What Must I Do To Be Saved?

Another question came up over the weekend, which I think falls into this week’s theme, or so it appears.

I’ve only recently heard of Lifestream. I spent a great deal of time reading through your website
(which is very well done) just trying to learn what Lifestream is about, your passion, mission, goals, etc. Obviously the most important question in life is “how do I go to heaven?” Many ministries (and I’m not trying to classify you with “many ministries”) address such a question on their
websites. Since I didn’t encounter such information on yours, I thought I’d just ask you directly.

Actually, I don’t think “How do I get to heaven?” is the most important question. This is where I think we’ve been robbed. Jesus didn’t come just to save us to heaven… He came to rescue us out of sin and lead us into a relationship with his Father through him in the power of the Holy Spirit.

Yes, the outcome of that relationship will affect our destiny, whether we end up in heave or hell, but the primary purpose of salvation is to lead us into relationship with him. I think that is very important. If not, then we’ve got to sort out the right ‘techniques’ for salvation between sinner’s prayer, baptism, confession, etc., when the reality of these things is not in any outward act, but in the heart itself. One can go through the motions and really not surrender their lives to the living God.

Thus the proof isn’t in what steps we’ve been through, but whether those steps have actually brought us into relationship with the Living God. Do we know him and are we finding how we can live in him and be transformed by his life and power. Yes that involves repentance at a heart-level and it involves God making himself known to us and filling our lives with is presence. Peter in Acts told the crowd to repent of their sins and be baptized and they would receive the promise of the Spirit. That’s pretty good for me. I encourage people to explore who God is. When they are convinced he exists, they can surrender to him in prayer and confession and in the obedience of baptism. At that point I pray with them to be filled with the Spirit’s life and power.

If it’s all real, they begin a relationship with the Living God that will transform them. Yes, they will probably need some further help learning how to walk in a new relationship with the Lord of Glory, so I don’t mind taking that time with them. If something doesn’t awaken in them to God’s reality, we might do a bit more seeking and praying to make sure something is really happening in the heart, and not just that someone is looking for a get-out-of-hell-free card. Jesus’ invitation to salvation was to come back into right relationship with God through his work on their behalf.

Does that help? That’s about as clear as I can be in a brief email.

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26 Comments
  1. Greg March 17, 2005 at 8:52 am

    Wayne, I couldn’t agree more. I have been through several different ways of thinking on the whole "point of salvation" thing, and have finally realized, there is no point. (Point in time of course, not point as in meaning or reason!) 🙂

    The Bible does not emphasize a black and white point A to point B transition that *we* make that puts us in right relationship with God. It is a lifetime walk with him. He wants relationship with us, not a completion of the proper steps. We miss so much when we make it about lines we need to cross or not cross, and lose focus of the full life of living in communion with God, here, now and forever.

    One verse that I believe states this quite clearly is John 17:3 where Jesus says, "And this is the way to have eternal life–to know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, the one you sent to earth." (NLT) Jesus said the way to HAVE eternal life is to know him. Which is done through daily, all-the-time, normal life living with him.

    I think. 🙂

  2. andrew in vegas March 17, 2005 at 9:34 am

    >From a former Southern Baptist – a resounding Amen!!!

    This is one of the topics that I have been struggling with since I found this new walk: How do I go about sharing Father without using the sinner’s prayer of which I no longer believe in. Thank you for sharing that. I felt I was right about getting them to contemplate the Father, how they relate to Him and let Him develop a passion in their souls for the Father prior to beating them over the head with prayers, pamphlets and books. This walk is too big to package it into a 30 minute sermon, a walk up the aisle to “Just as I am”, followed by a confusing prayer and a bath.

    Thanks again Wayne for showing me how much my Daddy loves me.

    Andrew in Vegas

  3. Phil March 17, 2005 at 11:16 am

    Much as your questioner, I too have explored your website lots, read some books and listened to tapes – learned much – appreciate your writing and communication skills a whole bunch. His question and your response finally prodded me to pose an issue to you that has been incubating in the back of my mind.

