Are you sure you have eternal life? How do you know if you're saved? What is salvation, really? You need to know.
[Steve] How do you know you're saved?
Imagine you arrive at a most important banquet that's hosted by Christ Himself. After all--you're a Christian. Picture coming to His home and walking right up to the door. Perhaps you're a little surprised that the door is closed and you're shut outside. But not to be deterred, you knock and knock. No response, no reaction. So you call out, "Jesus open the door, Lord it's me." Still, no response, no reaction. At long last, you hear Jesus' voice and He says, "I never knew you!" What a devastating and shocking situation in which to find yourself.
Are you sure that you have eternal life? There are so many conflicting beliefs on how to be saved, and who's going to make it.
Stay tuned to Beyond Today as we take an in-depth look at your standing with God and challenge you to consider: "You're Probably Not Saved... Yet."
[Announcer] Join our host, Steve Myers and his guests, as they help you understand your future on Beyond Today!
[Steve] Are you saved? "Well, of course I am saved." Now if that's the answer that instantly came to your mind, then stay tuned even though you may not want to hear this: You're probably not saved yet! Now before you panic, let's notice why this subject is so critical.
Our opening story illustrates what Jesus taught: there are some Christians who think they're saved, who think they are right with God, but in actuality they're not.
It's essential that you know the truth about being saved. Jesus says that we better not take it for granted. That's the lesson of the parable that Jesus told in Luke 13:25 Luke 13:25When once the master of the house is risen up, and has shut to the door, and you begin to stand without, and to knock at the door, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us; and he shall answer and say to you, I know you not from where you are:
American King James Version×.
"When once the Master of the house has risen up and shut the door, and you begin to stand outside and knock at the door, saying, 'Lord, Lord open for us,' and He will answer and say to you, 'I do not know you, where you are from.'"
So when it comes to being "saved"--what does it mean? When someone asks if you're "saved," they're referring to what the Bible calls, salvation. It may be a religious sounding word, but it's really not that complicated. It simply means to be rescued from the eternal consequence of sin--saved from the penalty of sin.
We all need salvation because, "All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23 Romans 3:23For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;
American King James Version×). Living contrary to God's way has a cost. Thinking of it another way, there are earnings from what the work of sin brings. What do we earn? "The wages of sin is death" (Romans 6:23 Romans 6:23For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
American King James Version×).
So how do you know that you've been saved? Maybe your answer is like most in the religious world. This tract says, "All you must do is believe that Jesus Christ died for your sins and rose again. Then you must receive Him into your heart... Please pray this prayer with all your heart" (ABC Tract).
Now, what's wrong with that? After all John 3:16 John 3:16For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
American King James Version×says: "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."
But is that all there is to it? Much of the religious world teaches "accept Jesus," and at that point, your eternal life is assured. Is this what the Bible says?
Let's notice an example. In this movie clip from The Apostle, Robert Duvall, plays a preacher. He has come upon a terrible accident and tries to convince the young man to believe in Jesus and be saved. Let's watch:
"If the Lord were to call you right now would you be ready? Do you accept the Lord Jesus Christ as your personal Savior, are you ready for Him? Are you ready to fully accept Him at this very instant? Now if you open your heart and let Him come in, He will stand with you whether you go home or whether you stay here with us. And if it isn't your time, He'll stand by you brother both you and your wife. He'll deliver you through this entire ordeal."
Whether it's a popular movie, this tract, an altar call or an idea from a famous minister - is a simple acknowledgement all that's needed?
I once thought that was the case. When I was back in school I went to a Christian music concert with some friends. I was really moved by the music. It was exciting, emotional and stirring. When the band paused after a song that just about brought the audience to tears, the leader began to tell how much we all needed Jesus and how we better do something about it or we could be lost. The next thing I knew, I was answering the altar call, standing at the front of the stage. They said a prayer for all of us that had come forward and told us because we believed we were now saved. I felt good, but a day or two later when the feeling of it all wore off, I began to realize I'd gotten caught up in a moment of emotion, and then realized there had to be more to it than that.
There is no doubt that God tell us: "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 Ephesians 2:8-9  For by grace are you saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
 Not of works, lest any man should boast.
American King James Version×). Eternal life is unearned and undeserved. No one will ever be able to say that they've earned or they deserve the gift of eternal life.
But back to our question: Does God require anything of us to receive eternal life? World-renowned evangelist, Billy Graham, believes that you can receive eternal life and don't have to consciously know Jesus. Will God save someone without them even knowing it?
[Billy Graham from "Hour of Power"] "You know I think there's the body of Christ which comes from all the Christian groups around the world, or outside the Christian groups. I think everybody that loves Christ or knows Christ, whether they're conscious of it or not, they're members of the body of Christ... They may not even know the name of Jesus. But they know in their heart that they need something that they don't have and they turn to the only light that they have. And I think that they are saved and that they're going to be with us in heaven."
