WHAT MUST I DO TO BE SAVED?
Most people seem comfortable with the distractions of day to day living. Countless numbers seem unconcerned about the future, and what effect it will have on their lives. Increasing numbers rarely stop and think of the need each one of us has; of those last days of our lives when our thoughts will inevitably turn to ‘What happens beyond death’, and, ‘What if there really is a God?’ What of eternity?
The Word of God says that everyone, by nature, is without Christ, without God, and, therefore, without hope in this world (see Ephesians 2:12). Man is a sinner and in need of a Savior, One Who can do what it is impossible for any man to do. Contrary to what religion has taught us, no man can work his way to Heaven. No man can obey God to the point where God accepts him into His Kingdom. “…all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). The Word of God says that man at his very best state, that is, the best a man can be, and the best a man can do, is nothing but vanity, profitless, in the eyes of God. “…every man at his best state is altogether vanity….every man is vanity” (Psalm 39:5,11).
When asked who can be saved, Jesus replied: “…with men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible” (Matthew 19:26). Our best is never enough. The Word of God says that all men, by nature, are dead in sins (see Ephesians 2:1-5). They are dead to the true God, so much so, that “…there is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God” (Romans 3: 10,11).
Religion is often, and in countless ways, the voice of ignorance. Replete with false ways and methods of salvation, Religion’s underlying and insurmountable problem lies in the fact that all are dead in sins, and so man can hardly be called upon to do that which is necessary to obtain and/or maintain salvation, by adhering to a list of religious duties etc. This, far from being the way of getting to God, is the very evidence that one is in a cursed state, for the Word of God says: “…a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the Faith of Jesus Christ…for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified” (Galatians 2:16). If one has not perfectly obeyed every law of God, one is in a cursed state: “…Cursed is everyone that continueth not in ALL things which are written in the book of the law to do them” (Galatians 3:10). The only way to God, the only way to salvation is Jesus Christ the Lord and Savior of His people. Jesus said: “…I am the Way, the Truth and the Life: no man cometh unto the Father but by Me” (John 14:6). The Lord Jesus also says: “…No man can come unto Me, except it were given unto him of My Father” (John 6:65).
The Good News is that Christ, by His death has redeemed His people from the curse (see Galatians 3:13 & Hebrews 9:12). The Word of God states that salvation comes, not based on the obedience of each individual, but solely by the obedience of One: the Lord Jesus Christ. “…by the obedience of One shall many be made Righteous” (Romans 5:19). This is the key factor which distinguishes true Christianity from the world’s religions, and a true Christian from an accursed person. We’ve seen that man at his best is altogether vanity, and that no one can be saved based on their efforts at obedience to God. For one thing, how would any of us know whether we had been obedient enough? The fact that no one can answer that question has subsequently given rise to what most people have come to accept in the matter of salvation: the idea that doing one’s best in life will be enough to get them into Heaven, for who can do more than their best. This is man’s conclusion, this is man’s religion. Religion pats man on the head and says, ‘Do your best, God knows your heart’, while God’s Word says: “…every man at his best state is altogether vanity” (Psa. 39:5). Man needs a Savior. Doing your best will get you nowhere!
What man does is not his immediate problem, but that which he is. Man is a sinner in need of salvation, not reformation, not a revival of a societally acceptable collection of values, but salvation. Man does not require re-invention, but is in need of re-creation. Man does not need a mess of New Year’s Eve-type resolutions. Man does not need to do better, he needs to be born again. He needs to be made alive. He needs to be made a new creature in Christ Jesus the Lord (see John 3:3; Ephesians 2:5; 2 Corinthians 5:17).
Perfection is what God demands. Man needs to be freed from the guilt and punishment due unto his sins, and a perfect Righteousness established if he is to be accepted by God. Seeing that no one is perfect, no one can even begin to obey perfectly. No one can do anything to make up for their sins, or the fact that they are sinners, and that everyone at their best is, at the very least, imperfect. God has sent a Savior to the earth to die for His predetermined people, taking away their sins through His sacrificial death on their behalf, and charging them with His own Righteousness, or perfection. This is the great Gospel of God, His Good News to those who will believe it. The Good News is that, though man is a sinner who cannot, by his own obedience, gain, or maintain salvation, salvation is obtainable through the obedience of Jesus Christ on behalf of all those God has given Him, those whom He has chosen from before the foundation of the world. God’s people rejoice in the fact that God has chosen them in Christ “…before the foundation of the world…having predestinated us…according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, wherein HE has made us accepted in the Beloved” (Ephesians 1:4-6). Without God, man is hopeless. There is nothing man can do to merit salvation. Nothing we do, or don’t do which can get us saved. Nothing which we can do that can rescue us from a state of lostness. There is nothing by which we can recommend ourselves to God.
Salvation is by God. God has done everything to save, God has done everything that will save, His people from their sins. “…Salvation is of the Lord” (Jonah 2:9). Salvation is by the grace of God in providing a Savior that HAS merited salvation for all those He died in place of. Christ’s death was an atoning death, meaning, the sacrifice of Himself to God has put away all the sins of all those God entrusted to Him (see John 17:2). Christ’s Righteousness has/will be imputed, or charged, to these people, and, so they are saved for all eternity based on what God has done, not upon anything they have done, or will do. This is why salvation is said to be by the grace of God, and not at all by the efforts at obedience by any man. “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” (Ephesians 2:8,9). David described “…the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth Righteousness without works” (Rom. 4:6).
The Christian lives a life of obedience to God, but this obedience is not what his salvation is based, or relies, on. Eternal life is given to God’s chosen because of the merits of Jesus Christ, because of what He has done for them. Salvation is based on what Christ has done for those who could do nothing to obtain it. “…to him that worketh not, but believeth on Him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for Righteousness” (Rom. 4:5). This faith with which all Christians believe is not their own, but a gift given them by God (see Ephesians 2:8).
What must I do to be saved? Simply “…believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved…” (Acts 16:31). Believe on Jesus as He is revealed in the true and only Gospel of God, and you have eternal life. Believe in the true Jesus whom God bears record of in His mighty Gospel, and no other. “…he that believeth not God hath made Him a liar; because he believeth not the record, that God gave of His Son….He that hath the Son hath Life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not Life” (1 John 5:10,12). Believe not in a false jesus of a gospel which conditions salvation on what you do rather than SOLELY on what Christ has done. Acknowledge, believe and trust only in what God has done, by grace, to save His people from their sins, and you will see that you are one of those people. Believing does not get anyone saved, for it is the evidence that God has saved you. To rightly believe God’s Gospel is to repent of, and reject all others as having any merit to save anyone from their sins.
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