    I want to link this post with a post with a quote from a Japanese Christian (February 8 – Finding Unity in Father’s Family). Remember, he talked about the true center of Christianity? “… this center is spiritual fellowship with God through Christ …” And in this post you say, “Jesus … came to rescue us out of sin and lead us into relationship with the Father through Him by the power of the Holy Spirit.” I have no problems with what either of you are saying. I am puzzling over what both of you say about relationship. It is the focus of your website, writings and teachings and the Japanese writer said it was the centre of Christianity.

    I don’t know if I am asking the right question(s) or whether I can articulate the proper question, yet. But this post seemed a good time to ask this paragraph of questions that I attempting to come to grips with.

    As far as God is concerned, is this relationship the end (or goal) or is it a means to an end He has? That is, is this salvation all about coming into relationship with God as an end in itself – with the benefits, as such as, being transformed into godly people here on earth, receiving power to overcome sin and spending eternity in his presence being part of the package (but these things in and of themselves are not the end) or is God working through relationship toward something more than you have stated? What is His centre (to borrow the metaphor of our Japanese brother)? What is His end-game? Where is all this relationship heading or is it just about relationship? Where is all the universe heading in the final analysis? Why should relationship as you and Kurosaki describe it be our centre and not something or someone else?

    Do you have an article(s) posted on Lifestream that address this?

  4. Greg March 17, 2005 at 11:52 am

    Wayne, I couldn’t agree more. I have been through several different ways of thinking on the whole "point of salvation" thing, and have finally realized, there is no point. (Point in time of course, not point as in meaning or reason!) 🙂

    The Bible does not emphasize a black and white point A to point B transition that *we* make that puts us in right relationship with God. It is a lifetime walk with him. He wants relationship with us, not a completion of the proper steps. We miss so much when we make it about lines we need to cross or not cross, and lose focus of the full life of living in communion with God, here, now and forever.

    One verse that I believe states this quite clearly is John 17:3 where Jesus says, "And this is the way to have eternal life–to know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, the one you sent to earth." (NLT) Jesus said the way to HAVE eternal life is to know him. Which is done through daily, all-the-time, normal life living with him.

    I think. 🙂

  5. andrew in vegas March 17, 2005 at 12:34 pm

    >From a former Southern Baptist – a resounding Amen!!!

    This is one of the topics that I have been struggling with since I found this new walk: How do I go about sharing Father without using the sinner’s prayer of which I no longer believe in. Thank you for sharing that. I felt I was right about getting them to contemplate the Father, how they relate to Him and let Him develop a passion in their souls for the Father prior to beating them over the head with prayers, pamphlets and books. This walk is too big to package it into a 30 minute sermon, a walk up the aisle to “Just as I am”, followed by a confusing prayer and a bath.

    Thanks again Wayne for showing me how much my Daddy loves me.

    Andrew in Vegas

  6. J March 17, 2005 at 1:10 pm

    As far as being Saved, a friend of mine shared his thoughts and I felt that they were very interesting and correct. He stated that when someone asks you if you are saved, you cannot be truthful to them our yourself and tell them that you are 100% sure that you are. If you do say that, that would make you the judge and only Jesus is the real judge as far as the sincerity of a person’s heart. However, he did say that a person can say that they are sure or quite sure, or have the highest expectation that they are saved. I hope this adds to the discussion.

    –J

  7. Phil March 17, 2005 at 2:16 pm

    Much as your questioner, I too have explored your website lots, read some books and listened to tapes – learned much – appreciate your writing and communication skills a whole bunch. His question and your response finally prodded me to pose an issue to you that has been incubating in the back of my mind.

    I want to link this post with a post with a quote from a Japanese Christian (February 8 – Finding Unity in Father’s Family). Remember, he talked about the true center of Christianity? “… this center is spiritual fellowship with God through Christ …” And in this post you say, “Jesus … came to rescue us out of sin and lead us into relationship with the Father through Him by the power of the Holy Spirit.” I have no problems with what either of you are saying. I am puzzling over what both of you say about relationship. It is the focus of your website, writings and teachings and the Japanese writer said it was the centre of Christianity.

    I don’t know if I am asking the right question(s) or whether I can articulate the proper question, yet. But this post seemed a good time to ask this paragraph of questions that I attempting to come to grips with.

