What are the keys to
There are three basic precepts that we must follow in order to obtain salvation and receive the gift of eternal life. These three are:
Love the Lord your God
The very foundation of our faith is an honest, heartfelt love for God. Jesus states this clearly when he says:
And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. [Mark 12:30]
Jesus states that the first, or greatest, commandment is to love God. Without a love for God, our faith is in vain. We can keep every law and commandment of God to perfection, but without a true love for God it is of no benefit to us.
So can we therefore conclude that God's laws and commandments are of no effect, as long as you love God? The book of first John has the answer.
By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous. [1 John 5:2-3]
The love of God is to keep his commandments, and if we love Him, we will keep his commandments. It is impossible to love God and not keep His commandments, because it is through keeping His commandments that we demonstrate our love for God. The only way to love God is to keep His commandments.
2. Accept Jesus Christ as your personal savior, repent of our sins, and become baptized in the name "Lord Jesus Christ"
The book of Acts tells us of a story about the eunuch of Ethiopia who was searching for the truth. After Philip had preached the word of God to him, we read these verses:
And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized? And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him. [Acts 8:36-38]
The key phases in this text are "believest with all thine heart" and "I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God". In order to receive salvation, one must believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. John the Baptist stated it another way:
He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him. [John 3:36]
Clearly belief on the Son is required for salvation, but it goes one step further. We must also turn over our lives to God and put our faith and trust in Jesus Christ. Paul discloses this trust in his letter to the Ephesians.
That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ. In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, [Ephesians 1:12-13]
From these verses, we see that not only must we believe in Christ, but we must trust in Him also. When we trust in Jesus and turn our lives over to Him, He asks that we follow Him.
Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life. [John 8:12]
For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps: Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth: Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously: [1 Peter 2:21-23]
Accepting Jesus Christ as our personal savior requires us to believe that He is the Son of God, to turn our lives over to him by trusting him, and to pattern our lives after His example.
For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures: [1 Corinthians 15:3-4]
Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood. [Acts 20:28]
Through the death and resurrection of Christ, we have the hope of salvation. The blood that He shed has purchased each and every one of us who accepts him. It is only through accepting him as our personal savior that we can partake in this hope and receive our reward of eternal life.
3. Continually strive for a better understanding of God's truth
No man can obtain a perfect and complete understanding of God's truth. We are limited by our human imperfections. Therefore we must continually study and strive for a greater and deeper understanding of God's plan for us and His Church. Timothy writes:
Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. [2 Timothy 2:15]
This text states the method, approach, and results. Through studying we show ourselves approved. We should approach this study as a workman and not be ashamed of the work we undertake. The result of this study will be a deeper understanding of the truth. The key point here is that in order to be approved unto God, we must study his word. Our salvation depends upon it.
But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.
[2 Peter 3:18]
Peter's words apply to us now as they did to the brethern of his time. We must continue to grow in the grace and the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.
Key Verse: Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.