God wants everyone in the world to be saved. He wants us all to be saved because He is a kind and merciful God who loves us.
See also: 1 Timothy 2:3-4; 2 Peter 3:9; 1 John 4:16
But we need to understand that He is also a jealous God who demands obedience. As our Creator, there is no question that it is His right to demand this.
See also: Isaiah 29:15-16; Jeremiah 7:23; Jeremiah 18:6
The problem is that none of us can be completely faithful and obedient to Him. We all mess up from time to time. We are all sinners, which means that none of us deserve salvation.
See also: Romans 3:9-18; 1 John 1:10
When the Israelites were slaves in Egypt, God freed them from that slavery and gave them a law to follow (Exodus 19:4-5). We now refer to that law as the Old Law. As the book of Leviticus describes, the Old Law was very specific in its instructions.
No one who lived under that law was able to keep it perfectly (Acts 15:5-10; Galatians 3:10-12). Therefore, the Old Law also had built into it the idea of atonement. Under the Old Law, atonement for sin was made with animal sacrifices.
See also: Leviticus 5:5-6
The Old Law was never intended to last forever. Its purpose was to teach God’s people about sin. More specifically, it defined what sin is -- transgression of the law. And it taught God’s people that atonement must be made for sins.
See also: Romans 3:20; Romans 7:7; Galatians 3:19
The Old Law was a teacher but it was not the final solution. The animal sacrifices that the Old Law prescribed for atonement were not good enough sacrifices to completely take care of sins. This is why they had to be offered over and over. And even then, they did not completely eliminate sins.
See also: Hebrews 10:1-4; Hebrews 10:11
A better sacrifice was needed to completely cleanse us from our sins. God showed His love for us and His desire to save us by providing that better sacrifice -- His own Son.
Jesus Christ -- God’s own Son -- was a great enough sacrifice to make atonement for all of our sins forever. By paying for our sins with His own Son, God can save us while still demanding obedience from His creation. We do fall short of that obedience from time to time when we sin. But payment for those sins has already been made on our behalf.
See also: Hebrews 9:28; 1 Peter 2:24
We do not have to pay for our own sins. But to receive the payment that Jesus made on our behalf, we do need to be faithful to God. We will certainly fall short from time to time, but we need to be making a sincere effort. And God knows whether we are making a sincere effort because God knows our hearts (Psalm 44:20-21).
See also: Galatians 2:16; Galatians 3:11; Ephesians 2:8-9
We also need to be baptized. When people in the bible learned about Jesus Christ and asked what they should do or how they could be saved, they were told to be baptized.
See: Acts 2:37-38; Acts 8:35-38; Acts 16:30-33
Baptism is a symbolic burial with Christ; it is the start of a new life of faithfulness to the God who paid for our sins (Romans 6:3-8). It is the process by which a person is added to the Church (Acts 2:41-47).
And after baptism, we must remain faithful to God. The bible is very clear about the fact that it is possible to lose one’s salvation (Galatians 5:4; James 5:19-20). Thanks to Christ’s sacrifice, we do not have to be perfect. But we do have to be faithful because “the Lord knows those who are His” (2 Timothy 2:19).