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Many of us have been brought to a point where we realize our need for a Savior.  We have given up fighting the Lord and living our life the way we please.  We’ve seen our sinfulness and know that Jesus Christ is the answer to our deepest longings.  But how, we ask, can we become a genuine Christian?

Realize that Christ is Waiting to Save You

First, we must realize that the Lord Jesus is already waiting to come and live in us as our Savior.  Christ said, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him, and will dine with him, and he with Me.” (Rev. 3:20)   Here, the Lord clearly says that He is standing at the door of our heart and knocking.  Furthermore, the tense of the verb “stand” in the original language of the New Testament indicates that He has been standing at the door of our heart in the past, He’s standing there right now, and He will continue to stand there in the future, waiting for us to open.  Christ does not come to us once, knock a few times, and then leave.  He is waiting, eagerly waiting, and patiently knocking so that we would open to Him.

 

Every trial we’ve passed through that turned our thoughts to the Lord, every experience we’ve had that made us think of Him, every inclination we’ve ever felt toward God – all have been His knocking.  We may have resisted, we may have tried to go deeper into sin, we might even have cursed Him at some point, yet this loving Christ keeps pursuing us, knocking again and again.  Fortunately for us, He is not so easily offended.  Don’t believe any lie that it’s too late for you, or that you’ve tried to be a Christian and nothing happened, so it must be all over for you, or that you’ve sinned too greatly for Christ to save you.  No.  At this very moment Christ is knocking on the door of your heart.  He’s not far away condemning you.  He’s so near, waiting to come into you and be your Savior.

Repent of Your Sins and Turn to Christ as Your Savior

We must see, however, that the mere presence of Christ at our heart’s door, and even our acknowledging of His presence, is not sufficient to make us a Christian.  We go on to open the door of our heart.   We may have heard about Christ, we may have realized at times in our life that He was near to us, we may even currently believe in a mental way that He is the Son of God; but have we definitely, purposely, and consciously opened the door or our heart to Him?  Until we actually open, all is in vain.   He is waiting and is fully able to save us, but He must have our consent.  We must first open our heart to Him.

What, though, does it mean to open?  How do you open? We might first say what opening is not – it is not going through a ritual, nor merely praying a prayer in a formal way.   We may have tried these ways in the past with no result.   According to the Bible, the proper opening mainly involves two things:  repenting of our sins and turning our heart to God.  When the Lord Jesus was on the earth, the very first words of His public ministry were, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”  (Matt 4:17)   

This is the first step of opening – to repent.  The word “repent” literally means to change one’s mind or to change one’s concept.  It means that formerly you thought one way about yourself and about your relationship to God; but now, under the light of God’s Word, you change your thought and think a new way.  You may have thought you needed to do more good deeds to merit God’s favor, but now you see you are a hopeless sinner who has nothing to offer God.

It’s not enough, however, to just repent – just to admit your need and turn away from sin.  You must also turn toward God.  As sinful people, we cannot, in and of ourselves, forsake sin.  We don’t have the power to do so, as our personal history and the sad history of mankind testify.  Therefore, we need to turn to Someone who is able to forsake sin and who can save us from sin – Jesus!  He is fully able to deliver us.

 

 

Confess with Your Mouth Jesus as Lord

Once you have turned from sin and turned to God, there is one last thing for you to do:  confess with your mouth Jesus as your Lord.  Paul the Apostle spoke of this need of confession in Romans 10:9-10.  “If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved; for with the heart man believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.”  These verses show us that there are two main items required for salvation:  1) believing in our heart and 2) confessing with our mouth.  When we recognize our need of a Savior and admit that Christ, the Risen One, is that Savior, we are fulfilling the first step of believing in our heart that God has raised Jesus from the dead.   There is now a further need to definitely and verbally confess Him as Lord.  This is a very crucial step to help us confirm our experience of receiving Christ as our Savior.

Believe the Fact, Not Your Feelings

If you have genuinely and honestly prayed, if you have repented of you sins, believed in Christ, and confessed Him as your Lord, you are a saved person – period.  You can know this assuredly because the Word of God declares it:  “If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved.”  (Rom 10:9)   You can trust in the solid word.  The Bible testifies, “Forever, O Lord, Thy word is settled in heaven.”  (Psa. 119:89)   Hence, the promise of God is fully trustworthy and dependable.   Furthermore, “it is impossible for God to lie.”  (Heb 6:18)  Thus, whatever He has spoken and promised is true.  Your feelings may fluctuate, but the Word of God does not; so you can trust the fact of God’s promise, not your feelings.

