Jesus made it clear that there is no alternative route to eternal life with God. He said, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but by me" (John 14:6). No matter how many routes other religions claim are available, Jesus declared that there is only one way - salvation through His shed blood.
Salvation is a free gift. There is no age-limit nor sexual preference, no intelligence standards nor financial requirements; it can't be bought nor earned; and it is not guaranteed by church attendance any more than hanging around a garage guarantees that a person will buy a car.
So how does one become adopted by God? It really is very simple, and can happen in a variety of ways such as:
1) When praying alone.
2) Praying with another person who will give encouragement and support.
3) By responding to what is called an "altar call," where an individual walks to the front of a church during a service and prays publicly to invite Jesus Christ to be his/her personal Saviour and Lord.
Although there is no set formula for the salvation or sinner's prayer, it usually goes something like this:
"Jesus, please forgive me for any sin or wrong that I have done. Please come into my life and into my heart, Amen."
Untold numbers of people have received salvation through the centuries without ever having gone on with God. It's as though they were all given beautiful cars but never went to get gas to put in them. Although they saw others driving around, able to go wonderful places, they themselves either didn't feel worthy to have fuel, were perhaps too lazy to go and get any, or simply didn't know how to find it.
It's one thing to have a beautiful car sitting in the driveway. It's quite another thing to get into that car, smell the rich, supple leather, gaze with pride at the streamlined design of the dashboard, turn the key, hear the powerful engine throb under the shiny hood, and drive off toward a determined destination. Without the fuel to give the car power, however, it can't function as it was designed to function.
Such is it with salvation, we need the power of the Holy Spirit to guide and help us carry out the plan that God has for our lives. The Holy Spirit fuels us like gas in a car, He gives us the ability to carry out God's plan; and the boldness and courage we need to witness and share the gospel with others. That is the reason why Jesus said, "But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria and to the ends of the earth" (Acts 1:8).
There are those who, seeing the supernatural manifestations of power working through Spirit-filled believers, would like to have the power of the Holy spirit without first being born again.
However, receiving the gift of the Holy Spirit is conditional upon first receiving forgiveness of one's sins through the gift of salvation. It is an essential part of the Salvation package which can either be received all at once upon believing; or at a later date with prayer and the laying on of hands by another spirit filled believer.
Often referred to as the great commission, Jesus appeared to the eleven disciples (after he was taken up in Heaven), and "He rebuked them for their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they had not believed those who saw him after he had risen. And he said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation. Whoever believes and is baptized (with the Holy Spirit) will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned" (Mark 16:14-16)
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