Romans 3:21-24 – But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. (NIV)
Ephesians 2:8-9 – For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith — and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God — not by works, so that no one can boast. (NIV)
Among my treasures I have a letter.
The letter is from a lady who was the young wife of a student minister. I was a very young teacher when I received it, and had been home for a weekend or two when the young couple was ministering in my home church. The lady had written to me out of concern for my salvation. She made her message very explicit, quoting Bible references so I could check out her points in my Bible.
Here is the core of her letter:
- First of all, we must acknowledge that all (even you and I) have sinned — Romans 3:23.
Having realized we have sinned, we must repent — Acts 3:19.
We must confess our sins to Jesus and ask Him to forgive them — Isaiah 53:6; 1 Timothy 2:5.
Then we must believe that Christ hears and answers us — John 3:16; Acts 16:31.
After we have accepted Christ into our heart, we can forever claim the promise in John 1:12, "But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name" (KJV).
It is really a great deal more simple than most people seem to think. It is just a matter of accepting the gift God has provided for us.
When I finished reading the letter in my boarding house room, I knelt and prayed by my bedside.
I would like to tell of an immediate experience of exhilaration or rejoicing. But I was concerned for months. I wanted to do something myself to make sure my salvation. In spite of the lady's words, "It is just a matter of accepting the gift God has provided for us," I tried doing this and that. I even tried spelling my name differently — only once. I discovered that I had erroneously thought that the apostle Paul, because of coming to accept Jesus Christ as his Saviour, had changed his name from Saul to Paul. But I learned that Saul was his name in Hebrew and Paul in Greek.
Then one sweltering mid-summer Sunday evening, in the small city of Portage la Prairie, Manitoba, Canada, I was in a large church where the sanctuary was so warm that the congregation was invited into a cooler small north room. There, a little elderly minister preached. I recall nothing of what the sermon was about, but I came out of that service never again to doubt that Jesus had done all that was necessary for my salvation — I could never add an iota to Jesus' gift to me of His life given to cancel out any sin that might ever come between God and myself. Faith in Jesus was all I needed — forever. I could only accept in faith His gift of eternal life. Now I had the assurance I had been lacking.
By faith, to accept Jesus in what He has done, is all anyone ever needs for salvation, because "the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord". (Romans 6:23 NIV) May all who struggle come to rest in faith in Jesus' finished work.
Prayer: Lord, thank You for our greatest treasure — Your gracious love and everlasting assurance in Your words, "Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved — you and your household" (Acts 16:31 NIV). We praise You that You have promised us that "anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father." (John 14:12 NIV) Lord, guide us forever in living in You the full life of the redeemed. In Jesus' name, we pray. Amen.