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The Bible tells us that “God is love” (1 John 4:8). It also tells us that “God so loved the world”—you and me—”that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). God loved you so much that He gave Jesus, who suffered and died for the sins of all mankind. “In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him” (1 John 4:9). Jesus is the manifestation of the love of God.
Some people ask, “Why can’t you just leave Jesus out of it? Why do you have to use that name? Why can’t you just say God and speak only of God? Then we could accept it much easier, if you wouldn’t insist on using that name of Jesus.”
If Jesus really is God’s Son, and God has chosen Jesus to reveal Himself to the world and to show His love, then God Himself has insisted on it. “No one who denies the Son has the Father. Whoever confesses the Son has the Father also” (1 John 2:23). Jesus Himself said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6).
None of us can really grasp how great and marvelous and how wonderful God our Father is, so far beyond the mind of man, for He and His Spirit surpass the whole universe. But He has stooped to send us His Son, Jesus Christ, to show us what He Himself is like. This, then, is the most important will of God for every person: to recognize Jesus as the Son of God and believe in Him as Lord and Savior and receive His love, manifested in His death on the cross when He took the punishment for our sins demanded by God’s perfect laws, so that we could be forgiven and saved.
Why do we need to be forgiven? Because we are all sinners. The Bible says that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23), and “the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ, His Son” (Romans 6:23).
We must first confess that we know we’re sinners. But we could be tempted to say, “I’m pretty good. God will surely give me credit for being pretty good, at least a lot better than many others.” That’s not enough, because you can’t go to heaven unless you’re perfect, and nobody is perfect. Everybody makes mistakes; everybody has sinned.
Jesus died because we’re all sinners and it is impossible for us to be perfect or to keep God’s perfect laws in the Bible and the Ten Commandments. Only Jesus is perfect, and that’s why He could pay the price of our sins through His death, and God could forgive us, because Jesus took our punishment for us. We could never earn it. We have all sinned, we all need God’s love and mercy to be saved, and we find that love and mercy in Jesus Christ.
We cannot save ourselves by our own works, our own goodness, our own attempts to keep God’s laws and to love Him, or our own endeavors to find and follow His truth. Salvation is a gift of God performed by a transformation of our lives when we accept His truth in the love of His Son Jesus by the work of His Holy Spirit.
“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast” (Ephesians 2:8–9). You have to humble yourself and acknowledge that you don’t deserve salvation, that you’re a lost sinner, and that there’s no way you can be saved except by the grace of God. We receive salvation as a pure gift, not because we’re good enough or because we deserve it or earn it, and not by any works we have done. We receive salvation just because He loves us, and all we have to do is believe and receive. It is the gift of God.
No amount of church attendance or prayers or anything else is going to save us; only Jesus saves. “For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus” (1 Timothy 2:5). “Nor is there salvation in any other: for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).
Only Jesus can free us from sin and its power and its condemnation. “For if we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). No matter what you’ve done! God will forgive you for every sin in the book, except one, and that’s rejecting Jesus Christ. “This is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil” (John 3:19).
Jesus said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God” (John 3:3). When you receive Jesus as your Savior, you are spiritually born again and become a “new creation” in Christ Jesus. “The old has passed away and the new has come” (2 Corinthians 5:17).
Once you have received Jesus, He will never cast you out! “Whoever comes to me I will never cast out” (John 6:37). “I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand” (John 10:28).
Salvation is forever. Once you’ve received Jesus Christ and asked Him into your heart and life, and you love Him and believe in Him as your Savior, you are a saved child of God and you’re going to live forever. Once you are “born again” as His child, you will always be His child. You can’t be unborn. You can’t lose your salvation. “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life” (John 3:36).
We can have rest and peace of mind, knowing that we don’t have to worry about whether we’re good enough or if we’ve been too bad or if we’re going to go to heaven or not. Of course, we have to work to pattern our lives according to God’s will and His Word, and follow the example Jesus set for us of loving God and loving others. But you can’t keep yourself saved. Jesus did that once and forever, and His gift is eternal life!
Grace plus faith plus nothing. That’s salvation! This does not mean that you can live as you please once you are saved. If you are truly a Christian, you will always be saved, but if you commit sins against the Lord and others which are unconfessed, not repented of, and not made right, you will suffer for them in some way, “for the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives” (Hebrews 12:6).
When you receive Jesus, your whole life will be changed, and there will be a transformation. You may actually feel different and think differently and experience greater peace and joy than ever before. The “old you” has passed away and there is a whole “new you,” much better and happier than ever before. Jesus’ entrance into your life not only renews and purifies and regenerates your spirit, but it also renews your mind, breaking old connections and reflexes, and gradually rebuilding and rewiring you into a person with an utterly different outlook on life, a new way of looking at the world, and new reactions to nearly everything around you.
If you “abide in Him and He abides in you, then you will bear much fruit” (John 15:5). If you are genuinely saved, if you have received Jesus, you’ll find a change in your spirit, in your thoughts, in your heart, and in your direction. If you have Jesus, you have love, for God is love.
Have you received Jesus and been born again? If your heart is humble before God and you know you’re a sinner and need His help, all you have to do is ask Jesus into your heart and life.
Jesus said, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock: if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him, and will dine with him, and he with me” (Revelation 3:20). God will not force salvation on anyone. His love is all-powerful, but He won’t make people receive it. Jesus knocks at the door; He doesn’t kick it in. You have to invite Him into your heart and life.
Will you accept Jesus Christ as your personal Savior? Gentle Jesus stands at the door of your heart, in loving patience. Perhaps He has been knocking at the door of your heart for years. God has left the majesty of choice up to the individual, and each person has to personally choose to accept Jesus Christ. You can receive Jesus as your Lord and Savior by sincerely praying this simple prayer:
Lord Jesus, please forgive me for all my sins. I believe that You died for me and that You are the Son of God. I now ask You to come into my life. I open the door to my heart and I invite You into my life. Please fill me with Your Holy Spirit and guide me in the way of truth. Thank You for dying on the cross for me and for Your free gift of eternal life. Amen.
Jesus promised that if you believe in Him and receive Him, He will come in. Faith is based on God’s Word, not feelings. Your feelings may change from day to day, but the Bible, God’s Word, never changes. So put your faith in His Word, for “faith comes by hearing the Word of God” (Romans 10:17).
“Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved” (Acts 16:31). May you experience His love and salvation—now and forever!
From an article in Treasures, published by the Family International in 1987. Adapted and republished October 2023. Read by Reuben Ruchevsky.
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