There are some things we simply cannot do for ourselves, yet without our “assistance,” it won’t succeed. For example, last week I had surgery on my right shoulder. I certainly couldn’t fix my own right shoulder, so I just laid there (asleep) and let the medical team do their thing. (BTW, the last thing you want to hear as you go to sleep is, “OK, play that YouTube clip about how to do this.”)
The doctors did their work, but there are certain things I’m expected to do to ensure the surgery “sticks.” For the shoulder to remain fixed, I need to slow down a bit, let it heal, go to physical therapy, and stop moving grand pianos by myself. (It happens.)
A lot of people have the same expectation about salvation. Jesus does the main work, but there’s something they’re also supposed to do to gain salvation. We might expect that view from the general population or from those attending mainline, liberal churches, but 41 percent of those in evangelical churches hold this view. Let me state that again. Even among Christians associated with churches whose doctrine includes embracing Jesus Christ as Savior, 41 percent believe they’ve also got to do something to get to heaven. [Source]
No. You. Don’t. Jesus did it all.
Don’t take my word for it. The apostle Paul said,
“For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed—a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: ‘The righteous will live by faith’“ (Rom. 1:17 NIV).
Your salvation is totally by faith—from first to last. You don’t start with faith and then build on it with your efforts. Salvation is totally by faith. Period.
To be sure, righteous living and good works will flow out of your salvation, but in no way do they add to your salvation. I want to do what is holy and right—it’s a part of who I am now in Christ—but I don’t try to manufacture those efforts in order to “clinch the deal” of my salvation. Salvation is all by faith—from beginning to end.
Just as we cannot save ourselves, we cannot live the Christian life ourselves. Even as we trust Jesus to save us, we are to trust Him to live through us and work through us.
“So then, just as you have received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to walk in him” (Col. 2:6).
How did you receive Jesus? By faith.
How do you live the Christian life? Same answer: by faith.
There’s nothing you can do to make Jesus love you anymore than He already does, and there’s nothing you can do to make yourself anymore “saved” than you already are! When you trust wholly in Christ, you are wholly saved!
Thank Him for His grace. And rest in that grace.
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