Through the grace of God the Father (Ephesians 2:8-9) and the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross (Romans 5:6-9), every person has the opportunity to be saved. Notice what the Bible says concerning what is necessary to become a Christian:
1. Hear the Gospel You must hear the gospel and then understand and recognize that you are lost without Jesus Christ no matter who you are and no matter what your background is. The Bible tells us that "all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God." (Romans 3:23) Before you can be saved, you must understand that you are lost and that the only way to be saved is by obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 1:8) Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me." (John 14:6) "Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved." (Acts 4:12).
2. Believe in Jesus Christ You must believe and have faith in God because "without faith it is impossible to please Him: for He that cometh to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him." (Hebrews 11:6) But neither belief alone nor faith alone is sufficient to save. (James 2:19; James 2:24; Matthew 7:21)
3. Repent of Sins You must repent of your sins. (Acts 3:19) But repentance alone is not enough. The so-called "Sinner's Prayer" that you hear so much about today from denominational preachers does not appear anywhere in the Bible. Indeed, nowhere in the Bible was anyone ever told to pray the "Sinner's Prayer" to be saved. By contrast, there are numerous examples showing that prayer alone does not save. Saul, for example, prayed following his meeting with Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:11), but Saul was still in his sins when Ananias met him three days later (Acts 22:16). Cornelius prayed to God always, and yet there was something else he needed to do to be saved (Acts 10:2, 6, 33, 48). If prayer alone did not save Saul or Cornelius, it will not save you either. You must obey the gospel. (2 Thessalonians 1:8)
4. Confess Faith You must, with sincere heart-belief, confess that Jesus is Lord. He is Lord whether you confess it or not, but it is unto your salvation that you must acknowledge His deity and His ownership (Romans 10:9-10). This confession is the external expression of an internal spirit of complete submission to every aspect of His word and will. As with faith and repentance, confession alone does not save (Matthew 7:21).
5. Be Baptized for the Remission of Sins Having believed, repented, and confessed that Jesus is the Son of God, you must be baptized for the remission of your sins. (Acts 2:38) It is at this point (and not before) that your sins are forgiven. (Acts 22:16) It is impossible to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ without teaching the absolute necessity of baptism for salvation. (Acts 8:35-36; Romans 6:3-4; 1 Peter 3:21) Anyone who responds to the question in Acts 2:37 with an answer that contradicts Acts 2:38 is NOT proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ!)
6. Be Faithful until Death Once you are saved, God adds you to His church and writes your name in the Book of Life. (Acts 2:47; Philippians 4:3) To continue in God's grace, you must continue to serve God faithfully until death. Unless they remain faithful, those who are in God's grace will fall from grace, and those whose names are in the Book of Life will have their names blotted out of that book. (Revelation 2:10; Revelation 3:5; Galatians 5:4)