Christianity is confusing sometimes. The message is often convoluted or contradictory. One church says this. Another says that. It causes a lack of assurance in God and His word. It creates inner conflict about what is right.
I remember listening to a popular evangelist who invited people to come to Jesus just as you are. In the next breath, he would tell you that you must repent of all your sins and commit your life to Christ.
Another well-known preacher writes, “Salvation isn’t the result of an intellectual exercise. It comes from a life lived in obedience and service to Christ as revealed in the Scripture; it’s the fruit of actions, not intentions”.
The message of commitment and repentance confused me. Do I come just as I am or do I have to clean up my life first? Am I living obediently? Am I serving enough? It made me question my relationship with God. Was I saved or not? It created fear rather than assurance.
Here are nine common things that people think will ‘help’ you get to heaven. Often churches outright or subtly teach such things.
- You must be a good person (You’re not and neither am I in comparison to God who is holy! Eccl. 7:20; Rom. 3:12)
- You must do good works. (Good works do not save and cannot take away the bad things that we do. Eph. 2:8, 9)
- You must obey the ten commandments. (No one can obey perfectly and God demands perfection. James 2:10; Gal. 3:10)
- You must repent of all your sins. (This is works of righteousness and we are not saved by our works. Titus 3:5; Rom. 3:10)
- You must be baptized. (The blood of Jesus washes away our sin; water doesn’t. (I Cor. 1:14, 17, 18; Eph. 1:7; Heb. 9:22; I Peter 1:18, 19)
- You must confess your sins. (One must simply admit to God that he or she is a helpless sinner. Rom. 3:23, 6:23)
- You must commit your life to Christ. (This should come after one is saved. It’s called sanctification. It requires understanding which does not occur immediately and it’s not required to receive or keep everlasting life. (Rom. 12:1, 2; John 8:31, 32)
- You must go to a certain church. (This doesn’t make one a Christian anymore than standing in the garage makes one a car. Gal. 3:26; Acts 20:28)
- Any combination of the above. (There’s only one gospel. I Cor. 15:3, 4; Gal. 1:6)
According to the Bible there is only one thing a person can do to get to heaven – BELIEVE. Faith in the person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ is all that is necessary to be delivered from the penalty of sin (John 3:16, 3:36, 6:47; Acts 4:12; Rom. 1:16; Eph. 2:8, 9). We can’t do anything to ‘help’ Jesus save us. And faith is not a work (Rom. 4:5).
It’s not about what you or I do. It’s all about what Jesus did. Forgiveness, perfect righteousness, and everlasting life all come from what Jesus Christ accomplished for us. They are simply received when a lost sinner trusts in Christ. Faith begins with the recognition and belief that I am what God says I am. I’m a lost and helpless sinner separated from my Creator in need of a Savior.
There is only one gospel of grace: “Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures” (I Cor. 15:3, 4). Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me” (John 14:6). Any addition to this is another gospel (Gal. 1:6-9).
Thank you for visiting assuranceofheaven.com . You are invited to follow as we continue to explore God’s amazing grace and eternal security for all who have believed the gospel!