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Comment by T-Ralph

To the first question, I believe the answer is Yes - being born again is the only pre-requisite to making heaven.
Scripture says that if we confess with our mouth Jesus Christ (not confess our sins, but, confess Jesus is Lord) and we believe in our hearts that God raised Him from the dead, then, we shall be SAVED (Rom 10:9). This confession and heart-believing is done at the point of salvation/giving our lives to Christ.
Scripture also says that except a man be born of water and Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God (which is God's kingdom on earth and the kingdom of heaven) (Jn 3:5). This birth is a spiritual birth and it happens at the point of salvation/giving our lives to Christ.
Hence, salvation alone gives a believer this access automatically.

As for the second question, Phil 2:12 says we should work out "YOUR OWN" salvation. This salvation here simply talks about "SPIRITUAL GROWTH".
I think christians have to understand that we were not saved by works but by faith through Grace (Eph 2:8, 9). Notice the tense of the verb here (and other verses that has to do with giving one's life to Christ) is in Past tense, this is because our salvation is a once and for all process that Christ paid for with HIS Blood (Heb 7:27, 9:28 1Pet 3:18).
In accordance to this, there is a need for our soul to be transformed by the LIFE (Zoe) we have received in our spirits, that is why we need spiritual growth. That's why Rom 12:2 says we need renewal of minds; that's why Gal 4:1-31 talks about spiritual growth into matured sons; and so on.
All these later processes are sometimes termed "salvation" (not past tense) in Scriptures because it is a gradual, continuous and un-ending process till we die/transformed into spirit-beings in the end. But, it shouldn't be mistaken as a pre-requisite for heaven because salvation at the point of giving our lives to Christ is all that is needed.
Even the next verse Phil 2:13 says that it is God that works in us both to will and to do of His good pleasure. Hence, even as we study the Word, pray (esp in tongues) and perform other spiritual excercises, it still isn't our work that brings the willingness to do these things, neither is it our works that brings the transformation we see in our souls/lives but God just working in us by His Grace.

Check out 1Jn 4:17.

In conclusion, even our spirtual growth is by resting on His Grace just like our "giving our lives to Christ" (Gal 3:2-4). ...


Comment by He-is-able

Jesus replied, âI assure you: Unless someone is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.ââJohn 3:3

Entering a saving relationship with Christ is a life-changing experience! All things become new! Not some things, but all things (2 Cor. 5:17). For the first time in your life, Christ is Lord; God is Master. When you become a Christian, Christ's presence will affect every part of you. You will have new thoughts, new attitudes, new values, and new sensitivities. New priorities will dramatically affect your relationships. You will view everything in your life from a Christlike perspective. Christianity is not something you add to your life; it is life!

Nicodemus thought that salvation meant performing certain religious exercises and holding to particular religious teachings. He had no idea of the all-encompassing nature of salvation! When you become a Christian, God gives you a new heart so that everything becomes new! God gives you a new mind, like that of Christ, so you think differently. He gives you new emotions, so you feel deeply about completely different matters. You become sensitive to sin, so you are no longer comfortable with it. Your recreation will be affected as you are made aware of what is honoring to God and what is not. Your relationships will now be guided by the Holy Spirit. Destructive habits and attitudes, previously immune to change, will be transformed.

Have you noticed the changes God has brought to your life since you entered a vital relationship with Jesus Christ? These changes should be very noticeable as a testimony of the new life you received when you trusted Jesus as your Savior and Lord.

âExperiencing God Day by Day ...