I have just put my faith in Jesus…now what?
Congratulations on your decision to place your faith in Jesus Christ for salvation (John 3:16;Romans 10:9-10). The Christian life is a journey, but you can always be confident that God loves you and is with you each step of the way (Matthew 28:20).
1. Make sure you understand salvation.
1 John 5:13tells us, “I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.” God wants us to understand salvation. God wants us to have the confidence of knowing for sure that we are saved. Briefly, let’s go over the key points of salvation:
(a) We have all sinned. We have all done things that are displeasing to God (Romans 3:23).
(b) Because of our sin, we deserve to be punished with eternal separation from God (Romans 6:23).
(c) Jesus died on the cross to pay the penalty for our sins (Romans 5:8;2 Corinthians 5:21). Jesus died in our place, taking the punishment that we deserved. His resurrection proved that Jesus’ death was sufficient to pay for our sins.
That is the message of salvation! If you have placed your faith in Jesus Christ as your Savior, you are saved! All of your sins are forgiven, and God promises to never leave you or forsake you (Romans 8:38-39;Matthew 28:20). Remember, your salvation is secure in Jesus Christ (John 10:28-29). If you are trusting in Jesus alone as your Savior, you can have confidence that you will spend eternity with God in heaven!
2. Find a good church that teaches the Bible.
Don’t think of the church as a building. The church is the people. It is very important that believers in Jesus Christ fellowship with one another. That is one of the primary purposes of the church. Now that you have placed your faith in Jesus Christ, we strongly encourage you to find a Bible-believing church in your area and speak to the pastor. Let him know about your new faith in Jesus Christ.
A second purpose of the church is to teach the Bible. You can learn how to apply God’s instructions to your life. Understanding the Bible is key to living a successful and powerful Christian life.2 Timothy 3:16-17says, “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”
A third purpose of the church is worship. Worship is thanking God for all He has done! God has saved us. God loves us. God provides for us. God guides and directs us. How could we not thank Him? God is holy, righteous, loving, merciful, and full of grace.Revelation 4:11declares, “You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being.”
3. Set aside time each day to focus on God.
It is very important for us to spend time each day focusing on God. Some people call this a “quiet time.” Others call it “devotions,” because it is a time when we devote ourselves to God. Some prefer to set aside time in the mornings, while others prefer the evenings. It does not matter what you call this time or when you do it. What matters is that you regularly spend time with God. What events make up our time with God?
(a) Prayer. Prayer is simply talking to God. Talk to God about your concerns and problems. Ask God to give you wisdom and guidance. Ask God to provide for your needs. Tell God how much you love Him and how much you appreciate all He does for you. That is what prayer is all about.
(b) Bible Reading. In addition to being taught the Bible in church, Sunday School, and/or Bible studies – you need to be reading the Bible for yourself. The Bible contains everything you need to know in order to live a successful Christian life. It contains God’s guidance for how to make wise decisions, how to know God’s will, how to minister to others, and how to grow spiritually. The Bible is God’s Word to us. The Bible is essentially God’s instruction manual for how to live our lives in a way that is pleasing to Him and satisfying to us.
4. Develop relationships with people who can help you spiritually.
1 Corinthians 15:33tells us, “Do not be misled: ‘Bad company corrupts good character.’” The Bible is full of warnings about the influence “bad” people can have on us. Spending time with those who engage in sinful activities will cause us to be tempted by those activities. The character of those we are around will “rub off” on us. That is why it is so important to surround ourselves with other people who love the Lord and are committed to Him.
Try to find a friend or two, perhaps from your church, who can help you and encourage you (Hebrews 3:13;10:24). Ask your friends to keep you accountable in regard to your quiet time, your activities, and your walk with God. Ask if you can do the same for them. This does not mean you have to give up all your friends who do not know the Lord Jesus as their Savior. Continue to be their friend and love them. Simply let them know that Jesus has changed your life and you cannot do all the same things you used to do. Ask God to give you opportunities to share Jesus with your friends.
5. Be baptized.
Many people have a misunderstanding of baptism. The word “baptize” means to immerse in water. Baptism is the Biblical way of publicly proclaiming your new faith in Christ and your commitment to follow Him. The action of being immersed in the water illustrates being buried with Christ. The action of coming out of the water pictures Christ’s resurrection. Being baptized is identifying yourself with Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection (Romans 6:3-4).
