All other religions ask the question, “What do I have to do to be saved?” Christianity is unique because it completely sets this question aside. Only in Christianity do we find that what we do has nothing to do with our salvation and cannot contribute to it. The gospel is not what we do or don’t do, the gospel is about what God has DONE. This is the good news of the gospel.
Romans 3:23 says, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” What does this mean? It means that every single one of us has sinned. There are no exceptions. Even if we feel that we are good people, when it comes to our salvation God is not interested in what good deeds we have done, or what great people we are. In Isaiah 64:6 the Bible tells us “…all our righteous deeds are like a polluted garment.” The Bible is very clear about this condition. None of us are good enough and there is nothing we can ever do that will get us into heaven.
Romans 6:23 tells us that “the wages of sin is death.” The instant we tell our first lie, or get angry at our kids or think badly of someone, we are disqualified from heaven. So, what does this mean for us? How can we then be saved if even the best we manage is not good enough for God? At first glance, this reality would seem very depressing. But instead, I believe that it is liberating and encouraging for two reasons:
1) Our inability to qualify for heaven shows us how holy God is. He’s not just some “being” sitting up there. He is HOLY. When Isaiah encountered the holiness of God, he realised that his concept of God’s holiness fell so far short of reality (
God is not just some “being” sitting up there. He is HOLY. When Isaiah encountered the holiness of God, he realised that his concept of God’s holiness fell so far short of reality (Isaiah 6:1-8). God’s holiness cannot accept anything but perfection. Is this not comforting to know? Because of his holiness he will always do what is right. You can count on his justice!
2) Because God is a holy God and won’t accept anything but perfection, salvation is no longer about us. It’s no longer about what we can do, because we absolutely cannot do it! The burden has been lifted from our shoulders and put onto someone else’s. It is
It’s no longer about what we can do, because we absolutely cannot do it! The burden has been lifted from our shoulders and put onto someone else’s. It is ALL about what has been done by Jesus on the cross and by his resurrection. Ephesians 2:8-9 says, “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not on your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.”
This truth is so freeing because we no longer have to worry about being good or doing the right thing so that God will accept us. Instead, we can thank Jesus for what HE did to save us and thank God for providing the way for us to be saved. Now we live for God out of thankfulness, not to try to get his acceptance. It means that no matter how bad we are, or how good we are, the result is the same. The way to be saved is the same. It almost seems too simple doesn’t it? But that is why Paul calls it a gift—it’s free!
So, how can we be saved? Again the Bible gives us the answer (funny that). Romans 8:9-10 says “…if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.”
Yes, it’s that simple. As Bill Hybels points out, every other religion is spelled D-O. Only Christianity is spelled D-O-N-E.