[Steve] Now that's a comforting sounding thought, but is it biblical? Remember, the only authority on receiving eternal life is Jesus Christ. His Word says: "He became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him" (Hebrews 5:9 Hebrews 5:9And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation to all them that obey him;
American King James Version×). Now that's something you have to be conscious of, something you have to choose. Not only accepting Him but there's something to do.
So how does obedience relate to the gift of eternal life?
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We'll help you understand what the Bible says about salvation and answer the question: What's so bad about sin? You can change the way you think and have a different perspective on life with God's transforming power.
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Why would we say, you're probably not saved yet?
Since Jesus is the only authority on eternal life, let's notice a remarkable statement that He made: "Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall inherit the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven" (Matthew 7:21 Matthew 7:21Not every one that said to me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that does the will of my Father which is in heaven.
American King James Version×).
Jesus made it clear. It wasn't just about their belief or their faith. Verse 20 says "By their fruits you will know them" (Matthew 7:20 Matthew 7:20Why by their fruits you shall know them.
American King James Version×). He judged their actions. Here's something important to beware of: watch out when ministers that tell you that it's not your business to judge the truth of the Bible. Of course we should never condemn others. But it is your business to let the Word of God judge you - in all that you do. Remember what Jesus Himself said: "When once the Master of the house has risen up and shut the door, and you begin to stand outside and knock at the door, saying 'Lord, Lord, open for us,' and He will answer and say to you, 'I do not know you, where you are from,' then you will begin to say, 'We ate and drank in Your presence, and You taught in our streets.' But He will say, 'I tell you I do not know you, where you are from. Depart from Me, all you workers of iniquity'" (Luke 13:25-27 Luke 13:25-27  When once the master of the house is risen up, and has shut to the door, and you begin to stand without, and to knock at the door, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us; and he shall answer and say to you, I know you not from where you are:  Then shall you begin to say, We have eaten and drunk in your presence, and you have taught in our streets.  But he shall say, I tell you, I know you not from where you are; depart from me, all you workers of iniquity.
American King James Version×).
Imagine dining with Jesus, having the opportunity to really get to know Christ - but something's missing. You can feel that you're fine with God but belief requires you to demonstrate your faith by obediently doing the will of the Father. Jesus said, "If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follw Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it" (Matthew 16:24-25 Matthew 16:24-25  Then said Jesus to his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.
 For whoever will save his life shall lose it: and whoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.
American King James Version×).
Believing and accepting Jesus means that your priorities will change. He said we're required to do what He commands. Over and over again, He said "follow me." And that's really only the beginning. The apostle Paul says of himself, "I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should. Otherwise, I fear that after preaching to others I myself might be disqualified" (1 Corinthians 9:27 1 Corinthians 9:27But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.
American King James Version×NLT).
The apostle Paul, who no doubt accepted Jesus as his Savior, knew that receiving eternal life is conditional. He could be disqualified! He's saying that if you were to truly turn away from God, you could lose your salvation - unless you repent.
Yet some preachers deny what Scripture says and teach the non-Christian concept of once saved, always saved. Let's notice:
[Charles Stanley "In Touch Ministries"] "So the question is: Can a person be saved by the grace of God, born again, new creation in Christ Jesus, and slip back into sin and still go to heaven? Yes you can. But it is a very expensive trip."
[Steve] That's a false statement. The biblical fact is that you can lose your salvation. Your Bible plainly teaches this. The apostle Peter says if after accepting Jesus in their hearts - knowing their Savior - they go back and are overcome, that... "It would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered to them" (2 Peter 2:21 2 Peter 2:21For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered to them.
American King James Version×). Peter knew that it was possible to lose salvation itself if he turned from God's commandments.
Jesus Himself reinforces this by an event in His life. A wealthy young man came to Jesus and asked how he could he be saved. "Good Teacher, what good thing shall I do that I may have eternal life?" Now Christ's reply might shock you. In verse 17 He says, "If you want to enter into life, keep the commandments." (Matthew 19:16-17 Matthew 19:16-17  And, behold, one came and said to him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?
 And he said to him, Why call you me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if you will enter into life, keep the commandments.
American King James Version×).
Jesus didn't answer, "Just believe in me. Just accept me. Just believe in God - nothing's required." No, He didn't say that. He told the young man that he must obey the commandments of God to receive the gift of eternal life. Jesus didn't say obedience would earn eternal life and in fact, nothing can earn it. But He made it plain - it is required.
Notice how grace is connected to doing in Ephesians 2:8-10 Ephesians 2:8-10  For by grace are you saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
 Not of works, lest any man should boast.
 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to good works, which God has before ordained that we should walk in them.
