We don’t help Jesus save us with works or any other way. We have the power–the right to receive God’s offer–to become sons of God because Jesus died in our place for our sins and rose from the dead. His work of salvation is complete: finished. He lives again because God the Father was satisfied that His sacrifice paid for our sins (1 Corinthians 15:1-4): So how can I get right with God? That’s a great question. Let’s see what the Bible tells us.
We have a problem; we can’t get right with God apart from Jesus:
Jesus said… “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.
The Book of Life
In Revelation 20, the Apostle John sees the eternal state of those not found in the book of life.
Judgment by Works
I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne, and books were opened … and the dead were judged from the things which were written in the books, according to their deeds.… And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire (Revelation 20:11-15).”
Judgment by Believing
These dead are all unbelievers who appear before God for the final judgment. God will judge unbelievers according to their deeds. Their cause is hopeless because no one is good enough to stand before God dressed in their deeds. People can only stand before God if they’ve placed themselves in Jesus Christ by believing in His Name:
“He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God (John 3:18).”
Becoming Sons of God
We get right with God by accepting God’s promise that when we receive Jesus we have eternal life:
“Yet to all who received Him (Jesus), He gave the power to become sons of God, to those who believed in His name (John 1:12).”
Earned by Jesus, Not Us
We don’t earn initial salvation in any way. We don’t cleanse ourselves; we believe. We don’t offer anything; Jesus is our plea. We come with empty hands because Jesus paid the cost. And once we receive salvation, we cannot lose it, and God will never take it away. No one is stronger than God. That’s why it’s called eternal life.
We don’t put away our sins first or even intend to (that’s part of sanctification, i.e., living the Christian life). We don’t commit to cleansing ourselves when we come to Jesus; we’re washed by Him, not by our intentions to be better. We may or may not have this good intention. But this is not a necessary step or a requirement for initial belief. We hopefully decide to turn away from sin after we believe.
And believers should mature in their Christian faith. But even believers continue to sin, and we will for the rest of our lives.
Life in Jesus’ Name
The Gospel of John is the only Bible book whose purpose is to explain how we receive eternal life. John tells us why he wrote his gospel:
“These are written that you might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name (John 20:31).”
Believe is How We Receive
Believe is the clearest word to describe the human responsibility for salvation.
We Have the Right to Become Sons of God if We Believe in His Name
Jesus Died for Our Sins
We don’t help Jesus save us with works or any other way. We have the power–the right to receive God’s offer–to become sons of God because Jesus died in our place for our sins and rose from the dead. His work of salvation is complete: finished. He lives again because God the Father was satisfied that His sacrifice paid for our sins (1 Corinthians 15:1-4):
“Being justified freely by His grace (as a gift) through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God has set forth to be a propitiation (satisfaction) through faith, in His blood, for a demonstration of His righteousness (Romans 3:24-25).”
Nothing Left for Us
Jesus died for all, and He offers His salvation to everyone. The bill is fully paid! There’s nothing left for us but to believe.
When the Jews asked Jesus what people must do to work the works of God, He answered (with irony):
Then they asked Him, “What shall we do that we may work the works of God?” Jesus answered them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent.