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What is this "being saved" all about?

By Dr. David Skorupa, Pastor, Pine Grove Baptist Church

First, let's face a difficult but important reality: No one can earn his or her way into Heaven.

As you're reading this, you need to know that no matter how wonderful a work you perform for others, no matter how pure or moral you attempt to live this life, there are still problems and mistakes and deliberate actions in your past which keep you from being perfect and pure. That's God's standard - perfect holiness and absolute obedience - because HE IS perfect and holy.

In this life, unfortunately, you've made decisions which result in thoughts and deeds that are against God and His standard of holiness and perfection. In short, no one is perfect, everyone sins, so everyone is a sinner. (Yes, that includes the writer of this text, and remember, it includes you, too.)

As a sinner, you do not have any ability to earn your way to be with the Lord when you die. You're already imperfect and you cannot change that. What's done is done. God’s perfect and holy dwelling will not be tainted by having people there who have rejected Him through sin, and came up short (way short) of perfection.

Sinners must be saved from our sinful condition to have any hopes of being with God in eternity. The only way you can be rescued from your sinful state is for the Lord God, Himself, to rescue you.

We are very thankful that God created a plan to rescue you. It is shared in His Word, the Bible.
His plan is incredible, dramatic, and reality-changing. He came to earth as a man, yet was still God, and was known as Jesus of Nazareth. He was miraculously born to a virgin girl, grew, and lived life perfectly, without sin. He proved He was God through His perfect life, the matchless wisdom of His teachings, and many, many miracles. He was condemned as a criminal by jealous and fearful men, despite the fact that He was completely innocent of any wrongdoing. He died a horrible, cruel death on a cross, but for a reason: to pay the penalty for our sins. Then, God proved that everything Jesus said and did was true by raising Him from the dead. He later ascended to Heaven, and He has told us He is coming again. We anxiously await that glorious day. 

Now, about that plan which can save you: The Bible repeats the importance for people to be saved by putting their faith and trust in the only Son of God, Jesus Christ, the Lord. “Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12). Jesus, the Son of God, came to this earth and lived the perfect, sinless life we have not lived ourselves. He died as an innocent man and paid the penalty for our guilty, sinful lives.

God provides regenerative power to a person so they can hear this Good News, believe it, recognize and repent of their sins, turn away from them, and put their faith and trust in Jesus Christ as God and His sacrificial death for us. When this happens, a person is "saved." God recognizes saved people as ones Jesus died for - people He rescued - and we become part of the family of God, citizens of His Kingdom, to be with Him for all eternity.

People who are saved begin to change, and continue to change. Over time, he or she is transformed into a person who increasingly sees Jesus as Lord of their decisions, their actions, and their very lives. The ultimate transformation will take place when He comes again at the End Times, changing their minds, hearts, and bodies in such a way that there will be no more temptations to sin.

The faith required for salvation is a gift from God. The Bible tells us “for by grace you have been saved through  faith, and not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast” (Ephesians 2:8). We were not good enough, smart enough, or wise enough to be saved in our own strength. No one "deserves" to be saved. All credit, all honor, and all glory for anyone’s salvation belongs to God alone. Evangelists and preachers sharing the Gospel cannot take any credit for someone's salvation, either - they are simply relaying messages from the Bible, which is inspired by God the Holy Spirit and has been preserved by the Lord’s power through the ages.

When a person has saving faith, and as God changes them, they desire to perform good works in thanksgiving or celebration for what God has done (this is a major theme in the Book of James). The two ideas are linked: true faith results in a desire to perform good works, and good works which truly honor God are only possible because saving faith is present. The good works do not save a person, yet one major result of saving faith is good works.

Ultimately, we can only be saved by God alone. May we praise Jesus Christ for what He has done, what He is doing, and what He will do in times to come!

If you have any questions about salvation in Jesus Christ, please contact the church and one of our leaders will be very happy to speak with you.

“May the Lord bring you into the fullness of His salvation for His honor and glory! Amen.”

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