Just Take Him at His Word
The requirement for a person to receive the irrevocable gift of everlasting life is simple. Those of you who are at least somewhat familiar with my writings are quite aware that I boldly and consistently assert this. I do so because the Bible does so. Hard work was indeed necessary to have met God’s standard of perfection in order for us to come into His eternal presence, however that hard work was, and only could be accomplished ENTIRELY by the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ, according to the Scriptures (1 Corinthians 15:3-4, Hebrews 1:3). I have no means of contributing to any sort of righteous perfection in my flesh. This righteous perfection only comes by the Holy Spirit, who sealed me, and who I was born of, when I believed the Gospel and was cleansed of my sin by the blood of Jesus (John 3, Ephesians 1:3, 1 Corinthians 15:3-4).
In terms of what is required for salvation, I hear all sorts of variations of what is expected of us. First off, as I already made clear; as does Scripture, there really is nothing required of us in terms of salvation, because we have absolutely nothing to contribute to it; Jesus had to do it all, because only He is the only one who is fully man (and fully God) who has righteous perfection of His own. Considering this, I hear the all too prevalent mantra stating that you first have to somehow “repent of your sins” to be saved. I have said much about this in other places on this site, however I will briefly reiterate here that to repent means to change your mind. OK, yes, I know that sin is bad and that I am a sinner; I don’t need to change my mind [repent] about that. The problem is that there are those who assert that in order to be saved that I must somehow first completely turn from all of my sin; which is what these folks mean by repenting of all of my sin, and then “accept” Jesus. In other words, they insist that before I can be saved that I must commit to make Jesus the absolute Lord of my life in every way, shape and form; that I must have total commitment to turn from everything that is unrighteous, or all is null and void, in terms of salvation. They will make such statements as “Jesus is Lord of all, or He’s not Lord at all.” All of this business sounds very pious and spiritual, but it is not biblical. It is what is referred to as lordship “salvation” and it is rooted in nothing but pride and fear, and although many of those who ascribe to it may appear to be very “Christian,” it is a bleak and bankrupt counterfeit of the true Gospel. I cannot make any promise to God that I can truly guarantee that I will keep, especially of my flesh, which is sinful (Isiah 64:6, Galatians 5:19-21, etc.). The sinful flesh is all that I have before I believe the Gospel and become born again (of the Spirit). However, Scripture says that when I believe on Jesus that I will be saved (John 3:16, 6:47, Acts 16:31, etc.). This of course makes perfect sense because when I do this, I am born of the Spirit, and the Spirit being sinless (1 John 3:9) does not earn the wage of sin, which is death (Romans 6:23), therefore has eternal life. Of course, while I am still here on earth, I have both the flesh and the Spirit, hence the Apostle Paul’s admonition to believers; saved people, in Galatians 5:16 to walk in the Spirit as to not fulfill the lusts of the flesh. Just a side note: Jesus IS Lord of all; He needs none of us to appoint Him to that position.
God is about truth (John 14:6). He wants us to be honest with Him and with ourselves (let’s not forget that not being honest; lying is a sin…sins are what earn the wage of death, that we receive forgiveness for when we trust Christ as Savior). He most certainly does not want us to lie to ourselves in order to receive salvation. I have heard folks who were “witnessing” make statements to the effect that you have to feel really sorry for your sins or God won’t forgive them. Godly sorrow can indeed be a good thing (2 Corinthians 7:10), however there are many problems that go along with this sort of “evangelism.” First, the heart is deceitful (Jeremiah 17:9) to begin with. We don’t need to try to convince it to be even more so. Your feelings don’t save you AT ALL; again, Jesus does that by Himself. There are indeed some folks who are legitimately moved to tears when they are understanding and believing the Gospel. Others, not so much. Others may more or less intellectually/rationally grasp the concept and realize their need for what Jesus did for them, and then simply believe the Gospel; BOTH are legitimate; each person and each situation are unique and different, but the Gospel saves each person who believes it just the same. The person who is not as emotional about it absolutely need not feel the need to muster up [phony] sorrow [a lie to God and to one’s self] in order to feel sorry enough so that God will hopefully save Him because he or she has repented hard enough. Any “evangelism” asserting the necessity of such things is not of God.
God is also not interested in having you try to muster up “feelings of belief and commitment.” God wants you to simply take Him at His word. If you did indeed experience some deep and profound feeling that God stirred up inside of you at your moment of salvation, or some other time after that, great! However, may anything of that sort be of Him (the truth), not of your heart's manufacturing (a lie). If I am taking someone at their word, it is purely about the choice that I am making, not the feelings that I may or may not be having.
