Are There Steps to Salvation?

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salvation

 

While there are resources that teach about certain steps to receive salvation, the Bible offers only one step to salvation – faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.

because, 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. Romans 10:9

We must remember that salvation is a gift from God that doesn’t require our own works. We just need to accept it. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, Ephesians 2:8 

While there is only one step to salvation, this step brings along some actions and changes before and after it.

  1. We surely need to know who Jesus Christ is and what he did for us. Therefore, we need to hear the gospel – the good news of Jesus’ death and resurrection.

In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, Ephesians 1:13 

So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ. Romans 10:17

2. In order to be able to believe and fully trust Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, which is the one step to salvation according to the Bible, we need to repent. True repentance means changing our mind about sin and who Jesus Christ was and what He has done for us.

Repent therefore, and turn back, that your sins may be blotted out, Acts 3:19

3. We need to confess that Jesus is our Lord and Savior.

because, 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 with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. Romans 10:9-10

  1. We need to call upon Jesus Christ to be our Lord and Savior. For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” Romans 10:13
  1. Water baptism is not a requirement for salvation because we are not saved by our own works, only by grace through faith in Jesus Christ. Baptism is a form of works. It is a symbol of your faith publicly expressing that you believe in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior and that you submit your life to Him.
  1. From the moment of salvation, the Holy Spirit indwells us, gives new birth, unites us to Christ, equips us with His gifts, gives us a renewed love for God, and people, a commitment to the scriptures and godly living, and empowers us to be His ambassadors.

I have baptized you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.” Mark 1:8 

For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body – Jews or Greeks, slaves or free – and all were made to drink of one Spirit. 1 Corinthians 12:13

The baptism/indwelling of the Holy Spirit is an essential part of salvation which is granted from the moment of salvation. Some churches teach the baptism of the Holy Spirit as a second baptism which a believer needs to ask for to receive spiritual gifts, especially speaking in tongues. A few even say that the manifestation of speaking in tongues is the only approved confirmation of having received the baptism of the Holy Spirit, and without it, a person can’t be sure of their salvation. Paul never mentioned in his teachings about spiritual gifts that a second baptism was needed to receive them.

The Holy Spirit gives these gifts to each believer as He determines for the good of the body.

All these are empowered by one and the same Spirit, who apportions to each one individually as he wills. 1 Corinthians 12:11 

Speaking in tongues is definitely not a universal confirmation of having received the baptism of the Holy Spirit. We can’t find that statement in the Bible. Instead, Paul writes, “Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who empowers them all in everyone. To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. For to one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom, and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another the ability to distinguish between spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues.” 1 Corinthians 12:4-10

“And God has appointed in the church first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healing, helping, administrating, and various kinds of tongues.  Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? Do all possess gifts of healing? Do all speak with tongues? Do all interpret?” 1 Corinthians 12:28-30

While the Bible often mentions the baptism of the Spirit, as well as the sanctification of the believers, it doesn’t speak of a second baptism. There is a general confusion of the baptism of the Holy Spirit and the filling of the Holy Spirit. What many call a second baptism is actually a filling of the Spirit. It can happen at or subsequent to salvation. However it is not a requirement for salvation. It’s an ongoing experience of God’s Spirit working in a person’s life. The filling of the Spirit doesn’t happen to all believers because it depends on the believer’s obedience to God’s will and commands. The filling of the Spirit is part of our sanctification and our discipleship. The more we live out our faith in Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit increasingly controls and fills our life.

The baptism of the Holy Spirit is not a second baptism. It takes place at salvation and places us into union with Christ and with other believers in the body of Christ. It happens only once.

We will study the topic of the baptism of the Holy Spirit, the filling of the Holy Spirit, and the spiritual gifts in more depths in another post.

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