By the Grace of God-A A +A
The Good News
Wednesday, August 15, 2012
WHAT must I do to be saved? This is a ticklish question that has given rise to one denomination after another, each with its own hard core doctrines. It is the same question which I as a layman would examine, not to prove one group right or wrong, but to be illumined by the light of what the Scriptures -- the words of God -- have to say.
But first things first, why do we need to be saved? Because Romans 3:23 declares, “… for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Now sin is not something we can afford to take lightly, for whether we are forgiven or not of our sins would determine our eternal destiny -- heaven or hell. The wage of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 6:23).
“Well,” others would say, “I have lived a good life. I have kept the commandments; therefore, I will be saved.” But is anyone really blameless? Is anyone really perfect? Can we find anyone sinless on the face of this earth? Jesus once asked a man, “Why do you call me good?” Then he proceeded to say, “No one is good but One, that is, God” (Luke 18:19). We are warned, “Whoever shall keep the whole law and yet stumble in one point is guilty of all” (James 2:10).
On the other hand, some may boast of their charitable works -- having helped him or her, gave this or that, done this or that, as though salvation depended on our piggy bank of good works. To do good is desirable, yet is there really anything of sufficient value that we can offer God in exchange of our salvation? Isaiah declares, “… all our righteousness are like filthy rags” (Ch. 64 v. 6) before God’s perfect standards.
Given these, isn’t the way to salvation too difficult? Well, yes and no. Yes, if we will rely on our own merit and strength; no, if we will rely on God. Jesus said, “The things which are impossible with men are possible with God (Luke 18:27).”
So what must we do to be saved? John 3:16 says it beautifully, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”
Salvation comes only from believing in the Lord Jesus Christ, repenting for one’s sins and believing in the sufficiency and efficacy of Christ’s sacrificial death on the cross as a substitute for the punishment that we ourselves deserve for our transgressions. It is thus a favor we do not merit but which we can freely accept in faith. Ephesians 2:8-9 captures it all, “It is by grace that you are saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.”
Does this mean that good works are no longer necessary in a Christian’s life? Or can anyone go on sinning after being saved? The answer to these two questions is a No, No. These, we will explore in my next article.
Suffice it to say for now that: “…God demonstrates his own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).
Published in the Sun.Star Pampanga newspaper on August 16, 2012.