There are lots of ways to describe what happens when we give ourselves to Jesus. Some people call it being saved, receiving salvation, getting ‘born again’, John 3:3 becoming a Christian, becoming a believer or a follower of Jesus, surrendering to Jesus, inviting him into our heart, accepting him, turning towards him, making him king of our lives, giving him the driver’s seat or receiving eternal life. It’s all of those things.
We are given the choice to accept God’s salvation. But the part we play in our salvation is tiny compared to the work that God did to make it possible. Through the sacrificial death of Jesus, he paid the price for our sin. Through the resurrection of Jesus, he defeated sin’s power over us. Our freedom has already been paid for in the most costly rescue mission of all time. All we need to do is accept it.
The Bible mentions different ways to accept salvation. It says that if we believe that Jesus is the Son of God, we will be saved. Acts 16:31 | Romans 1:16 Another time Jesus says "those who listen to my message and believe in God who sent me have eternal life." John 5:24 It also says that those who believe and accept Jesus can be children of God. John 1:12 Sometimes it says those who believe and are baptised will be saved, Mark 16:15-16 often alongside repenting and turning to God. Acts 2:38-39 | Acts 3:19 Elsewhere it says ‘If you openly declare that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that
God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.’ Romans 10:9 It also says simply, ‘Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved’. Romans 10:13
There are different ways to receive salvation, but Jesus is always at the centre. Jesus is the beginner and the finisher of our salvation. Jesus is the only way to the Father, and the only name that can save us. John 14:6 | Acts 4:12-13
Maybe there’s lots of ways to be saved because it’s about something that happens in our heart. It was never meant to be a magic formula that ticks the ‘going to heaven’ box. It’s the moment that we turn from our old way of sin and turn towards God: when we want God more than ourselves; when we want him to be king more than us; when we want his will to be done more than ours.
Salvation is something we know immediately. We are made right with God the instant we put our trust in Jesus. Ephesians 2:8-9 | John 5:24 | 1 John 3:2 It’s also an ongoing process as we are transformed to be more like Jesus and released from the grip of sin. Romans 8:12-13 | Philippians 2:12-13 | 2 Corinthians 3:16-18 And it is something that we will only see fully when we are resurrected and removed from the presence and consequences of our sins.
1 Peter 1:13 | Hebrews 9:28-29
As Claud C. Kluge put it, “I have been saved from the penalty of sin. I am being saved from the power of sin. I will be saved from the presence of sin.”