First, we believe that the Bible is the authoritative word of God, and that it constitutes the law and pattern God wants us to follow.
If the Bible is not supposed to be followed by us today, then we admit that we do not know what it is for. Because the Bible is God's word, it communicates God's will for us. We have dedicated ourselves to studying it so that we might understand it accurately, and we are also dedicated to practicing its demands to the best of our abilities. We do not claim that we have achieved perfection in either of these pursuits, but we are dedicated to an ongoing effort to conform to the Biblical pattern as closely as we can.
What must one do to be saved (Acts 2.37)?
First, why should anyone be interested in the Bible?
The answer is that all people have a common problem: the problem of sin. The Bible says that all have sinned, and thus we all stand guilty before God and we face his anger unless there is a way to obtain God’s forgiveness.
"for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Romans 3.23 NASB
“For it is because of these things that the wrath of God will come upon the sons of disobedience, and in them you also once walked, when you were living in them.” Colossians 3:6-7 NASB
“For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men” Romans 1.18 NASB
The good news of the gospel is that forgiveness is available to those who join themselves to Jesus Christ. What is the gospel? It is the story of the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus.
“Now I make known to you, brethren, the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received, in which also you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast the word which I preached to you, unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures.” 1 Corinthians 15.1-4 NASB
To obey the gospel is to submit oneself to Jesus after this same pattern of dying and living anew.
"I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.” Galatians 2.20 NASB
God’s promise is that those who submit and commit themselves to this same pattern of life will be spared from God’s wrath.
“For after all it is only just for God to repay with affliction those who afflict you, and to give relief to you who are afflicted and to us as well when the Lord Jesus will be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels in flaming fire, dealing out retribution to those who do not know God and to those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. These will pay the penalty of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power, when He comes to be glorified in His saints on that day, and to be marveled at among all who have believed-- for our testimony to you was believed.” 2 Thessalonians 1.6-10 NASB
So just how do you join yourself to Jesus?
1. It begins by hearing his word. Hearing is more than just ordinary listening, but includes the idea of “receptivity,” a willingness to take in what Jesus says and allow it to become rooted in your heart and mind.
“So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.” Romans 10.17 NASB
“How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard?” Romans 10:14 NASB
“…in humility receive the word implanted, which is able to save your souls.” James 1:21 NASB
2. The one who hears must then believe in Jesus. There are two things that the Bible specifically says a person must believe in order to be saved: 1) we must believe that Jesus is the Son of God, the Messiah (Christ) of Israel who came to earth from heaven (John 8.24), and 2) we must believe that God raised Jesus from the dead as the gospels have reported it. Beyond this, however, “believing” is not simply an intellectual exercise, but involves trusting and committing to Jesus and to what he tells us. It means that we make a decision to commit to following his teaching in everything.
“unless you believe that I am He, you will die in your sins."John 8.24 NASB
“if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.”Romans 10.9-10 NASB
3. Along with the decision to commit to Jesus, there must be a corresponding decision to quit living “my own way.” We must renounce the sinful things we have been doing and decide that we will turn from them – we pledge to “die” to these things. The Bible calls this repentance, and it is part of the response God wants to see from us. Repentance is actually something we will do for the rest of our lives, but we must make a start of repentance when we first turn to the Lord.
“unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.” Luke 13:3 NASB
“Therefore having overlooked the times of ignorance, God is now declaring to men that all people everywhere should repent” Acts 17:30 NASB
4. God also wants us to confess our belief publicly and verbally.
“if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.” Romans 10:9-10 NASB
5. Then you must join yourself to Christ by imitating his death, burial, and resurrection in water baptism.
“Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death? Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin; for he who has died is freed from sin.” Romans 6:3-7 NASB
“For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.” Galatians 3:27 NASB
These things will make you a Christian. But does this mean that your place in heaven is now guaranteed no matter what? No. The Bible further teaches that those who have joined themselves to Jesus must continue to live as his disciples, and follow his teaching, for the rest of their lives.
“So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, ‘If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine’” John 8.31 NASB
“Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life.” Revelation 2:10 NASB
“If we endure, we will also reign with Him; If we deny Him, He also will deny us” 2 Timothy 2:12 NASB
“if indeed you continue in the faith firmly established and steadfast, and not moved away from the hope of the gospel that you have heard” Colossians 1.23 NASB
“I charge you in the presence of God, who gives life to all things, and of Christ Jesus, who testified the good confession before Pontius Pilate, that you keep the commandment without stain or reproach until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ” 1 Timothy 6:13-14 NASB
“For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God, you may receive what was promised.” Hebrews 10:36 NASB.