Many Christians and non-Christians have the notion that they understand that Jesus Christ provided salvation to man by his death on the cross, but after a person is saved they believe that they must do a list of things, and not do another list of things in order to keep, or maintain their salvation. Throw in the good works one must do on a regular basis and you have the average Christian.
When Jesus Christ walked this earth the religious rulers of his day questioned why He did things like healing the sick, comforting the lost and other acts of kindness on the holy day, the Sabbath. They felt that He was breaking the religious laws. Jesus asked them if man was made for the Sabbath, or the Sabbath, the Law, was made for man. That was a powerful statement because it showed what Jesus thought was the proper order of things. He in essence was saying that man is the important thing here, the Sabbath and the Law was given to benefit man, not to burden him down. This also shows us the heart of Father God.
God the Father
Many Christians and non-Christians also have a problem with the idea of God the Father Himself. They believe that He is ready to send anyone to hell that doesn’t measure up to His expectations. That is a fearful prospect to even consider. They do not believe that God the Father could be an actual loving God, a God who has love towards his creation. Look closely at John 3:17, “For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.” Can you see the real motive of God the Father in this verse? Here’s another verse in understanding that God loves us, “We love him, because he first loved us” (1 John 4:19). The verse says that He first loved us from the very beginning, before we had any desire or love towards Him.
Now here’s a verse that that must be taken just as it says to grasp the real meaning of it, “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us,” (Romans 5:8). How many of us knew that God loved us when we had no desire for God whatsoever? But, He did love us, even when we might have wanted no part of Him.
Could God the Father actually love us and be harboring no ill will towards us? “And it came to pass, when the time was come that he should be received up, he stedfastly set his face to go to Jerusalem, and sent messengers before his face: and they went, and entered into a village of the Samaritans, to make ready for him. And they did not receive him, because his face was as though he would go to Jerusalem. And when his disciples James and John saw this, they said, Lord, wilt thou that we command fire to come down from heaven, and consume them, even as Elias did? But he turned and rebuked them, and said, Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of. For the Son of man is not come to destroy men’s lives, but to save them.” (Luke 9:51-56). These verses show the heart of God. Can we believe and rest in them?
Now we come to the part about Salvation. It is very important that we understand true Salvation. If we don’t we will be blown away with every argument that even well intentioned Christians will give us. We will lose any peace of mind and be uncertain if we are really saved or not. Jesus said that the truth will set us free and we need to know the truth about Salvation.
The terms Saved and Salvation imply that someone or something saves us. It implies that this other entity is the one that saves, apart from us. In other words, we are helpless to save ourselves. If we are saved by an outside force, apart from ourselves, then we must look to that source that saved us. If God saves us through Jesus Christ then for us to try to keep or maintain this salvation ourselves (through good works or any number of righteous acts) is missing the boat totally. Who gave us this salvation? Who ‘keeps’ this salvation? The only possible answer is God, through Jesus Christ.
Look at Ephesians 2: 8-9 very closely. “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” Does our faith save us? No, that is merely an instrument that we are saved through. Does our believing save us? No, because our acts are not what save us, it’s receiving what Christ has done for us that saves us. Who saves us? God does through His Grace and not because of our good works. This is all a gift from God through Jesus Christ. How do we keep, or maintain our Salvation? Again we go back to square one, God saved us, and we didn’t have anything to do with it other than to receive and accept it. So there is no way we can keep or maintain our Salvation, God does it all. And that’s what’s so wonderful about it. If it were based on my perfect performance in life I would be without hope. But since the Salvation is based on what Jesus Christ did for me I then have hope and a real foundation for my faith. We are not saved by what we do, but by what God has done for us.
Now, many Christians are uncomfortable with this idea and they say such an idea is a license for sin. But if you or I received such a Salvation when we knew there was nothing within us to deserve it and God reached down and said that it was ours if we would just accept it…how would that make you feel? I don’t know about you, but I would be pretty grateful, in fact it should make us desire to please Him. Before Christ walked this earth the Law made people do things, it was justice or punishment. With Christ it’s acceptance and liberty. Now, it is true that the Father will deal with us if we willfully start living a life that we know is not pleasing to Him. But he will deal with us as a Father and correct us, there is never any danger of being cast aside and rejected or being disowned as children. We could lose the joy of our Salvation, we could lose the closeness we had with the Father, we could lose our sense of God’s direction for our lives, or any number of things, but we would not lose our Father’s love and salvation. “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of my Father’s hand. I and my Father are one.” (John 10: 28-30).
Did you notice in the above verse that Jesus said, “I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish…” Eternal life is just what Jesus says it is. He gives us eternal life. He doesn’t give it and then take it back and give it again when we have cleaned up our lives. If He gives eternal life it is eternal and will never be revoked. We can know that we are accepted and saved by God. This is how we develop faith, knowing that God the Father will never reject us and always loves us through Jesus Christ and His all-sufficient work on the cross. Jesus Christ’s sacrifice paid for all our mistakes, all our sins (past, present, future) and erases our stained fallen nature. This is reason to rejoice, to know that we are forever secure in Him! It’s almost too good to be true, but it is because you can depend on His word. Nothing can compare to this knowledge! This is the most wonderful discovery anyone can make!
If you have not received God’s free gift of acceptance and Salvation just ask Him for it and humbly receive it. If you want the assurance that you are saved forevermore just ask Him for that as well and humbly receive it. There is nothing greater than to know that we are saved, accepted and loved by Jesus Christ and God the Father! Be blessed and then go out and bless others in His name.