How do I believe in Jesus and be saved?

Summary

If you “call on the name of the Lord” in love (Matthew 22:37-38) and not hate (Matthew 8:29; Luke 4:41), you will be saved from your sins and eternal separation from God (Romans 10:13). Truly calling out to Jesus as Lord means accepting His gift of grace without one’s own works (Ephesians 2:8-9) by having faith (John 1:12) that if we repent of our sins, we will become a more righteous person (I John 1:9) ready to do the good works we were created for (Ephesians 2:10). The simplest summary of the Gospel of Salvation in the Bible is found in Titus 3:3-8.

Endorsements

Almost all Christians agree that believing in Jesus is about love, which leads to obedience and knowledge.

Reasons

Believing in Jesus is ultimately about loving Him.

When Paul says, “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved (Romans 10:13),” there is an emphasis on “name.” The deepest name for God is love (I John 4:18), so you cannot call Jesus “Son of God” and think that is enough (Matthew 8:29; Luke 4:41). The Greatest Commandment is to love God (Mark 12:29-30) because doing this and loving people is like fulfilling all commandments (Matthew 22:40).

Real love is primarily about obedience.

Love is not only a warm feeling; it’s mostly about obeying all commandments (John 14:15). Similar to not having a choice of coming into work at 10am if your contract states 9-5pm, when you say that Jesus is your Lord, you lose the freedom of choice to sin (Luke 6:46,49; Galatians 5:13). Jesus is Lord because he has been given all authority from God the Father (Matthew 28:18). Although we don’t need to obey everything a human we love says, we must fully obey God to go to heaven (Matthew 7:21) because loving a being who is perfect (Matthew 5:48) always leads to obedience (I John 5:1-2) because it will always promote life (Romans 8:2; John 14:6). Obedience is having a mindset of being “born again” (John 3:3), dying to your old life (II Corinthians 5:17) to live a new life of denying all temptations (Luke 9:23). If you worry that your obedience is not “good enough,” see our article about real confidence in God.

Obedience starts with understanding the Gospel and what we should divide over.

God’s news for everyone, known as the “Gospel of salvation,” is summarized in Titus 3:3-8 because Titus 3:9-11 tells us what biblical laws are worth dividing over. I Corinthians 15:3-6 is also included because Paul says it is the Gospel of salvation (I Corinthians 15:1-2). It is very important to not add or subtract from the Gospel, for this is what determines if a person is truly saved or not:

  1. Sinful Nature: We are sinners (Titus 3:3).
  2. Love of God the Father: God the Father is good, kind, and loving (Titus 3:4).
  3. Jesus is God: Jesus is a man and also is God, Lord, and Savior (Titus 3:4,6).  This is known as the hypostatic nature, that Jesus was fully God and fully man.
  4. Repentance through Mercy: He causes us to repent of our sins by His mercy, not our works (Titus 3:5).
  5. Regeneration of the Spirit: The saving happens through regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit (Titus 3:5).
  6. Holy Spirit is God: The Holy Spirit is also God (Titus 3:5-6) because the saving happens through the Spirit, and the Savior is Jesus.
  7. Death, Burial, and Resurrection: Implicit in “pouring” (Titus 3:6) is how Paul also defines the Gospel of salvation (I Corinthians 15:1-2): Jesus died for our sins, was buried, was resurrected, and proved His resurrection (I Corinthians 15:3-6).
  8. Eternal Life: We are justified so we can have eternal life (Titus 3:7).
  9. Justified by Grace for Works: Justification happens only through God’s grace proven by works (Titus 3:7-8).

Obedience continues by learning the full truth about God’s master plan.

As you grow in obedience to God, you should start to desire to learn more about God (Proverbs 9:10). The following is a chronological explanation of every aspect of God’s plan for filling heaven:

  1. God’s Nature: God is perfect (Matthew 5:48) and is the definition of love (I John 4:18).
  2. Foreknowledge of Human Nature: God already knew that we would sin because free will naturally is selfish (Romans 3:11,23) but that we could be redeemed (Romans 8:29).
  3. Creation and Bride: Jesus created all of space, time, and matter (Genesis 1:1). He created humanity (Genesis 1:27) to be like His wife (Ephesians 5:27,31-32) living in a utopia called the Garden of Eden (Genesis 2:8).
  4. The Fall: The first humans, Adam and Eve, were tricked by Satan into sinning (Genesis 3:4-5,6); so, God cursed His world and humanity (Genesis 3:16-19) to quicken our understanding of the consequences of disobedience (Galatians 3:10).
  5. Justice and HellJustice requires fair punishment for this sin (Leviticus 24:17,19-20), for holiness can only exist after purification of wrongdoing (Hebrews 9:22). The system God created for paying is hell (Matthew 5:22,26).
  6. Mercy and Grace: God wants no one to be eternally tortured (II Peter 3:9), for mercy is more powerful than justice (James 2:13). In mercy (Matthew 9:13), God created a plan of grace (Ephesians 2:7-8). 
  7. Predestination and Election: Before anyone did good or bad, God destined certain people to be elected for salvation (Romans 9:11; John 15:16) while others would be destined for wrath in hell, as an example of what not to do (Romans 9:22-23). Election can’t be based on works because even the best humans don’t naturally seek God (Romans 3:11).
  8. Calling of Contrition: The elect are called to follow God’s will (Romans 8:28), starting with repenting of all sins (II Corinthians 7:10; Proverbs 28:13).
  9. Old Covenant of a Kingdom of Priests: Before Jesus, people could atone for their sins by sacrificing animals (Leviticus 5:9-10). Whoever obeyed would become a priest to quicken the spiritual development of society (Exodus 19:6). This form of atonement was temporary (Hebrews 9:8-9), only for the body (Hebrews 9:10,13).
  10. Virgin Birth and Hypostatic Nature: The everlasting sacrifice must be perfect. Mary, the mother of Jesus, was seeded by the Father as a virgin (Luke 1:30-31,34-35). This meant that Jesus was fully God and fully man (John 1:1,14).
  11. Jesus’ Death and Burial: The permanent plan of atonement was through Christ, for only He can purify our conscience (Hebrews 9:14). Because Jesus never sinned (Hebrews 4:15; I Peter 2:22), He infinitely paid the price of our sins (Hebrews 9:25,26) by shedding His own blood and dying (Romans 5:6). This death was proven by his grave being guarded for 3 days, from Good Friday to Easter (Matthew 27:63-66; Matthew 28:1).
  12. Jesus’ Resurrection and Evidence: Jesus proved He actually was the only sinless God by resurrecting (Romans 1:4) and providing evidence (I Corinthians 15:4-8).
  13. New Covenant of Faith: Now that Jesus paid for our sins, payment can come through a better plan (Hebrews 8:7,13): having faith in Jesus as Lord (John 14:1,6) in a New Covenant (Hebrews 9:15). This faith is from grace (Ephesians 2:8-9), taught by the Holy Spirit (Hebrews 8:10), not mainly by people (Hebrews 8:11; I John 2:27).
  14. Redemption and Forgiveness: This small seed of faith (Matthew 17:20) is enough for Christ to redeem us from disobedience to the law (Galatians 3:10,13) by forgiving our sins (Hebrews 10:17-18; Colossians 1:14).
  15. Reconciliation: Although sin put us “in bad standing” with God, with forgiveness comes a “good standing” (II Corinthians 5:18-19). As long as we obey Jesus, He is our friend (John 15:14-15).
  16. Baptism: The first step of our friendship with Jesus is to make a commitment before God to follow Him, which is done symbolically by being cleansed with water (I Peter 3:21; Matthew 28:19).
  17. Fellowship and Communion: The next step is to find a church and spend time getting to know them (Hebrews 10:24-25). We should also eat bread and wine (grape juice) with them routinely to remember Jesus’ sacrifice (I Corinthians 11:24-26).
  18. Regeneration and Renewal through Sanctification: As our friend, Jesus fixes what was broken (Ezekiel 36:26) and teaches us all truth (Romans 12:2) with the indwelling of the Holy Spirit (John 14:16-17), for the purpose of committing ourselves to righteousness (Romans 6:19).
  19. Justification by Grace for Works: The sign that a person actually accepted God’s grace, worthy to be called a friend of God, is doing good works (James 2:22-23). Justification is based in grace (Ephesians 2:8-9) and proven in works (James 2:24) because faith without works is dead (James 2:26).
  20. Restoration, Adoption, and Glorification: Once God justifies us on the Day of Judgment (Matthew 12:36-37), our sin nature will be eradicated (Romans 8:21), we’ll be adopted into God’s family (Romans 8:23), and we’ll receive a new body similar to the Christ (Philippians 3:21).
  21. Eternal Dwelling: God’s new home will be with humanity (Revelation 21:3). Heaven will be on an improved earth (Revelation 21:1-2), everyone will get their own house or room (John 14:2), and there will be no more pain (Revelation 21:4).

Counterclaims

Is salvation from belief or repentance?

They logically are intertwined. See our main claim.