    As far as God is concerned, is this relationship the end (or goal) or is it a means to an end He has? That is, is this salvation all about coming into relationship with God as an end in itself – with the benefits, as such as, being transformed into godly people here on earth, receiving power to overcome sin and spending eternity in his presence being part of the package (but these things in and of themselves are not the end) or is God working through relationship toward something more than you have stated? What is His centre (to borrow the metaphor of our Japanese brother)? What is His end-game? Where is all this relationship heading or is it just about relationship? Where is all the universe heading in the final analysis? Why should relationship as you and Kurosaki describe it be our centre and not something or someone else?

    Do you have an article(s) posted on Lifestream that address this?

  8. J March 17, 2005 at 4:10 pm

    As far as being Saved, a friend of mine shared his thoughts and I felt that they were very interesting and correct. He stated that when someone asks you if you are saved, you cannot be truthful to them our yourself and tell them that you are 100% sure that you are. If you do say that, that would make you the judge and only Jesus is the real judge as far as the sincerity of a person’s heart. However, he did say that a person can say that they are sure or quite sure, or have the highest expectation that they are saved. I hope this adds to the discussion.

    –J

  9. Jim at FishinPals March 18, 2005 at 4:46 am

    You couldn’t be more Biblical than that. It’s all about relationship and relationship does have its benifits.

    Keep up your good work.

  10. Stuart March 18, 2005 at 6:10 am

    Great stuff,

    Ultimately- "The Lord is my ligtht and my salvation" yes, he gives me light from day to day. yes, he saves me from day to day but as he said to Abraham "I am your shield and your excedingly great reward"

  11. Jim at FishinPals March 18, 2005 at 7:46 am

    You couldn’t be more Biblical than that. It’s all about relationship and relationship does have its benifits.

    Keep up your good work.

  12. Tim March 18, 2005 at 8:55 am

    Phil,

    You have asked some excellent questions that demand answers from each of us.

  13. Stuart March 18, 2005 at 9:10 am

    Great stuff,

    Ultimately- "The Lord is my ligtht and my salvation" yes, he gives me light from day to day. yes, he saves me from day to day but as he said to Abraham "I am your shield and your excedingly great reward"

  14. Diane March 18, 2005 at 11:02 am

    I have long grappled with what is the content of biblical repentance. I have not found "of … sins" following any use of repent in Acts. Why do you think that is and is it important?

  15. Tim March 18, 2005 at 11:55 am

    Phil,

    You have asked some excellent questions that demand answers from each of us.

  16. Diane March 18, 2005 at 2:02 pm

    I have long grappled with what is the content of biblical repentance. I have not found "of … sins" following any use of repent in Acts. Why do you think that is and is it important?

  17. Loraine March 18, 2005 at 3:23 pm

    Wayne, You are certainly addressing things I have given a lot of thought to lately. I seem to be meeting more and more ‘Christians’ who have been though the sinner’s prayer, etc but don’t appear to have a real relationship with Jesus. At the same time I have opportunities to speak with people who have not been through the sinner’s prayer etc and don’t want to have anything to do with the ‘Christians’ but whose hearts are soft towards God and I wonder what to tell them. One lady asked me if I believed that people who weren’t saved went to hell.Someone had offended her with that statement.

    Loraine

  18. Loraine March 18, 2005 at 6:23 pm

    Wayne, You are certainly addressing things I have given a lot of thought to lately. I seem to be meeting more and more ‘Christians’ who have been though the sinner’s prayer, etc but don’t appear to have a real relationship with Jesus. At the same time I have opportunities to speak with people who have not been through the sinner’s prayer etc and don’t want to have anything to do with the ‘Christians’ but whose hearts are soft towards God and I wonder what to tell them. One lady asked me if I believed that people who weren’t saved went to hell.Someone had offended her with that statement.

