There are many misconceptions about man’s need for God and God’s provision of salvation. It is vital to understand the truth about these issues, because the most important decision a person will ever make is the decision to accept or reject Jesus Christ as Savior.
May God grant you wisdom to understand the truth about His nature and your nature, so that you will respond to Him with repentance and faith.
Isn’t man basically good?
Actually, every person is a sinner by birth and by choice. At the beginning of time, the first man and woman (Adam and Eve) disobeyed God’s Law. Every person since then has made the same choice to go his own way. Each one has missed the mark of God’s holiness. Even though a person may do many “good” things, he cannot deny that he also has chosen to do evil. The human heart is inherently selfish, and it, by nature, greedily seeks to satisfy its own needs without caring for the needs of others.
“As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: there is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. . . . For all have sinned, and come short of [failed to meet the excellence of] the glory of God” (Romans 3:10–11, 23).
“The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good. The Lord looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, and seek God. They are all gone aside, they are all together become filthy: there is none that doeth good, no, not one” (Psalm 14:1–3).
Won’t the “good Lord” overlook my faults?
God is righteous and just, and He will not excuse or overlook sin. The penalty for sin—any sin—is spiritual death (eternal separation from Him).
God required a sacrifice to pay the price for our redemption from eternal condemnation—but the price was so great that no man could pay it. God’s own Son, Jesus Christ, suffered a torturous death as He took upon Himself the fury of God’s wrath against sin. Only Christ’s perfect sacrifice makes salvation possible. (See Romans 3:23–26.)
“For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 6:23).
“For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all” (James 2:10).
If I try to do my best, won’t God let me into Heaven?
God is holy. He will not abide with sin. Man’s rebellion against Him cannot be left unpunished. The “good” things someone does cannot begin to compensate for his sin. No one can achieve the perfection God requires. Only the sinless sacrifice of Jesus Christ can make the provision for one’s salvation.
“We are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away. And there is none that calleth upon thy name, that stirreth up himself to take hold of thee: for thou hast hid thy face from us, and hast consumed us, because of our iniquities” (Isaiah 64:6–7).
“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast” (Ephesians 2:8–9).
Does God really love me?
God demonstrated His love for mankind by sending His Son to pay the penalty for man’s sin. Through Christ’s agonizing death on the cross and His glorious resurrection and victory over death, the vast extent of God’s willingness to display His glory and redeem mankind has been revealed.
“In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation [atonement; satisfactory payment] for our sins” (I John 4:9–10).
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved” (John 3:16–17).
Must I trust in God—don’t I just need to have faith in myself?
Salvation comes through faith in Jesus Christ and His finished work on the cross. Yet, this faith is not our faith, but faith that Jesus Christ Himself has imparted to each one who will receive it! God even gives us the faith to believe on Him. “Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ even we had believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified” (Galatians 2:16). Faith in one’s self alone will always be insufficient. “He that trusteth in his own heart is a fool” (Proverbs 28:26).
“I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: . . . that I may win Christ, and be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith” (Philippians 3:8–9).
“Thou hast known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus” (II Timothy 3:15).
“. . . God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth” (II Thessalonians 2:13).
Haven’t I always been a Christian?
Growing up in a Christian family or associating with other Christians does not automatically mean that a person is saved. Salvation occurs at a specific point in time. Only when someone responds to God’s invitation and believes in and receives Christ as Savior does he become a Christian. One must personally believe that Jesus is God’s Son and that He paid the debt of his sin.
“He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him” (John 3:36).
“[He] said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved? And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house” (Acts 16:30–31).
“If thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation” (Romans 10:9–10).
“This is the will of him that sent me [Jesus], that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day. . . . No man can come to me, except the Father which sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day” (John 6:40, 44).
Can I really know that I’m going to Heaven when I die?
A person can be confident that he will go to Heaven when he dies. Those who place their faith in Jesus Christ will find many promises in God’s Word that speak of their eternal destiny.
“He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself: he that believeth not God hath made him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of his Son. And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He that hath the Son hath life: and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life. These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God” (I John 5:10–13).
“My sheep [followers of Christ] hear my voice, and I [Jesus] know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand” (John 10:27–28).
The Truth Shall Make You Free
Jesus said to those who believed in Him, “If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; and ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free [liberate you from sin]” (John 8:31–32).
In summary, this is the truth of God’s Word:
- Every person is a sinner.
- The just penalty for sin is spiritual death (eternal separation from God).
- No one can “earn” his way into Heaven by his own virtue or goodness.
- God loves each person and has provided salvation for every one through His Son, Jesus Christ.
- God sent Jesus to pay the penalty for sin, so that anyone could be forgiven of his sin.
- As a person receives Jesus’ gift of salvation and puts his faith in Him, God will save him from the penalty of his sin.
- As a child of God, a person can know that he will go to Heaven when he dies.
“For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour: Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; Who gave himself a ransom for all” (I Timothy 2:4–6).
Believe God’s Word. Acknowledge your need for Christ. Repent and be saved—today!