His promise is unconditional, and it cannot be changed by your feelings.  If you have opened your heart, He has come in and you are a real Christian.   Be assured – it is possible to receive Christ and know that you have been saved by Him – simply repent, believe, confess, and “you shall be saved.”

 

winter, shield, snow

Just one small slip could send a car tumbling down any steep ravine.

Many years ago I attended Washington State University in Pullman but my home was on the other side of the Cascade mountains.  To travel back and forth it was necessary to cross a mountain pass which could be quite treacherous in the winter.  The road could be icy and many parts of the highway did not have guard rails.  Just one small slip could send a car tumbling down any steep ravine. You could look down hundreds of feet to the base of the ravine below.  I recall laying down in the back of a van (which had very poor traction) and praying to a God in whom I did not believe that He would preserve me to the other side of that mountain pass.  I had not yet believed in God and I was very afraid of dying before having the chance to do so.   I had a fear of not only death but also hell.  I had heard about a place called hell and I did not want to go there.  

So I prayed inwardly to a God I did not know to please preserve me.   Thankfully we made it safely to our destination!   But there was still the return trip a couple of weeks later. In that same tractionless van on the same icy highway I prayed again to the unknown God that I would make it to my destination.  To my relief we arrived safely again.

Sometime later I was offered a tour of the university campus boiler plant.  We could see into the fire box through a little glass window.  The boiler burned coal which was constantly being thrown into the furnace creating flying sparks of burning, white hot material.  The fire was churning, flaming, roiling, full of fire but empty of any other thing.  What a fearful sight!  If this was what hell was like I surely did not want to end up there!   Again I offered a prayer to the God I did not know to save me from such a place.

Soon afterwards came registration day for the spring semester.  After registering for classes, while walking home to my dorm, I passed a row of tables where campus clubs were handing out materials.  I let them drop items into my bag.  That night I opened my bag and found a small tract titled “In Him is Life”.  I read through it to the end where a verse from the Bible was written:  “…The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart,” that is, the word of faith which we proclaim, that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart the is believing unto righteousness, and with the mouth there is confession unto salvation….For “whoever calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”  Romans 10:8-10,13

“whoever calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”  

Romans 10:8-10,13

I read that verse over and over until I suddenly realized that if God had raised Jesus from the dead 2,000 years ago, that means He was still living right now!  And somehow I knew that was true!  It explained why I had the urge to pray to a God I did not know.  I then realized I had fulfilled step one – I believed! Now I needed to complete step two – speak the name of Jesus, calling Him “Lord”.  So I opened my mouth and called out His name “Lord Jesus, Lord Jesus!”  I felt as if a heavy lead hat had been lifted off my head!  I was ecstatic, happy, as if walking on air.  I knew that I had been saved!   No more fear of hell, no more fear of sliding off icy highways, no more visions of a lake burning with fire and brimstone.   God accepted me and I had received Him.  I was born again!

TWO SIMPLE STEPS

Dear reader, you may have heard that God is a God of love.  And that He is!  He desires that all men be saved.  He loved us so much that He gave His only Son to die on our behalf, to suffer God’s wrath on our behalf.  God’s Son Jesus suffered on our behalf so we do not have to suffer nor be cast into that lake of hellish fire.  That fiery, terrible place does not need to be your eternal destiny.  You simply need to open, receive and accept the work that Jesus accomplished on the cross for you.   Just follow these two simple steps: 1) open your heart to believe that God has raised Jesus from the dead (that He is living now to save you) and 2) open your mouth to confess his name “Lord Jesus!”.   Now, please pray this prayer:   

“Lord Jesus, I open to you.  I thank you that you love me and died for me.  I do not want to spend eternity in a fiery hell.  I accept  the work you did for me on the cross by taking the punishment that I deserved.   I believe you are resurrected and are living now to enter into me.  I confess you are the Lord, my Lord.  Lord Jesus, I open to you!  Save me!  Fill me!   

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