Salvation is what we call it when a person trusts Jesus Christ as their savior. There are many views about salvation but there is only one correct one.
- Self-Righteousness, not Sin, is probably the real problem.
It takes people a long time to learn that Christ did not die for good people, but for sinners. Only lost people can be saved. The fact that we are sinners does not cut us off from Christ’s benefits, but rather makes us eligible for them. He did not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance. “Christ died for the ungodly.” Romans 5:6 and “While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8
The worst thing about humanity is their self-righteousness because it hides from them their need of Christ. The Pharisees trusted in their own goodness and as a result were left outside the Kingdom of God, while whores and thieves crowded in.
Self-righteous people cannot be saved. Salvation is only for confessed sinners.
- You don’t have to clean up your life before calling on Jesus to save you.
In fact, you can’t do it anyway. If you could, you would be your own savior. But the more you try to reform the worse you get. The Good News does not tell you to turn over a new leaf before you receive Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. It tells you to come to Him in all your sins, misery and wretchedness, just as you are, He will do the saving. To tell a dying thief to clean up his life is not the good news of Jesus. Only Christ can save and He alone.
- You can’t buy or deserve Salvation.
God gives eternal life as a free gift to those who receive His Son Jesus by faith. Remember, you cannot earn or merit a gift. It is strictly a matter of grace on the part of the giver.
If you could somehow purchase or deserve salvation, then there would be two Saviors – Jesus and You. This is impossible. It would mean that you could brag about it in heaven. This too is impossible because you would be adding to the finished work of Christ. This is also impossible. “a person is not justified by the works of the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ. So, we have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law, because by the works of the law no one will be justified.” Galatians 2:16
- There are no levels of eligibility for heaven.
This will shock many religious people, but it is totally true. There are no levels of fitness for Heaven. No believer is more fit for heaven than any other believer. Some may live more godly lives than others, but that does not affect their eligibility for Heaven.
The clearest example of this can be found than in the life of the Apostle Paul. Over and over, he finds it necessary to maintain the paradox, in order to preserve the fullness and the reality of the Gospel which he was presenting. To people who thought the essence of true religion was to be gained through man’s efforts, they only end up with a more profound consciousness of their sinfulness and essential unrighteousness.
To those who strive to make themselves acceptable before God through good works and wholesome deeds, and who believe that is the way of salvation, Paul states that the simple act of faith in Christ is the only route by which any justification before God can be had.
To those who take it for granted that man must first reform and purify himself before he can become worthy of the God and reap the benefits of a religious life, Paul points to the astounding fact of God’s outreaching love to the most miserable sinner. “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8
“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God, not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Ephesians 2:8-10
You see a person is saved by faith in Christ. If he is in Christ, he is as fit for heaven as God can make him. God only accepts us through faith in His beloved Son. Christians stand before God in all the acceptability of the Lord Jesus Christ. And it is impossible to improve on His standing.
- The amount of faith doesn’t matter.
On any airplane among the passengers, there are all degrees of faith aboard. Some passengers will worry every mile of the way, and others will buckle their seatbelt and sleep the whole way! When they safely land, it will not be because of the amount of faith of the sleepers, it will be because they all had faith enough to get on the plane. When they got on the plane their safety became the responsibility of the plane and the pilot.
So, it is not a matter of how much faith you have, but whether your faith is in the worthy and only capable Savior. It is impossible to trust in Him at all and not be saved.
Faith is trusting Him and when we say to Him “Lord Jesus, save me.” We say it by faith and by faith we are saved. (Romans 5:1)
- You are not saved by your feelings.
Too many people have the idea that when you are saved, you experience all kinds of warm, inward mysterious, emotional feelings, and that this is the way you know you are saved. This is very misleading…
Justification (salvation) takes place in the mind of God and not in the nervous system of the believer. The second the person trusts Christ, he is saved. He knows it, because the Bible says so, not because his feelings tell him so.
Harry Ironside (1876-1951) said, “I don’t know I am saved because I feel happy, but I feel happy because I know I am saved.” That puts things in the right order.
Dear friend, think over these six statements and ask yourself “Have I ever acknowledged myself to be a guilty sinner who is deserving of hell forever?” And have you trusted in Jesus Christ and him alone for salvation?
(Author Murray McCandless, all Scripture quotations are from the NIV added and text modified by T. L. Basham, II)