Not by Works – Be Assured, Not Worked Up?

“For just as through the disobedience of the one man (Adam) the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man (Jesus) the many will be made righteous..” (Romans 5:19)

I remember well the moment I surrendered to the call of God and placed my trust in Christ. I couldn’t tell you the date, but the moment itself is clear in my mind. I trust that at that very moment my life changed immeasurably and completely as I found myself transferred from the domain of darkness into the Kingdom of God’s Son (Colossians 1:13-14). According to Scripture, at that moment I became a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17) and received the Holy Spirit within me as a down payment for my eventual full inheritance (Ephesians 1:13-14), our complete redemption. Hallelujah!

In the early years, however, knowing this did not prevent me from doubting my salvation at times. I figured that if I had become a good person, when I behaved badly, said a cross word or didn’t pray enough, I had to question the validity of my Christianity.

Some will question their assurance of salvation based on whether they said the right words when they prayed the prayer of commitment; Some will worry that they might have missed a sin when they repented, as though God couldn’t forgive a sin unless you can remember to confess it; some will doubt their salvation because they can’t shake mental or physical illness; some doubt because of unanswered prayer; the loss of a loved one; because of backsliding. Some believe it depends on baptism, speaking in tongues, having a testimony, staying faithful, attending church, praying, reading your Bible, obeying rules and many other things they did or did not do (think about the thief on the cross; he could do none of these things).

“And [the thief on the cross] was saying, “Jesus, remember me when You come in Your kingdom!” 43 And He said to him, “Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise.”” (Luke 23:42-43)

And therein lies the problem: all these things depend upon you and something you have to do or say. If salvation depends on us doing anything, we will have earned it for ourselves. This would make salvation relative to each person and according to their different actions, how many and how well they performed them. Most of the things listed may well be good things, but none of them are conditional to salvation, since salvation doesn’t depend on us at all.

So, what are we to rely upon, and how are we to be saved?

Who and Why?

God initiates the means of salvation, because He wants to renew and restore things to their proper state. Only God Himself was able to bear the judgement sin requires; only God Himself would be able to live the perfect life that we became unable to live and to be the perfect sacrifice, we are unable to make in order to be saved. That’s why it had to be Jesus, the perfect representation of all that God is and the perfect representation of all that man should have been.

What, Where and When?

Jesus died on a cross, was buried and resurrected to life again (in Jerusalem, two millennia ago). What He accomplished there and then was enough. We need not add anything to it in our day, but our turning to Him in faith and trust.

And How?

We are to trust in all that He accomplished on the cross, in Jerusalem, two millennia ago – not in anything we can, or cannot, do or say today. We trust in that one act, by faith, by believing that He is who He says He is and in trusting that He has paid the price for our sins. All we are required to do, is realise we are sinners who need to be saved and then trust in Him for the forgiveness of our sins. It doesn’t matter what words one uses, if any, since the transaction takes place in one’s heart. Before someone has determined to confess with their mouth, the heart has already believed.

“For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are His workmanship” (Ephesians 2:8-9)

As you can see, we don’t trust in a prayer or an act we performed on a specific date or time to ‘become a Christian’, but we look to an act that already took place, was sufficient and was carried through by God Himself at a specific point in time and space (Jerusalem, 2000 years ago), and we trust in that.

“Therefore let it be known to you, brothers, that through this one forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you, and by this one everyone who believes is justified from everything from which the law of Moses could not justify you.” (Acts 13:38-39)

If you ever find yourself doubting your salvation, feeling that you are not doing enough and don’t ‘feel’ very Christian, then look to the cross and remember its sufficiency and rely upon Christ instead.

Be at rest, assured of His sufficient grace.

1 Comment

  1. Amen Paul Praise be to our Lord and Saviour 🙏🙏🙏✝️✝️✝️Sent from my Huawei phone


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