Salvation Confusion

Salvation Confusion

If you listen to one preacher give an invitation to “invite Jesus into your life,” he might lead you in a prayer. If you listen to another preacher prodding you to become a Christian, he might be telling you to be baptized. Yet another preacher might tell you to “Believe in your heart” and you will be saved. 
If these preachers are all Christian, Bible-believing men, then why the confusion? Why are they offering what appears to be conflicting invitations? I’m glad you asked. Salvation in the Christian faith basically comes down to 2 things: The act of Jesus Christ on our behalf and our decision to accept it. Here is a chart showcasing what Jesus did along with what we must do. 
What Jesus Did
Shed His blood – Acts 20:28
Gives grace – Acts 15:11
Gave us mercy – Titus 3:5
Reconciled us with God – Romans 5:10 
Justifies us – Galatians 2:16,17
Forgives our sins – Acts 2:38
Died on the cross – Philippians 2:8
What Man Does
Hears the Gospel message – Romans 10:17
Believes in Jesus – Mark 16:16
Repents of his sins – 2 Corinthians 7:10
Confesses Jesus is the Christ – Romans 10:9,10
Calls on the Lord – Acts 22:16
Is immersed (baptized) – Mark 16:16
Endures in the faith – Mark 13:13
Jesus’ part of our salvation was completed when He died innocently on a Roman cross over 2000 years ago. His blood was shed. The Jewish law was fulfilled. Death was conquered. Grace and mercy were now available to all mankind. 
Man’s part of salvation is sometimes confusing because we put pockets of time between the different elements. These have been called mistakenly “steps” of salvation and that is confusing. Rather a better term would be the “act” of salvation. Believing, repenting, confessing, calling, and being baptized is what a person does to be saved. Pastors do a great disservice to people when they offer an invitation to salvation and only require those who respond to say a prayer (Confess, Call). Likewise, a preacher who only invites people to be baptized is equally in error by omitting belief, repentance, confession, and other elements of the salvation act. 
Dietrich Bonhoeffer in his classic Christian book, “The Cost of Discipleship,” coined the term “cheap grace.” He described it as an invitation to Jesus without any effort on man’s part. Forgiveness without repentance. Confessions without commitment. Baptism without denial of self. In summary, Dietrich was describing a faith that cost Jesus everything and cost us nothing—essentially, cheapening God’s grace. 
God’s offer of salvation – eternal life in heaven with Him through Jesus Christ is priceless. Let’s not lessen our part in obtaining this salvation by leaving out clear scriptural elements on the part of the believer.