Following Christ is the most important decision a person can make. Salvation is not accomplished by following a set of rules or living a good life; rather, it is the mental and heart acknowledgement that you can never be “good enough” to earn your way to heaven and your admission that you need a Savior to rescue you from sin and hell. Why Jesus? Jesus came to the Earth by way of God, the Father. Jesus lived thirty-three sinless years, displaying the power and authority of God. He died an undeserved death on a cross, taking the weight of the world’s sin and shame. In His willing decision to become sin, He took the sin from your life that separates you from God.
The Bible teaches in Romans 3:23 that all of us have sinned and have fallen short of God’s glorious standard. No one, other than Jesus, is perfect. Romans 6:23 tells us that the wages of our sin is death. The word “wages” is an economic term meaning: a payment for services rendered. The deserved “wages” for the sin in our hearts is death. If the daily payment we deserve is death, then we have no life apart from Christ, Who took those sins upon Him on the cross. Jesus’ death on the cross was not His end; He arose from death and ascended into heaven to be with His Father, sending His Holy Spirit as our seal and the deposit in our hearts guaranteeing all He has promised those who believe in Him.
Jesus made a way for us to have a relationship with the Father that we were incapable of on our own. God never asks us to get everything in our life right or straightened out before we accept Him as our Lord and Savior. In fact, Romans 5:6 tells us that “at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly.” If you have reached a point in your life where you realize that you are ungodly and need Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, then we encourage you to do what Romans 10:9 tells us: “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.”
Salvation is, simply put, the saving of your soul from sin and its consequences of eternal separation from God. Acknowledging God as Lord of your life and putting your hope and faith in Jesus and what He accomplished on the cross is the beginning of a personal, eternal relationship with our Savior. We come to know God as we live our lives, not in perfection, but in a desire to know Him more daily. At Hillside, we encourage spiritual growth through prayer, reading Scripture, attending weekend services, and becoming part of biblical community through a home group.
Water baptism is an outward display of an inward decision. After giving your life to Christ and making the personal decision to follow Him as your Lord and Savior, Scripture encourages us to make a public profession of that faith. Acts 8:26-40 tells a story of a Treasurer in Ethiopia who was reading out of the book of Isaiah on how Christ would be crucified for our sins. The Treasurer was so moved by this story he wanted to accept Christ as his Savior. As the Treasurer walked down a road he saw a body of water and said, “I need to be baptized!”
This is the reaction from those in Scripture who accept Christ. They want to take their faith public for the world to see. We hope this is the reaction all Christ followers will have. As a person is immersed in water and brought out of the water, it creates an actual picture of old life being washed away (under the water) and being raised to new life (coming out of the water) in Christ Jesus. The Scripture, 2 Corinthians 5:17, gives words to this when it says, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” Baptism is not a means of salvation. Salvation is only found in Christ Jesus, but baptism is a chance to make it known that you have chosen to follow Jesus; what an exciting moment of celebration!
If you have made a decision to become a Christ follower or have the desire to be baptized, please contact us. We would consider it an honor to celebrate this decision with you and answer any questions you have about where to go from here.