American King James Version×(NIV) "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith - and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God - not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God's handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do." When the young man was unwilling to sacrifice, unwilling to obey and dedicate himself to Christ, he went away saddened. But Jesus said there is no contradiction between grace, faith and obedience.
So in case we might miss it, God inspired it again: "Loving God means keeping his commandments, and his commandments are not burdensome. For every child of God defeats this evil world, and we achieve this victory through our faith. And who can win this battle against the world? Only those who believe that Jesus is the Son of God" (1 John 5:3-5 1 John 5:3-5  For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.
 For whatever is born of God overcomes the world: and this is the victory that overcomes the world, even our faith.
 Who is he that overcomes the world, but he that believes that Jesus is the Son of God?
American King James Version×NLT).
So belief and obedience, they go hand in hand. By obeying God's commandments, you demonstrate your faith in Jesus and your commitment to God. So obedience establishes faith. Obedience demonstrates our acceptance. Grace must lead to obedience. All those who will be saved are to obey God's law as they receive God's gift of eternal life.
Now there's so much more to discuss on this topic. Are there required steps that you can take to move down the path of salvation? Up next, we'll be talking with the Beyond Today panel but first, I'd like to remind you of our special offer today. Transforming Your Life, is a free study aid that will help you discover the truth about your salvation.
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We've been taking an in-depth look at your standing with God and challenge you to consider: You may not be saved. To discuss this further we have our Beyond Today panel - fellow hosts, Darris McNeely and Gary Petty.
I think one of the biggest questions that we face is this concept of being saved. And the idea, do we just accept Jesus or do we have to do something?
[Darris] I think Steve, the answer is you have to do something. Every aspect of the explanation that you even presented here today with other ministers' explanations about being saved, there's an expectation that somebody does something. You must accept Christ as your Savior. You must repent. You must make a decision. A decision even as some would say, for Christ. And that involves a conscious effort on our part based on a recognition that we need something and we need to do something more than what we are doing in a righteous pattern. And so yes, you have to do something. The Bible uses a term called repentance to describe what it is that we must do. And that then begins to initiate the process of salvation.
[Steve] So if we wanted to say acceptance might be a start but grace…
[Darris] It's not the end result.
[Steve] …grace should do something?
[Gary] Well I think about what Jesus Himself said. He said if you want to be My disciple you must love Me more than father, mother, sister, brother, your own life also. And you must be willing to give up everything in order to be a disciple. So, when God offers us His grace, which is amazing, free gift that we don't deserve--when He offers that to us, we cheapen it when we don't look at that gift and respond to that gift. And that gift is we give our entire life over to Jesus Christ. That's what--we give ourselves to Christ. That's what that gift requires of us.
[Steve] So in a way you've got to take that gift, you've got to unwrap it, open it up and use it.
[Darris] Otherwise we take the grace of God in vain, which Paul warned against in one of his writings in Corinthians. That we can take it and it can be empty if we don't do something with it. God's grace does require a response in order that it not be empty, useless or done in vain.
[Steve] So… to begin with you've got to repent.
[Darris] You must change.
[Steve] Where do we go from there then? If it's not only accepting Jesus, repentance has to be that next step or that first step in that sense.
[Gary] That's right. Repentance means to turn and go the other way. It is to literally become a disciple of Jesus Christ, to follow Him and to imitate Him as your Master. Now the next step you must take, if you repent, is to be baptized. To be baptized is to symbolically have our sins washed away. Jesus Christ had no sins and yet He was baptized. Why would He be baptized? As an example for us. And all through the entire New Testament, baptism is a command. It is very, very unfortunate that in so much of the Christian world today, baptism is not being followed as a command. But it is the next step in the salvation process.
[Steve] So you've got to have your sins forgiven. We've got to be immersed, baptized. What about the next step? What do we do?
[Darris] Well Acts 2:38 Acts 2:38Then Peter said to them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.
American King James Version×shows that the next step is the receipt of God's Holy Spirit. And God says in Acts 5:32 Acts 5:32And we are his witnesses of these things; and so is also the Holy Ghost, whom God has given to them that obey him.
American King James Version×that God gives His spirit, the Holy Spirit, to those who obey Him. So there is the step of obedience that is involved in that as well.
[Steve] I've got a little tract here that just says that we can say a little prayer and it says, please come into my life and give me your powerful Holy Spirit. Is that the way it works?
[Darris] Not according to what I just quoted in Acts that there is the step of obedience. And if you want to look more closely at what that obedience is, again, the scripture you quoted earlier from Christ's statement in Matthew 19 - the rich young ruler that went to Christ and said what must I do in order to have eternal life? Which is what salvation is all about. And Christ said, if you'll enter into life, keep the commandments. Obey, obedience.
[Steve] And so we've got to be immersed. A minister has to lay hands on us. Isn't that how the Holy Spirit is given?
