The scriptures show that many things must take place in order for someone to have his sins forgiven:
- One must hear the message of the gospel Romans 10:14. How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him whom they have not heard?
- One must believe the message: Romans 10:14 Hebrews 11:6 And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who seek him.
- One must repent of one’s sins Luke 13:1-5, 6-9 (verse 3) Unless you repent, you will all likewise perish. Acts 3:19 Repent therefore and return, that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord. This means a change of heart; it is shown by a change of actions: Matthew 3:8 Therefore bring forth fruit in keeping with repentance.
- One must confess his belief in Jesus Matthew 10:32-33 Everyone therefore who shall confess Me before men, I will also confess him before My Father who is in heaven. But whoever shall deny Me before men, I will also deny him before My Father who is in heaven.
- One must then be baptized, which means immersed, in the name (by the authority of) Jesus for the forgiveness of sins Acts 2:38 Repent and let each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins.
- This is done in water I Peter 3:20-21; Acts 8:36;10:47 …who refused to obey God long ago in the time of Noah. God was waiting patiently for them while Noah was building the boat. Only a few people — eight in all — were saved by water. And that water is like baptism that now saves you (NCV). And as they went along the road they came to some water; and the eunuch said, “Look! Water! What prevents me from being baptized?” Surely no one can refuse the water for these to be baptized who have received the Holy Spirit just as we did, can he? One who is immersed, or baptized, is buried in water as Christ was buried in the ground, and then raised, forgiven, to walk in newness of life: Romans 6:3-4; John 3:5 Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death? Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, in order that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. God saves those who do these things, and adds them to his church: Acts 2:47 And the Lord was adding to their number day by day those who were being saved.
- When one does these things, he calls on the name of the Lord Romans 10:13 for “Whoever will call upon the name of the Lord will be saved.” And now I put a question to you that was put to Paul before he became a Christian: And now why do you delay? Arise, and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on His name. Acts 22:16
David Blackstone, Published in The Old Paths Archive (http://www.oldpaths.com)