We have been talking the past few weeks about how simple the Good News of the gospel is. Salvation is never a matter of getting saved and then doing our own thing. Once we are saved by believing in Jesus, we are expected to live our lives in his service. With our sins forgiven, we are truly free to serve God. The Lord becomes the Master and we become servants.
He commands us, first of all, to be baptized (Acts 2:38). However, our outlook on good works has been drastically changed. We no longer do good works in an attempt to please God. We do good works in response to God’s great saving mercy toward us, and in response to his wishes. We could never repay him for his goodness to us.
Salvation by grace and through faith is definitely not of works. Even our faith is a gift from God, as scripture says: “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast” (Eph. 2:8-9). There is no room then for boasting in what we are, or what we have done. We can only boast in the Lord Jesus who has made the free gift possible.
When Jesus died on the cross he scored a complete victory over the devil and over sin. When he arose from the dead, his victory over death was likewise completed. In our own lives when sin rears its ugly head, as it surely will, the Lord has already given us the victory.
The Bible says, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” (1 Jn. 1:9). Just as Jesus was raised from the grave to have complete dominion over death, we will likewise be raised. Rom. 6:4 says, “We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life
What a simple salvation! Let us keep it that way. By doing so, our lives should always be full of praise and not of condemnation. We will be able to say with the Paul in 1 Cor. 15:57, “But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
James Boice recounts in Romans (p,326) how he asked a dance instructor: “If in the next few moments should you be killed and find yourself before God and he should ask you, ‘What right do you have to come into my heaven?’ what would you say?”
The question confounded the dance instructor. He had never heard such a question before. He realized that he didn’t have an answer. His mouth was stopped. He sat silently while the gospel was explained. The dance instructor put his trust in Jesus Christ that day in his hotel room.
His name was D. James Kennedy. He went on to become the pastor of the Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. He also developed the Evangelism Explosion program that has led thousands to Christ by asking that same question: “If you were to die today and God asked you, ‘Why should I let you into my heaven?’
What would you say if you were asked that question today? I hope you can give the simple answer of salvation.