As a retired pastor I am still amazed at the number of people who came forward week after week repenting of sins and seeking salvation. It was often the same people week after week. No matter how much I preached it, no matter how much I taught it, so many never seemed grasp the idea that the cleansing of sins, salvation, and righteousness are free gifts given to us by our Father.
People would cry, “I’ve been seeking after God for years. I’ve laid at the altar and pleaded over and over for God to guide me, to save me, to help me, and nothing happened. I leave the altar the same poor sinner as when I went up there.”
My heart breaks for any and all who labor under such beggarly results.
My mind would scream as my voice would say, “Salvation is a gift. It isn’t necessary for you to go anywhere to get it. You can find it anywhere. It isn’t what you do, it’s what Jesus has done. All there is to getting saved and to becoming a child of God is to receive something for free. You can’t earn it by doing anything.”
Most of us have been taught and have accepted that it was all about giving up, surrendering, and confessing sins. It isn’t. It is receiving Jesus Christ as our Savior and confessing Him as our Lord.
I have had people say, “It can’t be that simple.”
It is that simple. It’s free and it’s available to everyone, everywhere, at all times.
Some have asked, “But don’t we have to do something about our sins?”
No, He has done everything that ever could be done. And this isn’t some new teaching or revelation. Our Father God told us about it through His prophet Isaiah long ago, “We’re all like sheep who’ve wandered off and gotten lost. We’ve all done our own thing, gone our own way. And God has piled all our sins, everything we’ve done wrong, on him, on him.”
This is speaking about all of us. We have all gone our own way, done what we wanted without any reference to what God wanted us to do. We were stubborn and willful yet the Father laid the penalty for all that on Jesus. Notice there was nothing we had to do to save or help ourselves.
So how do we get from knowing this in our heads to having this become life in our hearts? John tells us, “as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name.”
Once again we do nothing except receive a free gift.
John also tells us “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.” This is the Father giving His Son Jesus as our substitute, as our Savior and all He asks is that we accept Him for what He said He is. There is nothing for us to do except believe that He paid the debt owed for our sin and that He rose from the Dead to bring us life. Or as Paul put it, “who was delivered up because of our offenses, and was raised because of our justification.”
God delivered Jesus to pay the punishment for our sins and He was raised from the dead when He had paid the full measure, and all we have to do is accept that. We don’t have to do anything to earn what He has already paid for.
Paul sums it all up well in the next verse when he says, “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Now besides salvation we have peace. There is nothing standing between us and God we are at peace and still there is nothing for us to do is there?
Paul tells us as clearly as can be how this all comes about and what the result is when he says, “that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.”
Look at that a little closer: when we confess with our mouth that Jesus is Lord that should be the end of us going our own way and doing our own thing. If you’re anything like I was before I did this that shouldn’t be too hard considering where our own choices and our own things have brought us. In other words if I relinquish being the Lord of my life and give that place to Jesus I will no longer be separated from God and I will become His child, a member of His family with all the rights and responsibilities that means.
If we do this what does the Word say? It says that we will be saved. When does it say we will be saved? It happens as soon as we believe. This isn’t pie-in-the-sky. This is here and now reality. What does the Word say we are when we believe? It says we are now children of God. Does that mean now or someday way over there in the future when we get to heaven? No it says we have it now even if we don’t know fully what that means. Or, as John put it, “now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.”
How do we know all this is true? How do we know that as soon as we confess and believe we are born again into a new life right here right now? John tells us, “These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life.”
Having learned this do you believe in the Name of Jesus?
If you do then you have eternal life. Eternal life is the nature of God. That means you now have the nature of God. You are no longer a fallen sinner who needs to beg forgiveness you are filled with the very nature of God. Peter put it very clearly when he said, “by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.” That corruption is spiritual death and we have escaped it by receiving the divine nature: eternal life.
So don’t fall into the trap of thinking you have to get good enough to get saved, or to see your life change. None of us could ever be that good. It isn’t about what we do. It’s about what He has done. It isn’t about who we are. It’s all about who He is. He paid the price. He purchased the freedom of all humans from the grip of Satan, and he extends that freely to all who believe He is who He said He is, that He rose from the dead and that He is the Savior of all who believe in Him.
Come on. It’s free and it’s yours for the taking. Why wait another moment. You can have it right here right now. Confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead and it’s yours.
Got it? Done it? Now tell someone. Shout it from the rooftops you are a child of God living an eternal life in fellowship with our Father. Welcome to the family.
Dr. Owens teaches History, Political Science, and Religion. He is the Historian of the Future @ http://drrobertowens.com © 2018 Contact Dr. Owens [email protected] Follow Dr. Robert Owens on Facebook or Twitter @ Drrobertowens or visit Dr. Owens Amazon Page / Edited by Dr. Rosalie Owens