We have two modern options offered as a path to salvation:
Classical Liberal Christianity that all are probably saved anyway either because " Christ has redeemed the world" or, "But God is nice, isn't He?" Most commonly reduces the Gospel message to "Love God and love your neighbor" in a kosmos defined in terms of the Fatherhood of God / Brotherhood of Man.
Supposedly Conservative Liberal Christianity that "all who call" are necessarily saved, and if any appear not to be behaving "like Christians" it is our duty to ignore it, for "who are we to judge?" Most commonly reduces the Message down to "He that believes shall be saved, in a kosmos defined in terms of a lonely God compromising His integrity just to have somebody to talk to Him.
Both of these approaches are "Liberal" in that they both are reductionist: Each has found its "proof texts" to support their position, and each has devised a system by which they can degrade the importance of any Scripture that would, if allowed, question their sacrosanct first principles.* Neither speaks for God. Jesus, nor His prophets, ever said "Everything's fine," neither, "Just pray this little prayer." What did Jesus say to those who encountered Him in the days of
His ministry? "Follow Me!"
So what did it mean to follow Jesus? It meant to identify oneself fully with Him. No longer was Simon "Simon bar-Jonas of such and such fishing concern," or even "Simon the fisherman," but "Simon Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ." Saul was no longer the enforcer for the Sanhedrin, but
their next target. Levi was no longer the man sitting in the duties office but seeking out Jewish Communities in Africa to tell them the Good News.
First, they made Christ their "main thing." They accepted Him unquestioningly as their teacher, their source of truth and wisdom. As time passed they realised that He is, Himself, both Truth and Wisdom. It wasn't just a "personal thing," though. We don't read of anybody
"following" Jesus on their own, in their own way, and calling Him their "personal savior." Anybody following Him followed as a member of the whole group of His followers. They listened to Him, they discussed His teachings among themselves, and they carried their questions to Him as a group. In fact, if we think about it, no matter how slow they were to understand something, was He ever short with them? If any refused to put the other first, was He ever lenient?
How does this track through the rest of the Bible? That's good material for a few books, but in short, Matthew 28:18 puts "making disciples," gathering students into the school, the first part of the Great Commission, and baptising them into the Church the second. The third is making faithful followers out of them. Acts 2:42ff says the Church gathered together every day, and that
everyone who "would be saved" was added to their number. In the Epistles, every letter is written to a local church or group of churches except four, and they are concerned with either the ministry of the Church or with someone conducting personal matters as a member of the Body.
From at least the time of Tertullian (born about 160) we're told that "God is our Father, and the Church is our mother," and Chrysostom was adamant that, "Without the Church no one may be saved." From the beginning, the Church was sounding forth that saving Message so that, by the end of the 1st Century, the Church had grown from not quite a dozen nervous peasants to a movement that spanned that world from India to Ireland with a saving message of two words that encompasses the whole of Revelation: "Follow Me."*(First Principles, Presuppositions- What we assume to be true before looking at the evidence.)