Salvation is NOT a Religion
The question comes up so frequently that it almost become mundane. "How can I find the truth about eternal life with so many 'religions' out there?" The answer to that question is one that has to be examined not from the area of religion but from the Bible. Religion is man's attempt to reach God. When you trust in a religion to give you eternal life you are attempting to attain it yourself based on your own good works.
The truth from God's Word is that eternal life is a gift. It's the gift of "salvation". "But what is salvation?" Well, let's look first at what salvation is not. Salvation is not the same thing as "religion."
Did you know that God hates religion?
That's right - when you have a girlfriend or boyfriend (or you get married), do you want a "religious experience" with that person, or do you want a relationship with them? You want a relationship, of course! The same holds true with God. He just wants a one-on-one relationship with you, like you would have with a friend. The difference is, there's no way to "earn" this gift of a relationship with God, because it's free. In fact, the Bible says that it is
"For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast."
(Ephesians 2:8, 9) Do you remember when you were younger? At Christmas when your mom or dad gave you Christmas gifts, did you have to pay for them? Of course not. The same holds true with God. Salvation is a gift from God.
But what if you're already a "good person"?
Maybe you already believe in God, haven't killed anyone, and all that? Why should you care about salvation?
First of all, there's no such thing as a "good person." God says in Romans 3:23 that
"For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God."
We are all separated from God by sin - until we ask Jesus into our hearts.
Secondly, it isn't enough to just believe there is a God. Jesus said that unless you are
you cannot see the kingdom of God (John 3:3). Being
means more than just believing that Jesus Christ/God exists - it means asking Jesus into your heart by faith and totally relying on what He did on the cross for you. He has forgiven all of your sins.
So you think that you've done some "horrible" things?
You're a "bad person"? You might be thinking that there's no way God could forgive you. The truth is, Jesus says in John 6:37 that anyone who comes to Him will not be cast out!
"All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out."
Remember that if you could save yourself (by being "good," or becoming a church member, or even by being baptized), there would have been no point in Jesus dying on the cross. He died because there is no way you can save yourself.
"So what now?"
To receive God's free gift of salvation, you just need to ask Him for it. Pray this prayer - based on Romans 10:9,10 in the Bible:
Jesus, I confess that I need You. My own works are not good enough. I have sinned, and I need to receive this free gift. I confess you as Lord, and believe in my heart that God raised you from the dead. Lord Jesus, fill me with your Holy Spirit; guide me to a Bible-believing church; and help me to read your Word. Thank you for dying for me.
You are now a born again Christian.
Remember, you're not "religious." Instead, you have a personal, one-on-one relationship with God. You can think of God the Father as your "Father" now. Think of God the Son (Jesus) as your Lord and Savior - as your "best friend." Think of God the Spirit (the Holy Spirit) as the Spirit of God that lives in you. Think about it - God actually lives inside of you now!
If anyone ever comes to you and asks if you're sure that you're going to Heaven, you can say "yes," because of what Jesus did on the cross! Think about this verse from the Bible, found in 2 Corinthians 5:17.
"Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. "
Now you can live not by how you "feel," but by who God says you are. God says you are now His son or daughter (Galatians 3:26, 27)!
God is waiting, and He loves YOU!