I'm saved! now what?

NOTE: If you haven’t already read “the gospel” please do so first.
Dear friend, if you have recently become saved, praise God for that miracle! I think you’ll find that it’s the most significant event in your life. Welcome to God’s Kingdom. Below are some thoughts to consider as you begin your new life in Christ. If you’re not sure if you’re saved yet, please read on but also read the “I’ve read the gospel - I still have questions” category. “For our gospel did not come to you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Spirit and in much assurance”. (1 Thessalonians 1:5a)

What happened the moment you were saved?

• You were forgiven of all your sins - Jesus paid for them with His innocent blood shed on the cross in our place.
“And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses, having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.” (Colossians 2:13-14)

• Cleansed of your sins, you will now go to Heaven for eternity when you die.
“For we know that if our earthly house, this tent, is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.” (2 Corinthians 5:1)

• Your spirit was born therefore you can now communicate with God through prayer and will understand much of the Bible that previously seemed like foolishness.
“Now we know that God does not hear sinners; but if anyone is a worshiper of God and does His will, He hears him.” (John 9:31) “But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” (1 Corinthians 2:14)

• In addition to your newly born spirit, God’s Spirit is now also dwelling in you. His Spirit guides us in understanding, gives us strength and throughout the rest of our lives works to transform us.
“Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?” (1 Corinthians 3:16) “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.”(John 14:26)

• You will have a new and lasting peace in your heart that comes from God. It’s not based on daily circumstances in your life but on the unchanging truths that you are now forgiven and that you have a secure place in Heaven when this life is through.
“The peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:7) “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 5:1)

• While the devil blinds those who are unsaved from understanding God’s truths, this blindness has been lifted from you. You will see life from a new and more true perspective and will not so easily fall into the devil’s traps.
“But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them.” (2 Corinthians 4:3-4) “To open their eyes, in order to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who are sanctified[a] by faith in Me.” (Acts 26:18) “Lest Satan should take advantage of us; for we are not ignorant of his devices.”(2 Corinthians 2:11)

• All unsaved people essentially belong to the devil (a hateful master). You were bought at a very high price (Christ’s perfect blood) and now belong to God (a loving Master) and are a part of His Kingdom.
“Now is the judgment of this world; now the ruler of this world will be cast out.” (John 12:31) “Whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them.” (2 Corinthians 4:4) “Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God.” (1 Corinthians 2:12)

• You became an adopted child of God.
“But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.” (Galatians 4:5)

• We are ambassadors (representatives to others) for Christ.
“Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God.” (2 Corinthians 5:20a)

Now what?

Though physically you are a certain number of years old, when you’re first saved, spiritually you are a baby. “As newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby, if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is gracious” (1 Peter 2:2-3). You will learn and grow in your understanding and in your faith throughout the coming years - especially as you look to Him in prayer and in His Word, meet with other believers in Christ and go through trials. Don’t expect to be a perfect Christian right of the gate. Take comfort in “being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ” (Philippians 1:6).

The moment you got saved, God sees you through Christ as forgiven and clean. “Though your sins are like scarlet,they shall be as white as snow” (Isaiah 1:18b) and “As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us.” (Psalm 103:12) For the rest of your life He will work with you so that you become more and more like Christ, reflecting His love, grace, patience, wisdom, etc. When this life is done and we pass from here to there, we will be made perfect.

Talk to God through prayer. Picture yourself the child and God the loving, patient Father that always has time to listen to anything you have to say. You can ask or tell Him anything. As you do, He may gently guide you in your heart to truths He wants you to know. As regretful things from your past come to mind, tell Him about it. “Cast all your cares upon Him, for He cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7). “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7)

Reading the Bible is food for your spirit (even a little bit each day). Jesus said, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4). The Bible is powerful and living, able to speak to where we are at and help us to realign our hearts and our thinking to be inline with what God has for us. It says that His Word is “a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12b). What you might read today will speak to where you‘re at now, and in 10 years the same verses might speak to where you’ll be at then.

