Focal Passage: Romans 6:8-18
During Bible study, Bill
took issue as I discussed several ways a person cannot be born again, including
baptism and good works.
He argued, “I was reared to believe I will go to heaven
because I’ve been baptized and I keep the Ten Commandments.”
He recited several good works in which he engages.
Gently, I said, “Bill,
everything you’ve shared is something you can do without help from God.
“So, what part did God have in your salvation?”
When Bill didn’t answer, I
suggested he claim Ephesians 2:8-9: “By grace are you saved through faith, and
this is not from yourselves; it is God’s gift — not from works, so that no one
Bill asked what his
responsibility might be.
Should he just wait for salvation to happen to him?
No, but salvation does require action on our part, beginning
with the conviction that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”
(Rom. 3:23). While conviction
reveals our need to break with sin, however, conviction doesn’t save us.
For example, I’m convicted to get out of bed when my alarm
goes off, but struggling with sleep continues until action takes place: my feet
touch the floor.
Confession, which is agreeing with God: “Lord, You’re right;
I’m wrong.” also plays a part.
Even then, the sincerest confession cannot save. I have
shared Christ with someone who confessed her sins and wept bitterly, but she
remained lost because she wouldn’t part with them.
Repentance is our turning point — turning from every known
thought, word and deed we confess to be wrong.
Then, at our invitation (Rev. 3:20), Jesus enters our hearts
and sets us free to live no longer “under law but under grace” (Rom. 6:14).
God has removed our sins from our accounts and placed them
on Jesus’ account, and Jesus has paid the price for them all on the cross.
Now we no longer pluck the spiritual daisy of doubt: “He
saved me; He saved me not!”
Instead, we claim His promise that “The one who comes to Me
I will never cast out” (John 6:37).
Strange, isn’t it?
While we cannot save ourselves, we can condemn ourselves.
Our choice is all-important — whether we receive or reject
Christ as Savior, and eternity will provide us a long time to live with our