The topic I discussed in my articles, “Who then can be saved?” (January 17, 2015) and its sequel “Who can be saved?” (January 24, 2015) generated question marks in some reader-believers. I have been asked to further clarify what I have written. By the way, the things I wrote are not my idea, I merely quoted from the Bible, the Word of God, as written by the Apostle Paul, who is also known as the greatest persecutor of Christians during his time until Jesus Christ (God in the flesh [John 1:1 and 1:14] spoke to him, “Saul, Saul, why persecutist thou me?” to which he inquired, “Who art thou Lord?”, and the one speaking answered, “ I am Jesus whom thou persecutist”.
Then, the rest is history, but the conclusion was that Saul, whose name was changed to Paul (when he was converted to Christianity) and who was not only an ordinary Christian–believer, but who wrote thirteen (13) of the twenty-seven (27) books of the New Testament (to include Hebrews) is acclaimed also as the greatest apostle. Incidentally, he was a lawyer or “advocate”, like the Lord Jesus Christ, the lawyer for all sinners in the Court of heaven. As a lawyer or advocate, the Lord Jesus Christ won all His cases for being able to save all repentant sinners (meaning all true believers of God (Jesus in the flesh), in thoughts, in words and in deeds. But His winning cost Him death by crucifixion in the cross of calvary, the severest and most ignominious form of dying because of his extreme physical suffering for a number of hours, unlike today’s extreme penalty of death by electrocution which takes only a second (or with the least physical suffering).
Thus, Jesus Christ has no equal in loving – for He loves everybody especially the sinners. Thus, the Bible tells us, “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom. 5:8 NIV). He gave up His life to save the sinners and without expecting anything in return. This is the difference between Jesus Christ and the ordinary human lawyer (or advocate). A human lawyer works hard for the victory especially if he is well compensated by his client – that is, he expects some reward.
Let us review again what the Bible says, on who can be saved.
“8For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – 9not by works, so that no one can boast.” (Eph. 2:8-9 NIV)
The Apostle John said:
“16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.
18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” (John 3:16-18 KJV)
Let us analyze what the apostles said.
We are “saved by grace through faith – and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works.”
By grace means unmerited favor: meaning, we do not deserve to be saved because we are all sinners, and the penalty of sin is death, both physical and spiritual. For the wages (or penalty) for sin is death. This is what the Bible means when it said, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Rom. 3:23) and the wages or penalty for sin is death” (Romans 6:23).
No one is good enough to deserve to be saved, for it is written:
10 As it is written:
“There is no one righteous, not even one;
11 there is no one who understands;
there is no one who seeks God.
12 All have turned away, they have together become worthless;
there is no one who does good,
not even one.” (Romans 3:10-12 NIV)
But because of the unfathomable (measureless) Love of God for all men, “we are justified (just-as-if we have not sinned) freely by His grace through the redemption that came by Jesus Christ. God presented himself as a sacrifice of atonement (Jesus took our place) and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus; whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation (to regain someone’s favor) through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission (or forgiveness) of sins that are past, through the forbearance (or leniency, clemency, indulgence, or patience) of God. To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness; that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus” (Romans 3:24-26 KJV).
The Bible clearly says, salvation is by faith only, not by our works, and it is the gift of God. Meaning, we do not pay for it or earn it because of our good works, but it is given free without cost (or requirement of anything tangible) in money or deeds. The Bible continues:
“For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do” (Eph. 2:10 NIV).
Meaning to say, a saved person will do and show “good works” for the Kingdom of God. How would we know his good works? We will know it by his fruit – the fruit of the Holy Spirit or by converts to Christianity because of his life’s good example. What is this spiritual fruit? LOVE, JOY, PEACE, PATIENCE, KINDNESS, GOODNESS, FAITHFULNESS, GENTLENESS and SELF-CONTROL (Gal. 5:22). This saved person receives from God, gifts of the Holy Spirit which may be one or all of these gifts:
“6 We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; 7 if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; 8 if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.” (Romans 12:6-8 NIV)
Are we (you) saved? By the grace of God through faith in His only begotten Son, our Lord Jesus Christ who said, “I am the way, the truth and the life, no one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6).