It’s A God Thing

Last night I had a conversation with some folks, and it’s a repeated conversation I’ve had several times this week. It’s a disturbing conversation, but not an unexpected one. And the conversation revolves around a mistaken understanding of what the Bible says about being saved. Let’s recap what can’t get us to eternal salvation. First, and foremost, it’s not about how good we are. We simply aren’t good enough. I mean it both ways you can read it. We are evil too much. And we aren’t up to God’s standard for salvation. So this idea of being a generally good person doesn’t work. That’s why Christ asked:

And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good except God alone. – Luke 18:19, NASB

So if we try to argue with God that we’re basically good, he’s going to remind us that we aren’t. Only God is good. The rest of us don’t measure up to that standard. Second, salvation isn’t about making it to church every Sunday and tithing ten percent. Salvation isn’t through the things we do. It’s solely by the choice of God to save us. In discussing the point about what it takes to be acceptable before God, Paul makes this point:

So then it does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy. – Romans 9:16, NASB

and he reinforces his point shortly thereafter with:

What shall we say then? That Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, attained righteousness, even the righteousness which is by faith; but Israel, pursuing a law of righteousness, did not arrive at that law. Why? Because they did not pursue it by faith, but as though it were by works. – Romans 9:30-32a, NASB

It’s not about what we do. It never has been. So thoughts about good vs. bad or certain types of good are all irrelevant. We do nothing towards our own salvation. Now there is action on our part. Paul tells us this in Romans 10:

But what does it say? “THE WORD IS NEAR YOU, IN YOUR MOUTH AND IN YOUR HEART”–that is, the word of faith which we are preaching, that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation. – Romans 10:8-10, NASB

Those who feel the mercy of God will respond. We cannot but to do so. We will believe in our hearts and confess with our mouths, whatever the cost. Nothing is more precious or more important than Christ. And any ideas of salvation coming apart from Him or having something to do with more than just Him are mistaken according to the volume of Scripture. It’s just not so. Unfortunately, the world believes that we have a Gospel of works not of faith. The reason is because too many in the church believe it, too. They believe their outward actions determine their eternal destination. God determines it. He alone. And for those whom He calls, our hearts determine our response. We believe. And from that believing heart, we confess. It’s all about God and not a thing about us. Which is a good thing, too. Think about it for a second if any of us were in charge of any part of our own salvation. Would we really be so sure we could be saved?

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