Everybody loves "10 easy steps". After all, most Christians use the Bible as a "Self-help book", which it is not.
With that out of the way, I need to take a few moments to PROVE IT to you.
About 15 times a week (at least) I get the honor of getting to speak to a "Lost Christian". I say "lost", because they say that they're depending on Christ for their Salvation, but they never, Ever, EVER learned the rest of the story and most times they don't even want to hear about it.
There are literally 1,000's of Ministers out there, keeping Christians in bondage, by making them believe that they have to continually, day after day, week after week, year after year, EARN their Salvation. This does two things, it keeps you coming back to their church to find out how to keep earning it and second, it keeps the money flowing in, because after all, it's your DUTY to continually give your tithe to the church.
Now remember, I don't INTERPRET Scripture, I read from it as if it were a "children's book"! God always says what He means and means what He says, so let's be like a Berean and make sure that I haven't lost my mind.
The key to understanding your Salvation, is to understand GRACE. If you don't understand GRACE, you will never understand a multitude of things from Gods Word.
I once heard a preacher say these words, and they really hit home. Not because they tickled my ears, but because the truth in them was so simple and so beautifully easy to remember, "Mercy is not getting what you DO deserve and Grace is getting what you DON'T". And the cool part about that, is you don't even need your Bible to understand that. Now that you understand what GRACE is, allow me to help paint the picture for you, as to WHY you can't EARN your Salvation.
Without a doubt, Paul is definitely one of Gods most Blessed children. God made him responsible for more than HALF of the New Testament writings.
Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians 6:1-2 - We then, as workers together with Him also plead with you not to receive the grace of God in vain. For He says: " In an acceptable time I have heard you, And in the day of salvation I have helped you." Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.
First of all, the beginning of 2 Corinthians 6 is a continuation of Chapter 5. So don't misread "as workers together with Him" as some kind of proof that you need to do "works". Chapter 5 ends with how we are "Ambassadors for Christ". But what Paul is saying in those two verses, is this... "You accept the grace of God in vain, because you just accept it at face value and don't understand what it really means."
As most of you are aware, I use the NKJV translation of the Bible, because I have found it to be the most clear and the most complete of all the English translations of the Bible. There are times however, where other translations can offer you some additional insight. For example, the ESV (which in not on my list of favorite translations) , instead of saying "In an acceptable time", uses the words "In the time of my favor". I have often heard GRACE described as "undeserved favor". It's a FREE GIFT from God. (Ephesians 2:8-9) We have not earned His favor, nor have we done anything to deserve it. In fact, according to the Bible, we've ALL fallen way short of the favor of God.
Romans 3:22-24 (GW) - There is no difference between people. Because all people have sinned, they have fallen short of God's glory. They receive God's approval freely by an act of his kindness [grace] through the price Christ Jesus paid to set us free [from sin].
So if something is "TRULY FREE", that means that it costs NOTHING. That right there is the heart and soul of understanding Grace and Salvation. Either it's the "free gift" that Paul tells us it is in Romans 5:15,16,18 or God is a liar. Think about it... God did everything in His awesome power to ensure that His Word would survive for thousands of years, so why would you believe anything that anyone else told you, that doesn't MATCH His own Words?
Another example I can use to PROVE that you can't EARN your Salvation, is this wonderfully simple verse from Romans 4:4 - Now to him who works, the wages are not counted as grace but as debt. Allow me to reword that, "If you do works to try and earn your Salvation, you are not paid with God's Grace unto Salvation, you are instead making God OWE YOU". God would only OWE us if we were in a works based system... As we ARE NOT, then works do not in fact make God owe us. No action taken by man will ever make God indebted to our cause or make our reward EARNED. (See Romans 11:6) Don't believe me? Then go ahead and read that verse again.
God has literally gone out of His way to get everyone on this miserable planet saved. From the Garden of Eden to the Cross, He never once stopped trying to help us to become "Holy as He is Holy" (1 Peter 1:16). How much more could God possibly love us, than He already does?
Titus 3:4-7 - But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior, that having been justified by His grace we should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.
I could go on and on and on and on and on (and on), showing you verse after verse of SOLID PROOF, but in the end, you have two choices. You can either believe the preachers who fed you poisoned grass or you can believe the Word of God, who feeds you the "bread of life" (John 6:35).
Addition: After writing this, it occurred to me that I left one huge component out. About 90% of my teachings are designed for "babes in Christ", but sometimes I blur the lines between babes and small children. I believe that it's really important for me to point out that GRACE is not a license to sin.
Paul says several things on this, but it's important that I paint this out for you, so that you understand clearly.
Paul is just beginning to explain GRACE to us here:
Romans 6:1-2 - What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Certainly not!...
Paul is trying to make it clear to you that you are no longer under the law at all:
Romans 6:14 - For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace.
Now Paul needs to explain what he just said, so that you wouldn't be confused:
Romans 6:15 - What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? Certainly not!
Now Paul drives home his point, regarding our freedom from sin (Grace):
Romans 6:22 - But now having been set free from sin, and having become slaves of God, you have your fruit to holiness, and the end, everlasting life.
And finally, the culmination of both your freedom and your free gift:
Romans 6:23 - For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
I can't stress this enough, so many of you have been brain-washed into thinking that you have to "act" a certain way, think a certain way, do things in a certain way. And so much so, that you spend more time worrying about your flesh (which is supposed to be dead) than you do exercising your freedom in Christ. For an awesome teaching on this subject, click HERE and listen in to this most excellent message.
The other thing (thank you Pastor Beau for your research), I mention in almost every single show, "There are more than 38,000 Christian Denominations in the world. Each of them is their own Religion". Well there are many denominations that teach you can lose your Salvation. Does that make them right? NO! How can "man's opinions or interpretations of God's Word be more important than God's actual Word? It can't be! For those of you wondering, here are just a few of the major-denominations that teach that you can lose it:
Assembly of God - False tongue speaking religion.
Lutheran - Teaches you must "persist in the faith". (This contradicts John 18:9)
Roman Catholic - Teaches "final perseverance is a gift from God, but man must cooperate with the gift". (This is a contradiction with Ephesians 2:8-9)
Methodist - Teaches that you can "end up losing the salvation that God has begun in us". (Again, contradicts John 18:9)
See, this is what I mean by "Be like a Berean" (Acts 17:10-11). It's only when you place what you are told up against Scripture, that lies, deceit and just plain misunderstood language can come to light. God does not wish for you to be mislead, so He's warned you to watch out! (Matthew 7:15, Matthew 10:16)
As many of you know, we just recently recorded the finale for our "Basic Discipleship Series" and we're currently on hiatus. In a couple of weeks we'll be doing a special on SALVATION. If you'd like to make sure that you're notified, please go to the website @ http://www.butisitbiblical.com and drop us a note and we'll be sure to notify you, so you can listen in live or even call in with questions!
Like I said, I don't need for you to believe me, I do need for you to believe God. Please be like a Berean and look this stuff up for yourself. There's no Greek or Hebrew required, just make sure that you're being lead by the Holy Spirit and also, make sure you take notice of how many times the words "Grace" and "Mercy" are being used in these verses.
2 Chronicles 25:9 - Then Amaziah said to the man of God, "But what shall we do about the hundred talents which I have given to the troops of Israel?" And the man of God answered, "The LORD is able to give you much more than this."