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How to experience salvation

From what do you need to be saved? If you and I were honest—truly honest with ourselves and with God—there would be one or multiple things from which we’d acknowledge we need salvation. Perhaps you need to be saved from fears concerning our country and the unstable, violent times in which we are living. Perhaps you need salvation from bondage to behaviors you know are wrong and are destroying you. Perhaps you long for salvation from even death itself. Well in Isaiah 45:22, the LORD says through His prophet, “Turn to me and be saved, all the ends of the earth! For I am God, and there is no other” (English Standard Version). In this one verse, we can discover how you and I can (and will) experience salvation.

The first step is to repent. The first word in the verse, “turn,” here means to face God. Since each of us is born with a sin-nature, our natural tendency is to always focus on ourselves; we focus on our problems, our fears, our wants, our needs, and our own glory. God calls you and me to repent, turning from ourselves and the mess in our lives. He then says, “Turn…to me.” Who is this God who calls us to turn to Him? This God is the LORD Almighty, Creator of all things and who is sovereign over all things. He is omnipotent, which means He is all-powerful and, with all things in the palm of His hands, He is able to change your circumstances or mine. He is also omniscient, meaning He knows everything; He knows all things in and around your life, my life, and throughout the world. He is also omnipresent, meaning He is everywhere you and I are, and He’s always ready to hear our cries for salvation. Not only does He hear our cries, but He is merciful and compassionate, so He is faithful to respond to our cries. God heard the cries of His people Israel and sent His deliverer Moses to save them; God hears our cries today and has already sent His deliverer, the Lord Jesus, to “save his people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21).

Next, you and I receive. God says, “Turn to me…and be saved.” The mere turning to God brings salvation. This shows us that salvation is indeed a gift to be received from the gracious hand of God who is the Savior of the world. The apostle Paul tells us, “By grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God.” This is where many of us fall; in our pride, we try to save ourselves in our own strength and/or our own good deeds instead of simply turning to God and trusting Him for salvation. The Bible gives us many examples of people merely turning to God and experiencing salvation as they simply trusted in Him. At the edge of the Red Sea with the Egyptians bearing down on him and the rest of God’s people, Moses simply obeyed the LORD and raised his staff over the waters and saw the waters miraculously part to bring salvation. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego trusted the LORD and refused to bow down to the image of King Nebuchadnezzar, and their faithfulness was rewarded by God as He saved them in the fiery furnace. Peter also needed salvation from drowning after he walked out towards Jesus on the water. Taking his eyes off of Jesus, Peter began to sink, but when he cried out, “Lord, save me” the Bible says Jesus “immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him” (Matthew 14:31). While these examples do not prove God will physically save us all the time, for all people will eventually die, God’s promise of salvation cannot be limited to merely this temporal life, but must be primarily considered in light of the reality of eternal life.

Finally, we recognize. When you and I turn from those things that bind us; those idols in our lives, and turn to the One true living God for His salvation, we will concur with Him that He is God “there is no other.” In 1 Kings 18, the prophet Elijah challenged 400 prophets of the idol Baal to see who the true God was and who was able to answer when called upon to consume a presented sacrifice. While all the rants and ravings of the idolatrous prophets, the idol Baal could do nothing to bring fire to the sacrifice. However, when Elijah called on the name of the LORD, fire immediately came from heaven and it consumed not only the sacrifice but also the water-soaked altar. Scripture says, “And when all the people saw it, they fell on their faces and said, ‘The LORD, he is God; the LORD, he is God” (1 Kings 18:39, ESV). Elijah simply prepared the sacrifice and called on the LORD, trusting that He would indeed respond. When God responds either to either our cries or our turnings, and we see Him respond, you and I will come face to face with the reality that the LORD is not only God, but He is the only Savior of the world. God says, “I, I am the LORD, and besides me there is no savior” (Isaiah 43:11). Similarly, when you or I turn our lives and all our sin over to God the Son, Jesus Christ, we discover why “there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12, ESV).