“…that they should repent and turn to God, performing deeds in keeping with their repentance.” Acts 26:20 ESV
If you believe salvation, or being saved from God’s wrath, death, hell, and the lake of fire, and being promised God’s love, grace, forgiveness, mercy, a relationship with Him now and forever in heaven, is as simple, quick, and easy as saying a prayer, confessing your sins, asking Jesus into your heart, being baptized one pretty Sunday morning, going to church, reading your Bible, and calling yourself a Christian, or something like it, you are being deceived. You may even be deceiving others by telling them the same. You may well be on the highway to hell and the lake of fire, to live in perpetual torment eternally apart from God. How so, you wonder?
The apostle Paul in the verse above makes clear salvation and the promise of eternal life is for those who REPENT, TURN TO GOD, and DEMONSTRATE THEIR FAITH with FRUITS of transformed hearts and lives. In other words, for those who come to God in true sorrow over their sins against Him, with a commitment to turn away from their sins and the ways of this world, willing to leave the lifestyle they have known and practiced behind, to no longer serve themselves, sin, and the devil, to place their trust in Jesus Christ as Lord who died on the cross to pay the penalty for their sins, and to turn to God and the Bible to begin a brand new way of life. God’s way. God’s will. God’s Word. For God’s glory. By God’s Spirit. How is this demonstrated? The life of a truly saved person is one of a person who has been saved, is being saved, and will be saved for he or she who endures until the end (Mark 13:13) following the Lord Jesus Christ. Living for Him. It’s a lifestyle. A way of life. It’s ongoing. The fruits are what we bear, what we produce, when we live for God with hearts turned to Him and lives dedicated to Him!
Everywhere I go, I meet people who are deceived. Just like I was. For years. Believing salvation is for those who say the right words and do some good stuff. Not so! Salvation is not a one-time experience. It’s a lifestyle of being continually sanctified. Of being set apart by God for God through faith in Christ and a commitment to Him, of being purified as we yield our lives to Christ and give up, or forsake, our old way of living. Of forsaking all for Christ! The life of one who is saved and being saved and who will be saved is one of whom is devoted to Christ above all.
If you have been deceived, and have deceived others, be deceived no more! If your life looks like it always did and has, if only the outside has changed by which you call yourself a Christian, you must be born again (John 3:3)! Born anew! Spiritually! By repenting and believing in Christ as Lord! By giving your heart and life not once, but continually, to Him!