To accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior is the most important decision you will ever make in your life. In reality, it is the beginning of a brand new life in Christ, and as a new-born child of God, there are many important things you need to understand.
You are Saved by Faith - You are not saved by Feelings
1. You are saved by Faith.
Your salvation is based purely upon your faith in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior. In other words, salvation is not something that can be "earned" by how good you try to be or some religious act that you perform.
Salvation is a free gift from God, and came as you simply put your faith in Jesus, His death and resurrection, and trusted him to forgive your sins and become your savior and Lord. The scripture says “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." (Ephesians 2:8-9).
2. You're not saved by feelings.
Good feelings are nice to have, but feelings do not prove whether you're saved or not. There may be times when you "feel" that God is close to you, and other times when you "feel" that He's not. But remember that He has promised to always be with you and never leave you, regardless of feelings (Hebrews 13:5). Always remember that the Christian lives by faith, not by sight or the feelings of our natural senses. The Bible says “We live by faith, not by sight.” (2 Corinthians 5:7).
3. You may experience doubts.
One of most common things that happens to a new believer is that the Devil tries to whisper doubts in your thoughts: "You're not really saved," or "nothing really happened to you." But don't buy into Satan's lies and deceptions! If you placed your faith in Jesus Christ, then you are saved, regardless of whether you feel it or not. God's Word promises, “If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” (Romans 10:9).
4. You are Forgiven of all your sins.
The Bible teaches that all mankind has a sinful nature which keeps him separated from God's presence and will result in eternal death. But Jesus came to suffer the consequences of that sin as our substitute, so that we could be forgiven of sin and have access to God's presence.
When you repented (turned away) from your sins, and asked Jesus to forgive you and become your Savior, that's exactly what he did. He forgave every sin you've ever committed, regardless of how awful or evil they may have been. God can forgive more sin than man can commit. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).
5. You're not Perfect, just Forgiven.
Being a Christian doesn't mean that you won't make mistakes, but it means that you are forgiven of sin and that your goal is to live like Christ and not live in the old sinful way anymore. Don't ever let the Devil condemn you if you stumble or make a mistake!
God loves you and wants you to ask Him to forgive you (1 John 1:9), then He wants you to get back on your feet and keep walking for Him! Don't ever let other people or the Devil bring condemnation upon you! God loves you and will correct you, but He will not condemn you. “There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus...” (Romans 8:1).
6. You are a New Creation.
At the moment you accepted Jesus, He came into your heart by His Spirit, and now His presence and nature lives and dwells in your heart (1 Corinthians 6:19). You did not merely become a better person, you were "born again" spiritually as a brand new person! Now He wants you to learn to live your life according to the new nature of His Spirit inside you. The Bible says “Therefore, if any one is in Christ, he is a new creation: the old has gone, the new has come!” (2 Corinthians 5:17).
7. You have the promise of Eternal Life.
God's Word says that when you place your faith in Christ, you are given eternal life. That is, someday when your physical body wears out and dies, your soul will go to be in the Lord's presence to spend eternity with Him! “For God so loved the world, that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish, but have eternal life” (John 3:16).
8. You must keep living for Christ.
You must understand that your salvation is based upon your "continued" relationship with the Lord. He has promised to keep you saved, as long as you keep believing and living for Him. As a new Christian, you need to grow in your relationship with God and deepen your faith, so that discouragements, temptations, or trials will never cause you to drift away from God. Remember, if you depart from the Lord, you also depart from what gives you the promise of salvation. The Bible says that Christ will one day present you before God, holy and unblemished “...If you continue in your faith, established and firm, and do not move from the hope held out in the Gospel” (Colossians 1:23).
9. Prioritize your faith.
Developing a relationship with your maker needs to become a top priority. Soon, you will see why. His love, protection, provision, wisdom, comfort and joy are just a few examples of how He will justify being your new priority in life. This paradigm shift may not happen overnight, so you will need to take time from your day to sit and seek him. Take time from your week to meet with other Christians, go to church. Find answers to your questions about God, creation, heaven and hell, the spiritual battle going on, your purpose, and yes, even God’s perspective on money.
Start your day by talking to God, reading the Bible and reflecting on your day. You may need to set aside a quiet space, and a few moments, but it’s a small step that will leap you forward in your faith. We have created a special series of study guides to go along with your daily reading and prayer. Check out our study guides here and our 70 Bible Reading Plans here.
You’ve entered a new life, a new lifestyle, with a new life pursuit that has eternal significance.
Give it all to God, and you will be glad you did.