How Good do I Have to be to be Saved?

The following topic will be my second lesson topic at Copper Basin Bible Camp, “How good do I have to be to be saved?”  Can I know at any given moment I am safe with the Lord?

When we look in the mirror we know more about the person looking back than we want to know. We want to be in heaven after we die.  How much do I have to know and how good do I have to be? We can fool others but we can’t fool the person in the mirror. We know their problems and difficulties. How can I ever be good enough to be saved!

1 John 5:13 says, “These things are written that you may know that you have eternal life. God intends we be certain about salvation.  He wants us to have a deep seated peace and joy in our lives.  Can I have this peace and joy?  Can I know for sure I understand correctly and live good enough for salvation?

Sometimes we think the only way we get to heaven is to pray right before we go to sleep and then die in our sleep.  Do you ever have thoughts like this?  Many people do.  We have been conditioned to think God will only be pleased with me if I know enough and do enough to earn His love. Romans 5:6-8 says, “You see, at just the right time when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly.  Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man,  though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die.  But God demonstrates his own love for us in this:  While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Think about what this is saying,  “When we were powerless Christ died for us….While we were still sinners Christ died for us.”  He didn’t die for those who were good enough. His death wasn’t for those who knew enough.  Christ died for sinners.  I qualify for the blood of Christ because I am a sinner.

We have been conditioned to believe if we know enough and obey well enough we will be saved at judgement.  If I have to know enough and obey well enough to be saved, how will I ever know when enough is enough?  What real joy and peace can exist the heart of an individual who depends on their own abilities and efforts for salvation?

God intends we have full assurance of salvation.  He also wants that our lives be lives of joy and peace.  How do I know I have salvation and how do I find this joy and peace?  If this is God’s intention for His children then He will allow me to have the things He promises.  After all, God cannot lie.  Let me share some truths that will help us see how we can have assurance, peace, and joy in our lives:

  • The Security of my salvation rests in God. This is not what we are taught to believe.  We are taught to believe salvation rests in our ability and understanding.  Romans 4:18-25 teaches that God credits us as righteous when we have trusting faith in Him.  My salvation rests on the credibility of God.
  • “When God justifies through faith I have peace with God Romans 5:1. God allows me justification through Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access into the grace in which we stand.”  True peace comes when we totally trust the one to whom we have given our lives.  When I was a child I remember the peace I had when my dad was in the house.  If I could go to sleep while he was still up I had a peace that kept me from fearing anything.  When I am justified through Christ I have a greater peace.  I have a peace through God which passes understanding.  I have this peace because of trust in God’s ability to do what He said He would do.
  • I am safe from my sins because God continues to make me holy. Hebrews 10:14 says, “Because by one sacrifice He has made perfect forever those who are being made holy.”  Wrongdoing isn’t sin until God says it is sin.  If God counts our obedient faith as righteousness and continues to make me holy all my life I can know I am safe in Him.  As long as I walk with Him my sins are not counted against me.
  • My assurance of salvation doesn’t depend on my understanding or perfect obedience. It depends on the promises of God.  I can know I am saved because God has said I can know I am saved.  In I John 5:11-12 God makes it simple.  God says, “this is the testimony:  God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son.  He who has the Son has life;  he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.”  My assurance rest in this simple fact, do I have Christ in my life?  If I have received the Son I have life.  If I have not accepted Christ into my life I do not have eternal life.
  • Salvation does not rest in my efforts, salvation rests in the depth of my faith.  Do I believe the words of God enough to base my life on His promises? Salvation is truly this simple.  Do I really trust God?  Do I actually believe the things God has promised?  If I deeply believe God as Abraham believed God, I can be sure of my salvation.  I can be sure because God said He would credit righteousness-for us who believe in him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead.

I can know I have eternal life because my eternal life isn’t determined by how good I am.  My eternal life is determined by whether I believe and accept the promises of God. God has promised those who trust in Him will be credited as righteous.  In Romans 4:8 Scripture uses these words, “Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord will never count against him.”  That man is the man who believes in the promises of God enough to base his life on these promises.  Think on these things and put your trust in the promises of God.

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8 Responses to How Good do I Have to be to be Saved?

  1. Wayne McDaniel says:

    Dell,
    I am delighted you are teaching that those who trust Jesus are secure in him. Paul wrote, “For you died, and your life is his with Christ in God.” and, “Being confident of this very thing, that he who began a good work in you, will perfect it unto the day of Jesus Christ.” – Col.3:3, Phil.1:6
    The Lord will complete the transformation he has begun in us. Jesus described God’s chosen people,
    “And shall not God avenge his elect that cry unto him day and night?” – Luke 18:7 Jude 24-5 also assure us, as well as Psalm 65:4.

    Yet our hearts are deceitful(Jer. 17:9), so it is not surprizing that they sometimes accuse us.
    John did not hesitate to write, “whenever our hearts condemn us”(1 John 3:20), stating that giving to brothers in need is evidence to us that we are born of God, vs.19. Assurance is a term referring to our confidence of being born of God. John continued, “God is greater than our hearts, and knows all things”(vs.21). Because the heart is deceitful, it is not surprising that it may either accuse or excuse us falsely. We may also recall what Paul wrote of himself, 1 Cor. 4:3

    “None have assurance at all times. As in a walk that is shaded with trees, and checquered with light and shadow, some tracks and paths in it are dark and others are sunshine. Such is usually the life of the most assured Christian.” – Hopkins

    I look forward to meeting you this Sunday morning. Wayne

  2. Don says:

    Excellent, Dell…have thought and written about much of the same. I have often thought…it is not so much how “good” I need to be saved, but recognizing how “bad” I am in order to need a Savior. Blessings,

    Don

  3. Wayne are you going to be in Payson Sunday? Thanks for your thoughts. Also will you be at the camp?

  4. Thanks Don. I don’t always like the man who looks back from the mirror. I surely need the help of the Lord.

  5. Royce says:

    I have been planning on blogging about 1st John and how that book tells us clearly, objectively, how to know we are saved. Then, I opened my email and saw you link.

    You are right on the money so to speak. Our assurance rests not in our accomplishments, religious acts or rituals, but wholly upon the faithfulness of God to do what he has promised.

    I appreciate your clear teaching and your friendship.

    Royce

  6. Thanks Royce, I too appreciate your thoughts and friendship.

  7. Dell,

    Love this… especially the part about trying to know when enough is enough. If my salvation hinges on how well I “know” or how well I “obey” then I will live like a prisoner of war… afraid to move or speak and constantly worried for my life.

    Scott

  8. Thanks Scott,
    I appreciate your kind words. Continue to preach the message of Jesus.

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