The 5 Steps to Salvation

There are a lot of Step programs out today and every one of them talks about the way to do something. It is a method of achieving something by doing the things prescribed in the step program. However, obtaining salvation is not reduced to a Step program.

So why do I call this a 5 Steps to Salvation post?

Because, I have observed in the scriptures and in the experiences of my life that there are about 5 recognizable things that happen in obtaining salvation from God.

1. True Repentance leads to Faith
2. True Faith leads to Grace from God
3. Grace from God generates Obedience to Gods will
4. Obedience to His commands produces Righteousness
5. Righteousness is required and brings about Salvation

So, there you have it. My outline for salvation in a 5 step process seems to be very simple but it is not. It is not a methodology for invoking God to save you but an apparent working out of the life of God he puts inside of you at the point of true repentance.

Every man is born with the nature of sin in him. There is nothing we can do to rid ourselves of that nature. It is not within our ability to do so. Only Christ can do that.

If a person is to be saved from that nature, his past, himself, all that is against God then there has to be a point of repentance FROM those things and a turning around (that's what repentance means) and going the other way reality. It is at that point of will "volition" in a person that God meet him there and exercise His part of salvation. It is the enabling power of God that gives us what we need to do next and that is to believe. When the bible says "He who believes shall be saved" it is referring to this point exactly. You cannot believe if you have not repented. Therefore, believing is a product of repentance and the work of God's power in you.

Believing does not just happen without the work of repentance. There is a work that has to transpire and we have to do that work. God's spirit can convict us of sin and compel us towards repentance but we have to do the work of repentance willfully. We have to be broken, humble and surrendered to God in order for repentance to be real. Believing is not just a volitional choice we make without repentance. You can't just say "I believe in God." (as in, I believe God exists.) and have a free ticket into heaven because of it. Sorry to disappoint all you who think so. Read your Bibles and you will see that God requires righteousness for salvation.

So once you have repented of your sin (which by the way is not just unbelief) you will feel and sense the power of God's forgiveness with warmth of peace and joy. You will know inside that you are forgiven and God will strengthen that knowing into Faith. That faith is what will give you the entrance into God's grace. (Read Ephesians 2:8) Because God empowers you to believe and trust in Him there is a turning to Him in gratitude and a longing to do something for Him because of what He has done. It is similar to your neighbor cutting your grass for you or someone delivering a cupboard full of groceries to you when you are broke and hungry. It generates a longing to return the generosity towards the giver. A real thankfulness.

This is the Grace of God that leads us to good works. His loving kindness continues to keep us in a heart of gratitude for Him, giving us Himself and the ability to follow in obedience. We yearn to find ways of showing him our gratitude and become like children around their father when he is their best friend and protector, provider, comforter and teacher of all good things. We can't wait for an opportunity to show Him what we have learned or come to discover. It's "Look at me!" "See what I found?" "Wait for me father." "Can I go with you?"

Of course there are times when we will feel down and disturbed by the things that press us or separate us from that fellowship with him. Most often if it is not a direct attack of the enemy. It comes down to a selfish act on our part and a reluctance to repent from it. Either in the way we think about a thing or by our behavior that follows the thought. The act of separating ourselves from God is called sin and we have to call it what it is. Not pass it off as some malady or bad habit. We have to respond in a strong way to sin and call upon God for his grace to empower us again. Then we start the process over again. Repentance, Faith, Grace, Obedience, Righteousness and Salvation. And each and every time we find ourselves in disobedience or without the presence of Gods joy and peace, we need to repent and find God for grace to have faith to obey him.

That brings us to obedience. Obedience is the simple act of carrying out Gods will in a thing. When you read the Bible and you see it says not to steal, you are "not to steal anything". That means the pens, notepads, paperclips and other items your boss has at work for you to use are not yours to take home or give away to anyone else. Pirating songs or software is stealing. Copying movies and music without permission from the author is stealing. Obeying also means when God tells you to say a kind word to a person standing at the bus stop who looks afraid or worn to a frazzle by the day you need to go up to that person and share the love of God with them. Not preach at them or quote them scriptures, but say something kind to them. At least strike up a conversation with them so they can get out of themselves and see somewhere other than inward. That means when your neighbor is having problems with his car you go over and offer a hand or offer to help find a mechanic or whatever it takes to be used for the glory of God.

Maybe it's your family who needs more of your time or your wife who needs help in the kitchen. Whatever God is showing you to do that has to do with extending yourself in a loving, kind and generous way, do it. Don't make excuses for it, if you don't do what is right. Call it sin and repent of it. Ask God to work His grace in you. Find where God is making His home in you and welcome Him inside. No restrictions. It's called giving up your life and preferences for the use of Gods desires. It's what the early church referred to as being a DISCIPLE of Christ. The process of grace to obedience makes disciples. Repentance keeps us in that humble, open and receiving attitude for Gods love and grace. It's what makes us faithful. Faithful to obey and become righteous.

Righteousness is then the product of obedience and our staying in a right relationship with God. When we have nothing to be ashamed of or nothing to hide before God, we are walking in the light and we find peace and joy in God's presence. If we are hiding something or we are ashamed of something we said or did, then we are in sin and we need to start that process over again from square one. This is how God redeems us from evil works and brings us into Him as righteous sons and daughters with Christ. God is always in the business of redeeming us and making us clean before Him. Just as a mother who tends to her children throughout the day, making them presentable to their father when he arrives home. Like a mother cat, grooming the kittens continually with washings and combings. God continually reconciles us to Himself.

Our God loves us and understands how we are in our fleshly natures. He is no stranger to our ways at all. He has walked this life on earth as a human being and knows all the facets of temptation and lusts we face each day. He knows the joys of friendship and family. He knows everything about who we are. He loves us and accepts us as his children. He is not surprised when we sin, he just wants us to take responsibility for our thoughts and behavior and repent for those things that are against Him and His righteousness. He wants us to learn how to love but He is not going to just leave us hanging out here without the ability to do so. He is going to give us the ability to love by placing His heart in us. His power is what we lack but if we will not repent of our ways and take His ways we cannot receive what He has for us. We cannot enter into Him and be saved.

Through righteousness then, we find salvation from the old and evil lives we have been used to living and we are ushered into a new life of love and everlasting life by His power and grace. What a wonderful God we have. How great a gift he has given us to be empowered with His love and life. Let's receive all of Him and learn to be like Him in everything. We will find our lives filled up with the goodness of God and experience the fullness of his love.

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