[Gary] You know that is one of the most ignored teachings in the entire Bible. When you look at the New Testament, they were immersed in water after they repented. They were brought up out of the water, symbolically dying with Christ. And then they would have hands laid on them by the ministry in order to receive the Holy Spirit. And that is actually one of the most ignored teachings in all the Bible and it is one of the reasons why God isn't working as powerful in our lives as we want.
[Darris] You know everything we have talked about here--repentance, obedience, receiving the Holy Spirit--really doesn't remove Jesus Christ from the question and the grace of God.
[Steve] It doesn't remove grace from the equation at all.
[Darris] No, it doesn't remove grace or Christ. I mean, God grants us repentance it says in the Bible. And He gives us then as a result of that His Holy Spirit which is Christ's life within us. Paul said in Galatians 2:20 Galatians 2:20I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ lives in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.
American King James Version×, that the life that I now live, I live by the life of Jesus Christ in me. So the whole process is one of the grace of God in us through the life of Christ that is involved in every step of the way.
We might rightly understand we have to make a decision, but even that decision is one that God is graciously leading us toward. And He is with us every step of the way and ultimately He does give us the gift of salvation. It is a free gift. We are created unto good works unto Him. And yet the whole process is the beautiful exposition of God's grace to bring us and to give us the gift of salvation and to bring us into His family.
[Gary] But the concern that you brought up in your program is the idea of cheap grace. That we take the sacrifice of Jesus Christ and we lower that down to sort of like a license to do whatever want. And you think how terrible that is and I think of in the Sermon on the Mount where Jesus said that when He comes back, there will be many come to Him and say, 'Lord, Lord.' And He said, I will say to them, I do not know you. And they will say but we preached in your name, we did great miracles in your name. And He is going to say depart from me, you who practice lawlessness. So there is a required response if we're actually going to become imitators of Jesus Christ.
[Steve] And that doesn't mean you're basing this on works. You still live on grace but that grace leads to something.
[Gary] It produces something.
[Steve] It produces things.
[Darris] Yes it does. And it also, that grace even gives us the endurance. Christ said that he who endures to the end, the same shall be saved. Many places in the Scriptures there is that future tense and aspect to salvation. That's why your program is entitled today, being yet saved.
[Steve] Yes, so there is a past sense that we're saved. In what? That we're saved from our sins when we are forgiven.
[Steve] So we are in a state of being saved.
[Darris] The penalty of death is removed from that as a result.
[Steve] And yet, look how much more lies ahead in the future.
[Gary] Well when you look in Hebrews 6 and Hebrews 10. In that book in the New Testament there are two very dramatic passages that talk about the possibility of losing salvation. Willingly going back to the state that you were in before and giving up the Holy Spirit in which case it says it's impossible to renew that person. So it is possible to lose salvation - two passages in Hebrews proves it.
[Steve] So when we begin to understand what God requires of us, what do we do? What do viewers do when they come to understand that, well there's more to it than what I thought?
[Darris] What they do is begin to step into the pages of the Bible and live by the teachings of Jesus Christ. Just do it! Which we've said before here. Begin to obey God and learn that God's way does work and produces a pathway to salvation.
[Steve] We certainly want to help you with that process. We hope you'll remember our free offers. You'll want to order a copy of our study aid, Transforming Your Life. This booklet will help you find what you need to change your life for the better. You can change the way you think and have a different perspective on life with God's transforming power.
And don't forget your free subscription to The Good News magazine. Call us toll free: 1-888-886-8632. That's, 1-888-886-8632. Or, you can read both The Good News and Transforming Your Life online at BeyondToday.tv.
Don't be caught outside Christ's door knocking. Repentance, belief, baptism, and the gift of the Holy Spirit are blessings that God gives to His people. When Christ returns, eternal life will finally be a reality. Then we'll live forever in God's eternal Kingdom. That is salvation. That's when we'll truly be saved.
I'll be right back after this:
"You must observe my Sabbaths. This will be a sign between me and you for generations to come." The Sabbath is a key to the Kingdom of God. The New Testament book of Hebrews says, "There remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God."
Jesus and His followers kept the Sabbath and they still do today. God commands us to pause and reflect on His way of life. Take a break from the fast paced action of this world. Experience a rejuvenation of the mind and grow closer to Him. Join us as we explore the Sabbath and show how it is a key to the Kingdom of God.
The United Church of God is hosting free Kingdom of God Bible Seminars held around the world. Go to KOGSeminars.org to find one near you. Kingdom of God Bible Seminars - giving the message of hope for tomorrow - beginning today!
[Steve] Thanks for joining us. Don't forget our free offers and be sure to tell your family and friends about us. Tune in again next week for another edition of Beyond Today and join us in praying, "Thy Kingdom come." For Beyond Today I'm Steve Myers. Thanks for watching.
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