I was just looking over a note that was between the pages of my Bible that reminded me of a few of the key points of the heart of the Gospel message and truth of salvation. I won’t be doing any overly deep diving here, just sharing some wonderful and encouraging reminders that may be a blessing and an encouragement to you and to someone else that you may find yourself talking to, perhaps even sharing your faith with.
First, we are not saved by any promises that we make to God; we are saved ONLY by the promises that He made to us (Ephesians 2:8-9, etc.). To put it quite simply, we humans are more than capable of breaking promises, and we do it often; at times even unintentionally. God is incapable of breaking a promise. What a relief that is! If we were saved based on our promises to God, we would all be damned; if you break one law, you are guilty of breaking them all (James 2:10). It is Jesus (God), who is totally reliable, who BY HIMSELF is the author and FINISHER of my faith (Hebrews 1:3, 12:2)! Praise God!
Secondly, we are not saved because we give our lives to Jesus; we are saved ONLY because Jesus gave His life for us (John 3:16, etc.). I often hear people referring to someone’s salvation experience in terms of them “giving their life to Jesus,” or something much to that effect. I do not want to be overly critical of terms here, however I think that we do need to be careful how we phrase such things, because very often people do indeed muddy the Gospel with works and distort the true meaning of the Gospel message, that message being that we are saved by grace alone through faith alone. Faith here means that we are totally trusting and relying upon Jesus, and not relying AT ALL upon ourselves. When we are saved we do indeed commit our lives to Jesus in the sense that we commit the trust of our eternal destiny to Him, in a way very much like I am committing my trust of the safety of my physical body to the chair I am sitting in right now and the floor above a basement that it rests upon; fully relying upon it to hold me up and keep me from perhaps fatally crashing to the basement floor. But if I am relying upon any promise that I make to serve and obey Jesus as any part of the basis of my salvation, I am in dire straits. Indeed, as a believer I should strive to walk more and more in the Spirit (Galatians 5:16) and serve and obey Jesus in all aspects of my being, but I cannot at all meaningfully even begin to do that UNTIL I have fully placed my trust in Him, believing the Gospel (1 Corinthians 15:1-4), then as a result of that having been born again and sealed with the Holy Spirit (John 3, Ephesians 1:13); being guaranteed the irrevocable gift of salvation (Romans 11:29) by His finished work alone (Hebrews 1:3), and by none of my own efforts, WHATSOEVER. See thee paragraph above.
Thirdly, I think that some people, perhaps without even realizing it, in some sense see salvation as some kind of trade: “I’ll do my best to be good and Jesus will save me if I do well enough and hang in there until the bitter end.” This is utter nonsense. You have NOTHING to trade with Jesus, whatsoever. Salvation is a free gift (Romans 5:15-16) that cannot be earned; not even a little bit; no true gift is earned. Scripture compares human fleshly attempts at righteousness to used menstrual cloth (Isiah 64:6). Trying to earn even a little bit of your salvation is a slap in Jesus’ face; calling what He did to provide our salvation out as being insufficient; not enough; not good enough; somehow needing our “help” in order to get the job done (this kind of sounds like blasphemy to me). His grace IS sufficient, not just necessary. Jesus does not need any help, nor will He accept any help in saving you or in keeping you saved.
It is almost seems that when we read between the lines, so to speak, in a lot of today’s preaching and writings, that we very often hear a “gospel” message that somehow states that we need to somehow get better in order to become saved. We do not get better to get saved, we get saved to get better! A simple comparison would be that to someone having heart attack symptoms thinking that they were not allowed to go to the hospital until they got better; that is of course nonsense. The person with heart attack symptoms obviously needs to go to the hospital in order to get better; to have their life saved FIRST, and then be able to get better as a result of being alive! We are dead in our sins before we are saved (Ephesians 2:1). Dead people, both in the physical and spiritual sense can do nothing and certainty have no way of becoming better. We are made alive spiritually when we put our faith in the finished work of Christ (John 3:16, 1 Corinthians 15). Just as only physically living people can do physical things, only spiritually living people can do spiritual things (true growth in the things of God).
I have heard the true Gospel message referred to in terms such as “greasy grace” or “easy believism. A couple of thoughts: If you want to refer to the true Gospel message as “greasy grace” or some other derogatory term, I suppose you can, but I wouldn’t advise it; I wouldn’t want to be held accountable for talking about the key message of the Bible so carelessly and cheaply. “Easy believism?” I don’t think so; it seems like it is awful hard for most people to believe.
The pure plain and simple Gospel (A.K.A. good news) Message: Christ died for your sins according to the Scriptures. He was buried and rose again on the third day, according to the Scriptures (1 Corinthians 15:1-4). Believe it and receive it. It is that simple; no special or “magical” prayer, no Church ritual (Church rituals are works) involved. Jesus did the hard work; ALL of the work. He’s the only one who could do it; not you!
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I believe that Jesus is coming to take His Church (that being those who have believed the Gospel and received the free gift of salvation/eternal life) away from this fallen world to be forever with Him VERY soon. My prayer is that those who are among the number of those going with Him on that day will grow greatly until that day; until that very moment. If you have never put your trust in the finished work of Christ, please do so now, and you will be among that number! If you have put your trust in Christ; believed and received the simple Gospel message (even if you have just now done so), please take the time to share this Gospel message with someone else today, one way or another, even if it is by simply sharing this post or some other resource on this site. This would be a wonderful and meaningful way to serve God today. Let us all do our part to make the number who are left behind when Jesus comes to take us away as small as it can be. Let us also not forget that none of us, including our loved ones, are guaranteed another hour of this earthly life, after which comes eternity, which is something incomprehensibly wonderful for the believer; the saved person, and tragically just the opposite for the unsaved.