There’s Nothing You Can Do
If you realize that you are a sinner and you’d like to “make things right” between you and God, there’s really nothing you can do to be saved.
Can you “give your life to Christ” to be saved? No.
Can you “make Jesus Lord of your Life” to be saved? No.
Can you “turn from sin” to be saved? No.
Can you “follow Jesus” to be saved? No.
Can you “ask Jesus into your heart” to be saved? No.
Can you “get yourself right with God” to be saved? No.
Well, then what can you do to get saved? Nothing.
All of these things involve the person doing something. Giving one’s life, making Jesus into something, changing direction, following someone, asking for something, cleaning one’s self up. All of these actions are righteous works that man naturally assumes to be what God requires for salvation. But does He?
The Bible says salvation is NOT by good works that man does.
“Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, … ” (Titus 3:5 )
So what is it that enables man to be saved? If the works we do are not what matters, then what does?
The Bible says what matters is not what we DO, but rather what we BELIEVE.
“But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.” (Romans 4:5 )
This verse shows us that it is not about anything that we do that saves us. It is about us believing what someone else has done. But isn’t “believing” also something that we do? Isn’t that a work we do too? No, actually believing is not something we do, at least not according to God’s word. That same verse shows us clearly that God considers “working” and “believing” to be opposites. “to him that worketh not, BUT believeth”. God wrote this verse in the way He did to demonstrate to us that in His way of thinking, believing is opposite of working. Just like when we say, “not up, but down” and “not in, but out”we display opposites.
The Bible tells us that believing is the one thing we can do without doing anything. Believing what God tells us He has done is not a work which we have done. It is more of a way that expresses our agreement with God and admitting that we can do nothing to save ourselves and are therefore dependent upon Him to supply our salvation for us.
“For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe. That no flesh should glory in his presence. But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.” (1 Corinthians 1:21, 29-31 )
God says He saves “them that believe” and then adds “that no flesh should glory in his presence”. So you see, anything that we do is not even in the picture. It says, “of him” you are in Christ. “of him” means the work and accomplishment of Christ is what places us into the body of Christ… What allows us to have salvation from sin. It is ALL and ONLY about what He did for us that God asks us to believe in order to be saved.
When God saves us He makes us into something entirely new… A new creation in Christ. And this happens not by anything we do, but only as a result of His efforts… His work… His workmanship:
“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:10 )
So the good things that man thinks he must do to get saved are actually what God says are what He planned for us to be about only after we are saved. The verse says we are created in Christ Jesus UNTO good works and not BECAUSE OF them.
The Bible says that God receives all the glory in doing the work of saving man and “That no flesh should glory in his presence. ” and “That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord. ” And in the book of Isaiah it says of God, “and I will not give my glory unto another.” (Isaiah 48: 11 ) So when man attempts to do anything that he thinks will get him saved in God’s eyes, he is really inadvertently attempting to steal glory from God. And it is also subtly suggesting that Christ’s work on the cross for us is somehow insufficient. But there is a reason that Jesus Christ is referred to as our “Savior” … It’s because He is the one that does the saving. A baker does the baking, a tailor does the tailoring, the savior does the saving.
The Bible tells us that when we believe what God says He did for us, we are “trusting Christ”. It also clearly tells us what the process is that enables us to believe…
“That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ. In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.” (Ephesians 1:10-14 )
It tells us that when we hear the gospel (the wonderful news about what Jesus Christ did for man on the cross) and believe it, we are sealed with the holy Spirit… And that the Spirit is like a receipt we have from God that shows we have been purchased by God and now belong to Him.
The Bible says there is nothing we can do ourselves to get saved, and that we merely need to trust Christ for what He did for us. But man often finds that hard to believe and thinks it can’t be that simple. He then devises what he thinks salvation should involve, and in essence creates another Jesus and another gospel.
“But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him.” (2 Corinthians 11:3, 4 )
The many ways man thinks he can get saved which were listed in the first paragraph are examples of what God calls “another gospel” and “another Jesus”. The Bible says the preaching of those corrupted messages are a result of Satans beguiling subtilty and are not the simple gospel He wants us to be speaking today. Those other messages result in a confusing gospel presentation and unfortunately actually prevent people from being saved. That is why in the opening of that verse, the Apostle Paul says “I FEAR” and why we too should be fearful of presenting what he calls a corrupted gospel.