Many recommend the book of John as a good place to start (fourth book of the New Testament). The Old Testament is powerful historical accounts of how God worked with and dealt with individuals and mankind. There are many encouraging examples of faith. Within the Old Testament, Genesis would be a good place to start. If in reading books of the Old Testament you find some of them confusing or otherwise unrelatable, move on to another book within the Bible. The New Testament starts with the birth of Jesus. The first four books (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John) document the life of Jesus on earth from four different authors’ perspectives. The fifth book (Acts) documents the start of the Christian church. The remaining books in the New Testament are letters to various people in the early church and are filled with timeless instruction from God that applies to us today.

It’s also important to meet with other believers in Christ (this is called fellowship). There’s much you can learn from someone that has been saved for a number of years (and they’ll learn from and be encouraged by you). This can be in a small group Bible study or one-on-one mentoring. Finding a good church is helpful too - a place to worship God together through singing songs to Him and a place to learn from a Pastor who has spent the week studying the Bible and will deliver a message based on what he’s learned. It’s encouraging to be reminded that there are other believers in Christ. If you’re having trouble finding a good church, it’s helpful to listen to a good sermon online. See “additional resources” for suggestions. Just remember that God also calls us to meet with other believers “not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.” (Hebrews 10:25)

When you’re out the in world, you’ll mostly be surrounded by people who are still lost (as you were before you were saved). They won’t understand what happened to you, but if they know you well, they’ll likely see a change in you. Pray that God will protect you from anyone the enemy could send your way to try to discourage you. Also pray that God will lead you to other believers in Christ. As you experience the joy of being saved and seeing the world through new eyes, you may want to tell others about it. See the category “sharing the gospel” for additional thoughts regarding this.

While you are forgiven for all sins, you still need to deal with your sins as they occur or are brought to mind in order to experience continued fellowship with God. “But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (I John 1:7-9) Once you’ve gone to the Lord in prayer and dealt with a specific sin, it’s a done deal. If you later feel shame regarding that sin, you can know that God has forgiven you completely and that you can ignore any lingering shame. The Bible tells us that the devil is the accuser of the brethren (Revelation 12:9-11). First he tempts you to do wrong, and then tells you how terrible you are for doing the wrong thing. Once you’ve dealt with it with God, if the enemy tries to bring it up again, in Christ you have the authority to tell the enemy to be silent (in Jesus’ name). You can read more on this under the heading “spiritual warfare”.

Before you got saved, you were on the outside looking in. Anything you knew about Jesus, faith and Christianity was essentially theory that you hoped was true. Once saved, it goes from theory to reality. You have a new peace deep within you, you see/understand things differently and His Holy Spirit that now resides in you confirms to you that this is all real. “The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God” (Romans 8:16). As time goes on, you will see more and more evidence of the reality of a loving and powerful God that you now belong to.

An important part of learning to trust God is to get a better understanding of His character. If you were to do the trust-building exercise of falling backwards and letting someone catch you, you’d want to know if they were strong enough and cared enough to use their strength to keep you from hitting the ground and getting injured. Here’s some truths about God to keep in mind as you trust Him with your life:

• God is all-powerful
“Alleluia! For the Lord God Omnipotent reigns!” (Revelation 19:6b)
“But He said, “The things which are impossible with men are possible with God.” (Luke 18:27)

• God is all-knowing
“He counts the number of the stars; He calls them all by name. Great is our Lord, and mighty in power; His understanding is infinite.” (Psalm 147:4-5)

• God is only good - there is no bad in Him whatsoever.
“For the Lord is good; His mercy is everlasting, and His truth endures to all generations.” (Psalm 100:5)
“This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all.” (I John 1:5)

• God is perfectly loving
“Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.” (I John 4:7-8)

• God is everywhere
“Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence? If I ascend into heaven, You are there; If I make my bed in [a]hell, behold, You are there. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, Even there Your hand shall lead me, and Your right hand shall hold me.” (Psalm 139:7-10)

• God is outside of time, and has all the time in the world to figure out what’s best for us
“But, beloved, do not forget this one thing, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.” (2 Peter 3:8)

• God wants the best for you
“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope” (Jeremiah 29:11)

• God will wisely use everything that happens to you for your benefit
“And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28)

• God understands us and can related to us when we are tempted
“For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.” (Hebrews 4:15)

To learn more, continue on to foundations of faith.

Any questions or comments? tom@gospelguardians.com