells you. You must call on the name of the Lord. But how do you do that? What does that mean?
If you examine the context, and follow the flow of thought, you discover that those who heard this message did two things.
This resulted in their being saved (Acts 2.38-41).
For the sake of brevity, let’s consider another passage which will help clarify things. In Acts 22, Paul is reflecting back on his own conversion. Jesus told Paul to go to Ananias where he would be told what he must do to be saved. When he comes to Ananias, this is what he is told he must do.
Paul was baptized, and Ananias called that “calling on the name of the Lord.”
According to verse 9, what must you do in order to be saved?
When we put all these verses all together you learn how to be saved.
When you learn how to be saved by knowing how to study the Bible, then you do what the Bible says, and continue to live your life by the teachings of the Bible, you can know that you are saved.