Jesus came to make salvation as easy as He could. That's one reason why the religious leaders of His day wanted to see Him crucified, because their religious system as good as said that nobody could be saved without following their complicated laws, traditions, and religious rigmarole (Matthew 15:9). Jesus taught that all we need to do to be saved is believe that He is the Christ, the Savior, and that we are sinners in need of salvation, and then ask Him for salvation (John 11:25-26).
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" (Matthew 18:3). It's impossible to fully comprehend either one. All we can do is receive them. 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's just that wonderful!
Jesus said, "I am the door" into the Father's house, the kingdom of God. "If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved" (John 10:9). 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 (Isaiah 59:2), and no one is perfect; we are all sinners. The Bible says, "All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23) and, "The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Jesus Christ our Lord" (Romans 6:23).
It's impossible to get into Heaven by being good, because no one can be good enough (Galatians 2:16). 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" (1 John 1:7), 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" (Isaiah 1:18).
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" (Ephesians 2:8-9).
No amount of good works or anything else can save us. Only Jesus saves! "For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus" (1 Timothy 2:5). "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).
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" (John 6:37). 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" (John 3:36). Right now! No ifs, ands, or buts about it!
Jesus said, "I am with you always, even unto the end of the world" (Matthew 28:20 KJV). "I will never leave you nor forsake you" (Hebrews 13:5). "I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand" (John 10:28).
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" (Hebrews 12:6 NIV). And once in Heaven, you'll be rewarded (or not) according to how you lived on earth (2 Corinthians 5:10; 1 Corinthians 3:11-15). 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 (John 3:3-8). 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" (2 Corinthians 5:17). 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 (Matthew 5:6; John 8:31-32). 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!" (1 John 4:8).
Jesus said, "Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me" (Revelation 3:20). God's love is all-powerful, but He won't force it on you. Instead, He sends His Son, Jesus, to knock at the door of your heart and then wait for you to open the door and invite Him in.
Jesus wants to give you eternal life and become a very real part of your life here and now, but He can't do either unless you want Him to. He stands meekly and patiently at your heart's door—perhaps He has been standing there for years—waiting for you to hear Him knocking and open. He wants to be your Savior and will come in as soon as you ask Him to, but He has left that choice up to you.
Will you accept Jesus Christ as your personal Savior? If you haven't already or if you're not sure that you're saved, you can make sure right now by sincerely praying this prayer:
Jesus, please forgive me for all my sins. I believe that You died for me. I open the door to my heart and I invite You into my life. Please fill me with Your love, help me get to know You, and guide me in the way of truth. Amen.
If you prayed that prayer and meant it, Jesus has already come in. You have eternal life and have just embarked on this life's greatest adventure—experiencing God's love in Jesus and growing in His ways and wisdom.
For more articles from David Brandt Berg, visit his website.