Baptism is not what saves you. Baptism does not wash away your sins. Baptism is simply a step of obedience, a public proclamation of your faith in Christ alone for salvation. Baptism is important because it is a step of obedience – publicly declaring faith in Christ and your commitment to Him. If you are ready to be baptized, you should speak with a pastor.
PRAYER OF SALVATION
Many people ask, “Is there a prayer I can pray that will guarantee my salvation?” It is important to remember that salvation is not received by reciting a prayer or uttering certain words. The Bible nowhere records a person’s receiving salvation by a prayer. Saying a prayer is not the biblical way of salvation.
The biblical method of salvation is faith in Jesus Christ.John 3:16tells us, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” Salvation is gained by faith (Ephesians 2:8), by receiving Jesus as Savior (John 1:12), and by fully trusting Jesus alone (John 14:6;Acts 4:12), not by reciting a prayer.
The biblical message of salvation is simple and clear and amazing at the same time. We have all committed sin against God (Romans 3:23). Other than Jesus Christ, there is no one who has lived an entire life without sinning (Ecclesiastes 7:20). Because of our sin, we have earned judgment from God (Romans 6:23), and that judgment is physical death followed by spiritual death. Because of our sin and its deserved punishment, there is nothing we can do on our own to make ourselves right with God. As a result of His love for us, God became a human being in the Person of Jesus Christ. Jesus lived a perfect life and always taught the truth. However, humanity rejected Jesus and put Him to death by crucifying Him. Through that horrible act, though, Jesus died in our place. Jesus took the burden and judgment of sin on Himself, and He died in our place (2 Corinthians 5:21). Jesus was then resurrected (1 Corinthians 15), proving that His payment for sin was sufficient and that He had overcome sin and death. As a result of Jesus’ sacrifice, God offers us salvation as a gift. God calls us all to change our minds about Jesus (Acts 17:30) and to receive Him as the full payment of our sins (1 John 2:2). Salvation is gained by receiving the gift God offers us, not by praying a prayer.
Now, that does not mean prayer cannot be involved in receiving salvation. If you understand the gospel, believe it to be true, and have accepted Jesus as your salvation, it is good and appropriate to express that faith to God in prayer. Communicating with God through prayer can be a way to progress from accepting facts about Jesus to fully trusting in Him as Savior. Prayer can be connected to the act of placing your faith in Jesus alone for salvation.
Again, though, it is crucially important that you do not base your salvation on having said a prayer. Reciting a prayer cannot save you! If you want to receive the salvation that is available through Jesus, place your faith in Him. Fully trust His death as the sufficient sacrifice for your sins. Completely rely on Him alone as your Savior. That is the biblical method of salvation. If you have received Jesus as your Savior, by all means, say a prayer to God. Tell God how thankful you are for Jesus. Offer praise to God for His love and sacrifice. Thank Jesus for dying for your sins and providing salvation for you. That is the biblical connection between salvation and prayer.
If you have received Jesus as your Savior because of what you have read here today, please click on the “I have accepted Christ today” button below.
The Bible presents a clear path to eternal life. First, we must recognize that we have sinned against God: “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). We have all done things that are displeasing to God, which makes us deserving of punishment. Since all our sins are ultimately against an eternal God, only an eternal punishment is sufficient. “The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 6:23).
However, Jesus Christ, the sinless (1 Peter 2:22), eternal Son of God became a man (John 1:1,14) and died to pay our penalty. “God demonstrates His love for us in this: while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). Jesus Christ died on the cross (John 19:31-42), taking the punishment that we deserve (2 Corinthians 5:21). Three days later He rose from the dead (1 Corinthians 15:1-4), proving His victory over sin and death. “In His great mercy He has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead” (1 Peter 1:3).
By faith, we must change our mindset regarding Christ – who He is, what He did, and why – for salvation (Acts 3:19). If we place our faith in Him, trusting His death on the cross to pay for our sins, we will be forgiven and receive the promise of eternal life in heaven. “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son so that anyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16). “If you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved” (Romans 10:9). Faith alone in the finished work of Christ on the cross is the only true path to eternal life! “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this not of yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9).
If you want to accept Jesus Christ as your Savior, here is a sample prayer. Remember, saying this prayer or any other prayer will not save you. It is only trusting in Christ that can save you from sin. This prayer is simply a way to express to God your faith in Him and thank Him for providing for your salvation. “God, I know that I have sinned against you and deserve punishment. But Jesus Christ took the punishment that I deserve so that through faith in Him I could be forgiven. I place my trust in You for salvation. Thank You for Your wonderful grace and forgiveness – the gift of eternal life! Amen!”