What must I do to be saved? And why?

In the beginning…

“In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth” (Genesis 1:1) and after creating all things, the universe, the earth, and animals, He chose to complete His creation by creating mankind.  He would create the first two human beings through whom all mankind would come from, Adam and Eve (Genesis 1:26-27).

Sin entered the picture…

God created us in His own image to have an abundant life and to have fellowship with Him. He did not make us as robots to automatically love and obey Him. God gave us a will and a freedom of choice. (For example, the command to “choose” whom to serve in Joshua 24:14-15 or to “repent and believe the Gospel” in Mark 1:15)

We chose to disobey God and go our own willful way, which all started with Adam and Eve and the first choice to sin against God (Genesis 3). Sin results in separation from God (Isaiah 59:2Romans 5:10a).
We’re told clearly that it wasn’t just Adam and Eve (and other people) who sinned, but ALL of us have sinned and continue to sin; furthermore, we “ALL fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).  

God gave an impossible standard…

What does this mean, that everyone falls “short of the glory of God?”  God’s standard is absolute, moral perfection because He is absolutely perfect in every way (Matthew 5:48).  This standard for mankind, for us, is impossible to reach.
Furthermore, God gave His people a Law, primarily the 10 Commandments, with the purpose of showing how holy (set apart) He is from everything else.  He also gave His Law to act as a “tutor until Christ came that we might be justified by faith” (Galatians 3:24).  In other words, His Law was given to show us what sin was (Romans 7:7) and that no human being could keep it and achieve His standard of holiness.  We had no hope.  Judgement and hell were our destination.

But God provided one Way out…

In the Old Testament times, and even back in the beginning, God foretold and demonstrated through various means that He would send a Messiah, a Savior, a Scapegoat, to take the punishment for the sins of all – He would die in our place because “the wages (payment) of sin is death” (Romans 6:23).  
Out of nothing but love, grace and mercy, God the Father sent God the Son, in the human form of Jesus Christ, to live a perfect life, to completely fulfill every obligation of His Law, and then to die for all of our sins once and for all (Isaiah 53:6; 2 Corinthians 5:21Hebrews 8:6-7, 12-13; Hebrews 10:1-4; 1 John 1:7).  The price for the sin debt owed in God’s courtroom of judgment had been paid in full for all mankind.

How should I respond to all of this?

Repentance and faith (Mark 1:15). 
1) Recognize your legal status before God as a guilty sinner, condemned to judgment and death as payment for your sins (Romans 3:23, 6:23).
2) Repent – change your mind and turn away from your sins and follow Christ as Lord (Matthew 4:17; Matthew 21:32Mark 1:15; Luke 24:46-48; Acts 3:19; 2 Corinthians 7:9).
3) Believe the Gospel; trust in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior (John 3:16; Acts 5:31; Acts 20:21).
There is no other way or god or religion neither is there any amount of good deeds that will bring about forgiveness of sins, a right standing with God and salvation.  In Jesus and in Him alone is this found (John 14:6; Acts 4:12).
Will you receive Jesus Christ now?
The call to salvation is open to all but for a limited time.  God waits patiently and searches to save as many as would come to Him before bringing about the end (2 Peter 3:8-10), but none of us has forever.  
There is no special prayer or religious ritual that must be done for forgiveness and salvation.  Simply recall the above steps in the ‘How should I respond to all of this?’ section, and pray a prayer to God – talk to Him – admitting that you recognize your sin and your status before Him.  Ask Him to help you as you repent and turn to Him in faith.  Finally, pray that He would forgive you of your many sins against Him and that you want Him to become Lord and Savior of your life.
If you call out to God with sincerity in a manner like this, He promises to forgive and save you (John 3:16). “You WILL be saved.”  As a believer, your first step in displaying obedience to your Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, is to be baptized in water in a local church.  Find a Bible-teaching, Christ-centered church, join them in membership, get plugged in, and begin your journey as a disciple of Jesus Christ!  May God bless you!