Question:When is one save? Is he save after he confesses that Jesus is the son of God? Or is he save after he is baptized? What saves Him? And are there supporting Bible verses for such questions?
Since, "The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance" (II Peter 3:9), it would be sensible to understand that in order to get people saved, God would tell them what they need to do.
We also need to understand that a partial answer to the question won't be an honest answer. "The entirety of Your word is truth, and every one of Your righteous judgments endures forever" (Psalm 119:160). Falsehood can be spread though outright contradictions to God's teaching and by only teaching a part of what God has said.
When you ask how to be saved, it is important to understand what you are being saved from. In announcing the birth of the Messiah, Joseph was told, "And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins" (Matthew 1:21). Therein is the core problem: People have mired themselves in sins from which they cannot get away without help.
God tells us a number of things all come together to bring about the salvation of people.
Who Gives Salvation
- God, the Father: It is God who wants us saved, and it is God who works toward our salvation.
"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" (Titus 3:4-5).
"For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Romans 6:23).
- Jesus Christ: It was the Son of God, Jesus, who took action to bring about a means by which we might be saved.
"This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief" (I Timothy 1:15).
"Though He was a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered. And having been perfected, He became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him" (Hebrews 5:8-9).
"For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost" (Luke 19:10).
- The Holy Spirit: This effort would be for naught if people did not know what happened. It is through the efforts of the Holy Spirit that the message of salvation was brought to the dying world. Through His words we are promised salvation.
"Nevertheless I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you. And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment" (John 16:7-8).
"However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come. He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you" (John 16:13-14).
"And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God" (Ephesians 6:17).
"In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory" (Ephesians 1:13-14)
The Motivation for Giving Salvation
- Grace: God gives salvation freely, not because it is owed or earned but because God gifts it to men.
"For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast" (Ephesians 2:8-9).
"For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men" (Titus 2:11).
- Love: God gives salvation because He loves His people.
"For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life" (John 3:16).
- Mercy: God's mercy balances His justice. He can give us less than what we deserve because of His great mercy.
"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" (Titus 3:5).
The Means by Which Salvation is Extended
- The Life of Christ:
"For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life" (Romans 5:10).
- The Death of Christ on the Cross:
"But God forbid that I should boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world" (Galatians 6:14).
- The Blood of Christ Shed on the Cross:
"Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him" (Romans 5:9).
"In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace" (Ephesians 1:7).
- The Authority of Christ (His Name):
"And truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name" (John 20:30-31).
"Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved" (Acts 4:12).
- The Message of Christ (the Gospel):
"For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek" (Romans 1:16).
"For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God" (I Corinthians 1:18).
- The Accuracy of the Message (the Truth):
"Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, "If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free"" (John 8:31-32).
"... because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved" (II Thessalonians 2:10).
- The Messengers of the Gospel (Preachers):
"For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through wisdom did not know God, it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe" (I Corinthians 1:21).
"to which He called you by our gospel, for the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ" (II Thessalonians 2:14).
How to Respond to the Offer of Salvation
- Hear: The message of the Gospel cannot save a person if he refuses to listen to the message.
"How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach unless they are sent? As it is written: "How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, Who bring glad tidings of good things!" But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, "Lord, who has believed our report?" So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God" (Romans 10:14-17).
- Faith: The message heard does a person no good if he doesn't believe it.
"Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for if you do not believe that I am He, you will die in your sins" (John 8:24).
"Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God" (Romans 5:1-2).
- Call on His Name (Christ's Authority): Faith doesn't do anyone any good if it doesn't motivate a person to want to accept Jesus' authority over his life.
"For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him. For "whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved"" (Romans 10:12-13).
- Repentance: You can't claim to accept Christ's authority over your life if you don't change your life to conform to His will.
"Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord" (Acts 3:19).
"For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death. For observe this very thing, that you sorrowed in a godly manner: What diligence it produced in you, what clearing of yourselves, what indignation, what fear, what vehement desire, what zeal, what vindication! In all things you proved yourselves to be clear in this matter" (II Corinthians 7:10-11).
- Confession: A claimed belief is not real if you aren't willing to admit that you have it.
"Therefore whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven. But whoever denies Me before men, him I will also deny before My Father who is in heaven" (Matthew 10:32-33).
"But what does it say? "The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart" (that is, the word of faith which we preach): that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation" (Romans 10:8-10).
- Be Baptized: God selected a simply method by which we demonstrate and declare our acceptance of His offer of salvation -- immersion in water. It is a physical act that symbolically represents what salvation is all about.
"Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin. For he who has died has been freed from sin" (Romans 6:3-7).
"He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned" (Mark 16:16).
"Then Peter said to them, "Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit"" (Acts 2:38).
"Can anyone forbid water, that these should not be baptized who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?" And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord" (Acts 10:47-48).
"And now why are you waiting? Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord" (Acts 22:16).
"Corresponding to that, baptism now saves you--not the removal of dirt from the flesh, but an appeal to God for a good conscience--through the resurrection of Jesus Christ" (I Peter 3:21).
- Hope: If we didn't expect God to save us, why would we bother to do His Will?
"For we were saved in this hope, but hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one still hope for what he sees?" (Romans 8:24).
- Obedience: It would be meaningless to accept Christ's authority over our life if we refused to do what he commands of us.
"And having been perfected, He became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him" (Hebrews 5:9).
- Works: Not man-created works, but doing the works of God. Obedience doesn't exist if no effort is put into doing what God commands of us.
"For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them" (Ephesians 2:10).
"But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead? Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered Isaac his son on the altar? Do you see that faith was working together with his works, and by works faith was made perfect? And the Scripture was fulfilled which says, "Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness." And he was called the friend of God. You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only. Likewise, was not Rahab the harlot also justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out another way? For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also" (James 2:20-26).
Who Must Respond to the Offer of Salvation?
- Yourself: No one can respond to God's offer on your behalf. You must choose to accept God's offer.
"And with many other words he testified and exhorted them, saying, "Be saved from this perverse generation." Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them" (Acts 2:40-41).
"Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling" (Philippians 2:12).
Can Any be Left Out?
Which of these can be left out and a person be expected to be saved? Can a person be taught they are saved by grace alone without mentioning the involvement of any of the other in their salvation? Would you contradict James 2:24 and declare that salvation is by faith alone and leave out any of the other things connect with salvation?
A person is saved when he has done the whole of what God commands is necessary for salvation.