"Behold, I stand at the door and
If anyone listens to My voice and opens
I shall come in to him and dine with
him and he with Me."
"...I am the Way and the Truth and the
Life; John 14:6
no one comes to the Father except
"I said therefore to you, that you shall die in your sins; for unless you believe that I am He, you shall die in your sins" (John 8:24).
Do You Know How to Get to Heaven from Here? A cartoon tract from Cartoonworks.
The (Only) Way into
Heaven:How to become a Christian
1. You must recognize your sinfulness before God: "Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned" (Rom. 5:12, NIV)
2. You must recognize that your sin has caused a separation between you and God: "But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear" (Isaiah 59:2).
3. You must believe that Jesus is the only way to God: "I am the way, the truth, and the Life, and no one comes to the Father but by Me" (John 14:6).
4. You must ask Jesus to forgive you of your sins because Jesus has the authority to forgive you of your sins: "Then Jesus came to them and said, ĎAll authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me'" (Matt. 28:18, NIV)...and
Jesus told you to ask Him for your requests: "You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it" (John 14:14, NIV)...and
Jesus is the one who forgives sins: "But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins....'He said to the paralytic, "I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home"'" (Mark 2:10-11, NIV).
"Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God (John 1,12, NIV).
5. You must turn away from your sin "In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent" (Acts 17:30, NIV)
"Produce fruit in keeping with repentance" (Matt. 3:8, NIV)
All men, since the Fall, are dead in sins, Eph. 2:1-3, and inclined only to evil, Gen. 6:5; 8:21; Rom. 8:7. Man, having learned from the Law of God that he is a lost and condemned sinner, is brought to faith in the Gospel, which offers him forgiveness of sins and eternal salvation for the sake of Christ's vicarious satisfaction, Acts 11:21; Luke 24:46, 47; Acts 26:18. God desires to convert and save all hearers of the Word. Many hearers of the Word indeed remain unconverted and are not saved, not because God does not earnestly desire their conversion and salvation, but solely because they stubbornly resist the gracious operation of the Holy Ghost, as Scripture teaches, Acts 7:51; Matt. 23:37; Acts 13:46.
As to the question why not all men are converted and saved, seeing that God's grace is universal and all men are equally and utterly corrupt, we confess that we cannot answer it. From Scripture we know only this: A man owes his conversion and salvation, not to any lesser guilt or better conduct on his part, but solely to the grace of God. But any man's non-conversion is due to himself alone; it is the result of his obstinate resistance against the converting operation of the Holy Ghost. Acts 7:51; Hos. 13:9.
- From "A Brief Statement of the Doctrinal Position of Conversion," Lutheran Church, Missouri Synod.
About baptism: Isn't it essential for salvation? It is faith in the gospel (the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus for our sins) which is graciously given to us by God, that saves. Baptism is the step that follows salvation, and yes, Jesus commanded us to be baptized. Jesus also commanded that we love God and love our neighbors, but not doing so properly does not mean we are unsaved. Being unbaptized does not keep us from eternal life: Read more about baptism.