    Loraine

  19. Steve March 19, 2005 at 9:33 am

    Is the concept of being saved misunderstood when we think of it as avoiding hell? Recently I have believed that Jesus literally fulfilled all the feasts including the Tabernacles & Jubilee signifying that the entire harvest has already been reaped and full redemption has already been purchased….by Him, the savior of the world for all of the world with this wonderful redemption only remaining to be fully redeemed in time. When we think of Father’s effort for salvation as being less powerful or less effective than the sin of Adam that caused it to be neccessary are we still failing to know this wonderful God as He really is. Is the repentance that Diane is wrestling with simply changing our mind about God and not seeing Him as One who will judge, but rather One who already has….at the cross….for us all.

  20. Steve March 19, 2005 at 12:33 pm

    Is the concept of being saved misunderstood when we think of it as avoiding hell? Recently I have believed that Jesus literally fulfilled all the feasts including the Tabernacles & Jubilee signifying that the entire harvest has already been reaped and full redemption has already been purchased….by Him, the savior of the world for all of the world with this wonderful redemption only remaining to be fully redeemed in time. When we think of Father’s effort for salvation as being less powerful or less effective than the sin of Adam that caused it to be neccessary are we still failing to know this wonderful God as He really is. Is the repentance that Diane is wrestling with simply changing our mind about God and not seeing Him as One who will judge, but rather One who already has….at the cross….for us all.

  21. Diane March 21, 2005 at 7:01 am

    Steve, my current understanding is pretty close to what yours appears to be. Changing my mind about God has included receiving the promise of the resurrection where we will inherit all and so are free of having to fight for anything except our sure hope in the resurrection and free to give help to all who are suffering to comfort them and so they can know they are loved and not abandoned by God.

  22. Diane March 21, 2005 at 10:01 am

    Steve, my current understanding is pretty close to what yours appears to be. Changing my mind about God has included receiving the promise of the resurrection where we will inherit all and so are free of having to fight for anything except our sure hope in the resurrection and free to give help to all who are suffering to comfort them and so they can know they are loved and not abandoned by God.

  23. Rose Mary March 26, 2005 at 1:52 pm

    I agree with your comments Steve. We do seek after a lifelong relationship with our Lord. But that relationship must have a beginning, a foundation. And that foundation starts with our response to the Good News. Why should we have a relationship with Christ? What is in it for me/us? Why should we seek Him? And salvation is not about what "we must do" but it is all about what He has already done (obtained forgiveness for us) and what He will do (birth us of His Spirit if we believe His claims). So His Good News is: Christ so loved all of us that He died on the cross for us and obtained forgiveness for all. And He has said that He will give His Spirit to those who ask Him. How can we know that we are saved? Ask Him!! His Spirit will witness to your spirit that you are His child. And then enjoy the ride! He will see you safely home.

  24. Rose Mary March 26, 2005 at 4:52 pm

    I agree with your comments Steve. We do seek after a lifelong relationship with our Lord. But that relationship must have a beginning, a foundation. And that foundation starts with our response to the Good News. Why should we have a relationship with Christ? What is in it for me/us? Why should we seek Him? And salvation is not about what "we must do" but it is all about what He has already done (obtained forgiveness for us) and what He will do (birth us of His Spirit if we believe His claims). So His Good News is: Christ so loved all of us that He died on the cross for us and obtained forgiveness for all. And He has said that He will give His Spirit to those who ask Him. How can we know that we are saved? Ask Him!! His Spirit will witness to your spirit that you are His child. And then enjoy the ride! He will see you safely home.

  25. Laura March 27, 2005 at 7:47 pm

    Wayne,

    This was very timley as a small group I meet with has been pondeing this question. We don’t want to be found in the group who were told, "away from me, I never knew you" even thought they had healed the sick and raised the dead. It’s really all about realtionship, isn’t it. And the part I love is that that REALationship dosen’t have to wait until the beginning of eternity, it can begin in heaven here on earth today!

  26. Laura March 27, 2005 at 10:47 pm

    Wayne,

    This was very timley as a small group I meet with has been pondeing this question. We don’t want to be found in the group who were told, "away from me, I never knew you" even thought they had healed the sick and raised the dead. It’s really all about realtionship, isn’t it. And the part I love is that that REALationship dosen’t have to wait until the beginning of eternity, it can begin in heaven here on earth today!

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