There is something that I have occasionally struggled with in my own life as a Christian. I’m finding that it is not uncommon: Mention it in a group of Christians and most will nod in understanding. It’s the idea of wondering if I am really, really saved. What if I don’t have enough faith, or haven’t fully repented — maybe there is still a sin or two that I kind of like — or I didn’t pray exactly right or I don’t feel spiritual or loving. What if it didn’t “take” and I’m fooling myself?
These doubts, as I said, are not uncommon. My answer to them for myself boils down to “God is holding me. He has been ever since I first asked Him to when I was six years old 1. He will be throughout eternity. I don’t have to worry about whether my grip is strong enough to hold onto Him.”
Here are some things the Bible says are required in order to be saved. Careful: It’s difficult…..
- Acknowledge that I need to be saved.
- Choose Jesus to be my Savior.
That’s it. From that choice on until eternity, Jesus is my Savior and God is holding onto me.
Let’s expand on those two points for a bit. This isn’t to add more requirements. Rather, it is to emphasize that, although the requirements are simple, they aren’t casual. They involve real commitment.
Acknowledge that I need to be saved.
To make that acknowledgement,
- I need to know that God exists and that I owe my own existence to Him.
- I need to know, and admit, that I’ve screwed up. I have sinned, rebelling against God and acting as if I don’t owe Him anything. I have tried to be my own god, making myself the final arbiter of whether my actions are correct or not.
- I need to know that I am incapable of fixing the situation myself. I am hopeless on my own, forever alienated from the Source of everything that would make me complete and fulfilled.
- I need to want that situation to be corrected.
Choose Jesus to be my Savior.
To choose Jesus,
- I need to know who He is: God Himself, come into the world to make reconciliation possible.
- I need to know that His sacrifice works, that what happened on the cross that day will accomplish the goal of erasing my sin and reconciling me to God.
- I need to know that He is alive. He didn’t stay in the grave after being crucified. He rose in power and victory over Satan, sin, and death.
- A normal, mortal — and dead — man isn’t much of a Savior!
- I need to decline any other offers of salvation. I can’t hedge my bets, trying to have “Jesus and ….”.
- I need to just jump in, and fully depend on Him alone. Ask Him to save me, and trust that He has done so the instant I asked.
Now it’s all on Him.
At this point, He’s got me and He promises that He won’t let go. My salvation is as sure as He is.
That continues to be true even when I doubt. It continues to be true even when I sin. It continues to be true despite anything I could ever do…because it doesn’t depend on me. Everything depends on Him, and it is impossible for Him to fail or to break His promise.
Here are some Scriptures that reinforce that promise.
- John 1:12-13 “…as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God…“
- John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.“
- John 10:27-30 “…no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand…”
- John 11:23-27 “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies, and everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die.“
- Acts 16:31 “…Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved…“
- Romans 8:35-39 “[nothing] will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.“
- Romans 10:9-11 “…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…Whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved.“
- Hebrews 7:24-25 “…he is able to save completely 2 those who come to God through him…“
- 1 Peter 1:3-5 “…born again…to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable…protected by the power of God“
Here is a link to other articles on this site that discuss this topic of Jesus as Savior.
Jesus’ parable found in Luke 18:9-14 describes how simply acknowledging need and asking for help is all that is required. The pharisee in the story prayed thanks that he was such a good guy. After all, he did all sorts of good stuff, followed all the rules. In contrast, the tax collector just prayed “God, be merciful to me, the sinner!” Jesus said that the one who knew he needed mercy, and asked for it, went home justified while the self-righteous one did not 3.
In this scene from The Chosen, Simon (Peter) has been angry at Jesus. Simon’s wife Eden has had a miscarriage. Simon knows that Jesus has the power to prevent that, but chose not to. Simon’s anger has interfered with his relationship with Jesus. Against that backdrop, we have the scene where Jesus walks on water. Simon starts to him across that water, sees the waves, gets frightened, and starts to sink. Jesus rescues him. Simon’s reaction is “Please don’t let me go”. Jesus’ answer: “I’m here, and I always will be.”
(Meanwhile, in the interlaced scene, Eden is also healing, via a Jewish purification rite where she dips under water while expressing her faith in God.)
Like Simon Peter, I can just ask Jesus “Don’t let me go”. He won’t!
Footnotes and Scripture References
- At six, I didn’t know a lot of theology. All I knew was that Jesus wanted me to invite Him into my life, and I did so.
That was enough. I was born again, and cannot be un-born. Although, hopefully I will keep growing and maturing as any child does.
But even an immature person, or one with any number of defects, is still a living person. That holds true in spiritual life as it does in physical life.
- Some translations say “to the uttermost”.
- To his listeners, that was shocking. The pharisees were the height of religious “perfection”, while tax collectors were universally reviled.