We can’t completely understand salvation, any more than we can understand the depth of God’s love, which is why Jesus said that receiving salvation requires childlike faith. “Unless you become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of Heaven.” It’s impossible to fully comprehend either one. All we can do is receive them.
Does a baby understand the love of its mother or father? No, he just feels it, accepts it, and receives it. Even before he understands language, before he learns to talk, he understands love, he feels love, and he trusts his parents because he knows they love him. Likewise, you don’t have to understand everything about God to experience His love and salvation; all you have to do is receive Jesus, God’s Son, as your Savior by asking Him into your heart.
You can do that right now if you want God’s answer to all of your problems and His love and happiness to fill your heart and life with joy and with a new plan and purpose in living. He’ll meet all your needs and solve all your problems. He’s just that wonderful, and it’s all just that simple!
Jesus said, “I am the door” into the Father’s house, the kingdom of God. “If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved.” If you want to get into Heaven, all you have to do is believe that the door is there and walk through it.
Saved and forgiven
Why is forgiveness an integral part of salvation? Because sin separates us from God, and no one is perfect; we are all sinners. The Bible says, “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” and, “The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Jesus Christ our Lord.”
So-called good people pride themselves on being better than others. “I don’t do this, and I don’t do that!” But it’s impossible to get into Heaven by being good, because no one can be good enough. We all need to recognize and honestly admit, “I’m a sinner like everyone else. I make mistakes. I need a Savior.”
That’s why Jesus died for us, because we’re all sinners and it’s impossible for us to earn or be worthy of salvation. But Jesus was perfect, and that’s why He could pay the price of our sins so God could forgive us. We all need God’s love and mercy to be saved, and we find that love and mercy in Jesus Christ.
Salvation is like receiving a pardon. God has offered pardon to the guilty, and it doesn’t matter how bad you are or what you’ve done. If you believe that Jesus died for your salvation, you will be saved and forgiven. “The blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin,” no matter what you’ve done! “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall be as wool.”
You can’t be too bad, but you also can’t be good enough. You cannot save yourself, no matter how good you try to be, because you can never be good enough; you can never earn or deserve salvation. “By grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.”
Many people are too proud to accept a gift. They want to work for everything they receive. But no amount of good works or anything else can save them. Only Jesus saves! “For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus.” “Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under Heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”
Once saved, forever saved
Once you have received Jesus, He will never let go of you. “The one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out.” If you have Jesus, then you have eternal life. You may lose your physical life, but never your eternal life!
Salvation is forever. God doesn’t change His mind or go back on His word. Once you’ve received Jesus Christ, you’re going to live forever. “He who believes on the Son has everlasting life.” Right now! No ifs, ands, or buts about it!
Jesus said, “I am with you alway[s], even unto the end of the world.” “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” “I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand.”
You can have peace of mind knowing that you don’t have to worry about whether you’re going to make it to Heaven. Jesus paid for your salvation once and forever, and it’s His gift to you. Grace plus faith plus nothing—that’s salvation! You don’t have to be good to get saved, and you don’t have to be good to stay saved.
But this doesn’t mean that you can then live as you please. Once you’re saved, you’ll always be saved, but if you wilfully commit sins and don’t repent, you will suffer for them in some way. “The Lord disciplines those He loves.” And once in Heaven, you’ll be rewarded (or not) according to how you lived on earth. Salvation is a gift, but you can keep yourself in line for God’s other blessings, both in this life and the next, by doing your best to live as He would have you live. And if you appreciate that gift as you should, you’ll love and want to please Him in return.
A new you
Jesus likened salvation to being born again. It’s that big of a change spiritually. “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” Don’t be surprised if you actually feel different and think differently and are happier than you have ever been before!
Jesus’ coming into your life not only renews and purifies and regenerates your spirit, but it also renews your mind, breaking old connections and gradually rewiring you with a new outlook on life and new reactions to nearly everything around you. It’s impossible for you to make such a total change yourself, but it’s possible for God—and it’s possible for you to ask Him for it.
When Jesus comes into your heart, expect things to be different. It may not happen all at once, but as you continue to hunger for truth and take in more of God’s Word, it will happen. You’ll find a change in your spirit, your thoughts, and in your direction. You’ll be happy and overflowing with love, because “God is love!”
Romans 6:23 (ESV) For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Galatians 2:16 (ESV) yet we know that a person is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, so we also have believed in Christ Jesus, in order to be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the law, because by works of the law no one will be justified.
1 John 1:7 (ESV) But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.