Salvation is a beautiful thing– the greatest of all gifts. But the reality of it… that is, at the very least, hard to grasp sometimes.
I kept asking myself: what if I forgot something? What if I didn’t say the right things? What if Jesus doesn’t think I am being sincere enough? What if I can’t stop sinning and he tells me, “That’s enough! You’re never going to change so you don’t deserve my love and forgiveness!” What if… Those two words haunted me night in and night out. I had many sleepless nights thinking about the “what ifs” of Christianity that demons have thrown in my direction. I knew Jesus. I was/am saved. But I had no trust. I knew deep down that I deserved nothing. I could not forgive myself for the things I had done. How could the God of the Universe forgive me if even I can’t? Well let me tell you right now, He can. And He will.
I don’t know if you are in the shoes I once was. Maybe you are wondering if you’re truly saved. I’m going to walk through what it means to be saved– to be justified. It isn’t hard. A lot of people think it is. But before we start, take 10 seconds to stop reading and reflect… Are you 100% sure you are going to spend eternity with God when you die?
Picture this extreme illustration… you and a friend decide you are going to rob a bank. Times are tough and you could use the money. Besides, rich people have it so easy so you deserve that too. You break into the bank and ransack it. But while doing so, two cops pull up and there is a shoot-out. You and your friend kill some bystanders in the shoot-out and think you got away. But soon after, the local police show up and take you and your friend into custody. You are proven guilty in court under condemning video evidence. Guess what that means? You did the crime. You deserve the punishment.
But you plead with the judge, “Please, I am a good person. I have never done this before! Times were tough! I’m so sorry. I will never do it again.” What kind of judge would they be if they just said, “Okay I believe you. Even though you killed 2 people and robbed a bank, you’re free to go.” That is many things, but justice is not one of them. That judge, no matter how sorry you are, is going to have a sentence for you. Whether it be mild or severe, there is a punishment for what you earned. “Sorry” will not cut it. How “good of a person you were” doesn’t cut it. There must be judgment.
Hummer me further. You are guilty. You deserve punishment. So the judge says, “Life in prison, or I will give you fine of $3.3 trillion.” No one on this earth can ever pay that– not even remotely close.
But then a man comes into the courtroom. Let’s just call him Joshua, for example. He ponies up and pays the fine in cash, and you walk away a free man. Do you see where I’m going with this?
1. You have earned something.
The Bible says in Romans 3:23, “all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.” Romans 6:23 further says, “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Wages is an important word right there. When you go to work and earn your wage, you expect to be paid for those! Great news, then: you have earned a wage. Everyone on this earth has earned their wage. You have earned your wage, your payment. What wage is that? Well, look back at that verse above: death.
2. You are not a good person.
There is no such thing. Every single person who has ever walked this earth has committed sin. The Bible says in 1 John 1:8: “If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.” The first step is admitting you are a sinner and you need a Savior. Repent of your sins and follow Jesus. It kind of reminds me of fighting addictions. They always say the first step is admitting you have a problem. Well, I realized I had a problem I couldn’t solve. But the good news is there was a man who never did commit a sin who chose to die for mine. And He died and rose from the grave. There is only one who deserves to cast stones and judge, but instead He took the nails on the cross for you and me. That is love. He is love. When I came to the realization that I couldn’t earn Heaven but that it was the free gift of life, everything changed. My entire outlook on Christianity changed.
3. Your only hope is Jesus.
I know everything I have said up until this point has been gloomy and depressing it seems, but it is the truth. You may be wondering or thinking, “Okay, I am a sinner. I admit it. But how can I be saved?” I’m glad you asked. Romans 5:8 says, “But God demonstrates His love for us in this: while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Once I finally understood that I needed saving and Jesus offered it, it was easy from there. Romans 10:9-10: I encourage you to go read it. Verse 9 says “Whoever confesses with their mouth Jesus is Lord and truly believes that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved,” I cried out to Jesus. I asked Him to redeem my life. I trusted in his atoning sacrifice. He chose me, He moved me, He cleansed me. I have hope.
4. Keep pressing in… you can’t lose.
Once I was saved, it was not easy. The salvation part was, but the sanctification was not. I was not used to being different so I wanted to still live in the world. I messed up a lot. But God made a new creation in me. Put it this way. A pig rolls in the mud and a lamb belongs in the pasture. If a lamb makes its way to the mud and rolls around with the pigs, it is still a lamb. My identity in Christ never changed, I didn’t lose my salvation. I can’t. It’s impossible. I may have continued to sin because I am still caught up in this unwanted flesh. My soul is forever clean, but I still am human. But throughout my walk, I can 100% say sin is becoming less and less, as it should. My goal, as yours should be, as a Christian, is to pursue Christlikeness so much that we are nearly identical to Jesus. But guess what. We will never come even a fraction close to it. It is an impossible task that we still pursue. Why? Because we love Jesus. He did the work. He won the battle. Death is conquered. Why give the evil one any satisfaction? We obey Christ’s commands because as believers we are called to be different. We are to repent and walk in the light. The light has not overcome the darkness. Live like it, because you can’t work for it. It is free.
So let’s connect the story. Jesus is that man who paid my debt. Jesus walked this earth for about 33 years, lived a perfect life no one else could, died a death that I deserve, and rose from the grave 3 days later! How glorious is my God! What type of King would ever do such a thing? Only the King of Kings. And He did.
Jesus is calling you. God wants you to know Him and love Him. He longs for your heart today. I was on the road to hell like everyone is. Jesus offered another route that leads to eternal glory. He is the bridge connecting us to the Father. Take His road. Narrow is His way.
Once saved, always saved.
By grace alone. Through faith alone. In Christ alone.
Go live for Him.