What must I do to be saved?

Posted: September 21, 2011 in Blog
Tags: , ,

What does a person need to do to be saved? What do you need to do to be saved? The answer is simple. Nevertheless an intelligible answer becomes cloudy in the ocean of competing responses. Add hostility to the mix and people give morose rebuttals such as ‘saved from what?’ or ‘do we really need saved?’ or yet again, ‘who can really know the truth?’

Questions like this have been asked through the ages. Even so, clarity is not only lost among the world, even within the church cultural mores reign regarding salvation. Thus being saved is a result of maturity, religious rites of passage, or is the product of morality in choosing ‘good’ over ‘evil’; all of which are veiled in language of Christian ease.

Amidst all the complexity of the current day, the answer to the question is yes, man needs saved. Man needs saved from God’s wrath, which is justly deserved in light of mankind’s cosmic treason. Yes people need salvation, and they need to know how one is saved, yet they cannot save themselves. People need saved who are explicitly hostile to Jesus as much as those whom do not expressly deny the maker, yet continue to reject God by their very being.

For the sake of clarity, being saved is the actual rescuing of an individual from the dominion of sin and death, by the Savior Jesus Christ, and being moved to the dominion where Christ reigns as Master. Mankind is aware of the enemy status of which they possess, deep down inside all men know of their need of rescuing. So then, I return to the question, ‘what do I need to do to be saved?’

Jesus was asked this question in various ways. In Mark 10:17-22 we read of the rich young ruler and Jesus’ answer to this question. ““And as he was setting out on his journey, a man ran up and knelt before him and asked him, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone. You know the commandments: ‘Do not murder, Do not commit adultery, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Do not defraud, Honor your father and mother.’ ” And he said to him, “Teacher, all these I have kept from my youth.” And Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, “You lack one thing: go, sell all that you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” Disheartened by the saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions. ””

What a dream! Having a person ask how to be saved would be awesome. Get a person like this to pray a prayer of commitment, get baptized, get into church on Sunday, then BAM! Wahoo! Put another notch in the ole’ gospel gun. That is how someone is saved… or is it?

It is curious then that when people acted like the rich young ruler, Jesus responded in a way contrary to popular thinking. Instead of giving three easy steps to know for sure that a person can go to heaven, or giving him the four spiritual laws, or praying a prayer, or pressing for a decision to believe, Jesus tells him to do something that he knew he would be difficult.

Jesus loved this man. He told him to keep the law, which the man boasted that he had, Jesus then told him to give up everything and follow him. At first glance it appears to be a direct answer to the young man’s question. Upon further considering of Jesus’ message it becomes clear—Jesus asked him to exercise faith not trusting the deeds he has done, or worshiping the possessions that he had. He was not telling him what to do to be saved, he was telling him who to trust to be saved.

Now, in an age of cheap grace and easy believeism Jesus’ answer appears to be a call to works. Nonetheless Jesus’ call to the rich young ruler is a call to faith, a call to follow him, which is filled with work, action, decisions, and choices; these things will not be what save, but salvation comes as a result of grace alone. In the eyes of the ruler his deeds were better and his stuff was worth more than giving them up to follow Christ. To the rich young ruler Jesus was not better than everything.

Ultimately Jesus did answer the question of what must a person do to be saved, but he did not answer in a man-centered way, nor did he answer in way that pleased the ruler. One might think that the ruler would have been happy to receive such a mighty task of selling and following; I think his displeasure came from understanding what Jesus meant. Jesus forced the man to trust in him more than anything, by following him, as he gave up everything.

Being saved is not akin to a self-help or do-it-yourself manual. Salvation is not about the good deeds of people. The question, ‘what must I do to be saved?’ implies what the rich young ruler in Mark 10 implied, which is, what good deed must I do to be saved. In Matthew 19:16-22 the language used more accurately portrays this truth. So, Jesus told the ruler how one is saved, but he did not tell him what deeds must be done to be saved.

Being saved is not something that a person does, nor is it a do-it-yourself project; if one could save him/her self, then salvation would not be need. However, those who lazily sit in their intellectual arrogance, that salvation is not by works, do not then gain salvation. The answer to the question of salvation is of faith, and faith is not something that a person does as a deed, but it is something that a person actively pursues. To be saved one must give up the world having faith in Jesus, following him.

This is an important concept to understand. The demand for a response to the gospel is necessary, but it is not that response that saves the responder. A response to the truth of who Jesus is, what he has done, and is doing should be one of worship and adoration. Mankind will be fully judged for their lack of a worship filled response to God’s glory in Jesus Christ. The response to the irresistible grace of God will be to God’s credit and our salvation.

Yes, salvation is filled with choices, decisions, prayers, and religious deeds, but none of those things is what save. Yet if none of those things is present in an individual then he will not be saved. When Jesus is regarded as better than anything and everything this is a choices for him, a decision to follow him, with prayers of confession to him, and a repentant heart turned toward him, but none of this is to garner salvation, rather because he has made you his own.

People will not arrive in heaven without ever deciding for Christ or choosing Christ. Not a soul will be in heaven that did not pray to God the Father, by the power of the Spirit. People who do not pray to God will not be in heaven! I am not assigning salvific power to prayer, or to the choosing of Christ, but I’m teaching that salvation is by faith in Jesus Christ alone and that faith is an action filled response to grace.

What must I do to be saved? Give up the world and follow Jesus, trust in him, considering him better than everything.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s