Consider the following: I am in a situation where I am in mortal danger. I am on a 5th floor balcony of a building that is on fire, where there is too much fire to go back inside, and all of the fire escapes have been compromised. At this point I am trying to figure out some way to save myself, but there obviously is no way for me to do so. Very soon afterward I see a fire truck pull up to the building with the first response team. They raise the big ladder to me with a first responder on it. When the first responder and the top of the ladder reach the balcony which I am on, the first responder instructs me to come over to him in order to get on the ladder with him so I can be brought to safety. I may indeed be feeling some emotion at that time, but what is going to save me is the first responder, his equipment, and his team, not my emotion. I simply need to take him at his word [trust him] and let him save me, not somehow think that I need to force myself to try to “feel” or “internalize” his words and the situation. I may indeed be gushing all over him with gratitude and tears…but again, none of that is saving me; he has the knowledge and equipment to save me, and that is what is saving me. By choosing to take him at his word, I allow him to save me.
I am going to Heaven because I am saved (born again). I am saved because Jesus did the work to save me and I took Him at His word, PERIOD. This is the same for anyone else who is of the family of God.
Proverbs 3:5 Trust the Lord with all thine heart and lean not unto thine own understanding.
Once again, take Him at His word. He understands much more than you do and doesn’t need your help or anyone else’s to make His Gospel more legitimate or “righteous” or “spiritual.” Lean on the Holy Spirit’s pure rendering of the Gospel, in His eternal and perfect understanding, not the very short sighted and deceitful understandings of mere men and what they think that the Gospel should be. Take HIM at HIS word, not mere men at theirs.
Proverbs 3:6 In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.
In all of your ways; truly as you are; not how you want Him to think of you, or what you think you can hide from Him, He wants you to truly acknowledge Him, and He will direct your paths. If we go to health care providers and don’t tell them what is happening, their ability to help us is diminished. God of course knows all, including all of our shortcomings, but He wants us to be honest with Him and with ourselves. Trusting God; taking Him at His word is the only way for us to receive eternal salvation; the second birth, which must come first. Only then can we move forward with our healing and Spiritual growth as we acknowledge Him in all of our ways; the good, the bad, and the ugly, so to speak. It only makes sense that one must be born before they can grow.
It is such a beautiful fact that we have every reason to believe God and take Him at His word. Romans 1, starting in verse 18 tells us that we are without excuse [in terms of believing God]. This is absolutely true. Simply in the context of the presence of a creator, such a conclusion is purely common sense. I will not do an elaborate presentation on this topic in this writing, yet I will briefly touch on a few things (please see the creation science resources section of this website for more on this topic). It is ludicrous to believe that everything came from nothing (I do not mean space; space is very much something) for no reason or purpose, and without a cause, and that afterward everything then evolved into the orderly universe, including life as we know it…again with no cause, planning, design, or purpose. To believe such a thing is truly a religion that takes more faith than I will ever have. Again, as the Bible says, we are without excuse. We can also believe that said creator is the God of the Bible. I will quote the late Charles (Chuck) Colson, who was one of President Nixon’s top aides involved in the Watergate scandal in the early 1970’s, who went to prison for said involvement, then got saved and became an evangelist:
“I know that the resurrection is a fact, and Watergate proved it to me. How? Because 12 men testified that they had seen Jesus raised from the dead, and then they proclaimed that truth for 40 years, never once denying it. Everyone was beaten, tortured, stoned and put in prison. They would not have endured that if it weren’t true. Watergate embroiled 12 of the most powerful men in the world- and they couldn’t keep a lie for 3 weeks. You’re telling me 12 apostles could keep a lie for 40 years? Absolutely impossible.”
Once again, it is common sense, and we are without excuse. There are of course those who try to assert the ludicrous claim that Jesus of Nazareth never existed. No reliable historian would endorse this nonsensical claim for myriad reasons.
One final thought here. The believer is saved by the promises that God makes to him or her that are unbreakable, not the ones that he or she makes to God, which are quite breakable. You can therefore most assuredly take God at His word because unlike you or I, He is incapable of lying; He has to be trustworthy; He has to be perfect; He has to come through; He has to do what is right; He has to keep His promises. He has no choice about such things!
Please have an unhurried look around this site. Please be sure to click on the free e-book Angles and Aspects of Salvation as well. Please feel free to use anything on this site for the purpose of saving the lost and equipping the saved. God bless.