How Can I Be Saved?

 

Here is a book excerpt from Great and Wonderful Things describing God’s plan of salvation, so that you can know for certain you will go to heaven when you die.

 

If you have never asked Jesus into your heart, please consider reading the verses and prayer below. Christianity is the only religion that does not demand you earn your way into heaven. The price has already been paid by Jesus dying on the cross. God came to earth in the form of a man to give his life for us. His spilled blood on the cross was the final, ultimate sacrifice for everyone’s sins. All you have to do is accept his free gift of salvation. 

Paul wrote to Christians in Rome in the first century, several years after Christ died on the cross and rose to life again. In the Book of Romans, Paul explained about Jesus and salvation. 

Verses there showing how to go to heaven when you die have been called the “Roman Road” to salvation, and they serve as a good framework for understanding the basics. All the verses listed below are from the NIV Bible.

First, in order to be saved you have to realize you need saving. We are all sinners, and sin separates us from God. Paul tells us in Romans 3:23: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.

Second, you have to understand that there is nothing you can do on your own, apart from God, to get right with God. Most religions would have you work toward getting into heaven. They would make you try to become “good enough,” or have you do some good deeds or payments or work to get into heaven. But Christianity is different. It is the only religion that has already provided a way for you to go to heaven when you die. Jesus gave his life as the ultimate sacrifice to get us in. The price of admission has already been paid. Romans 5:8 says: But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 

Since the sacrifice has already been made to get us into heaven and get us right with God here on earth, it is a gift. It is a free gift, one we can choose to accept or not. Romans 6:23 says: For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Since we cannot earn our way into heaven, we can choose to accept the free gift of Christ’s sacrifice which already paid the way. Since it is a gift, it is by God’s grace we are allowed into heaven. God could have chosen to not let us in. But he has gracefully opened a door for us through Jesus’s death on the cross. 

Maybe you have heard someone say, “There but for the grace of God . . . ” In this case, God’s grace lets us go to heaven through Jesus. Romans 11:6 states: And if by grace, then it cannot be based on works; if it were, grace would no longer be grace. 

This reinforces the fact there is nothing you can do to earn your way into heaven. There is no amount of good deeds or charitable works that is good enough to take away your sins. Only Jesus’s sacrifice, his blood shed on the cross, will do that.

So now that you realize you are a sinner, and that you cannot work your way into heaven, and that Christ has already paid the price to get you there by dying on the cross for you, what do you have to do? Paul tells us you have to have faith. You have to trust in Jesus that he will save you on Judgment Day. 

He put it this way in Romans 5:6-7: Now to the one who works, wages are not credited as a gift but as an obligation. However, to the one who does not work but trusts God who justifies the ungodly, their faith is credited as righteousness.

Faith is an easy concept. You put your trust in someone to do something for you. If you ever dined in a restaurant, you had faith the food would come out edible. While humans may disappoint us sometimes, Jesus never will. We have faith he will save us on Judgement Day. 

So, we are saved by faith, not works or good deeds or anything else. We put our faith in Jesus, that he will stand before the throne on Judgment Day and proclaim that we accepted Him, saving us from eternal damnation and granting us entry to heaven and everlasting life. Romans 10:13 states: for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

Your final step in this process is to call on Jesus and ask him into your life. Paul says in Romans 10:19: If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 

You can do that right now by praying. Sometimes this is called a “sinner’s prayer.” The exact words are not as important as your heart’s intent. Just remember that salvation does not rely on feelings, but on faith. Believe that the verses above are true, and ask Jesus into your heart. Below is a prayer you can recite right now, and be assured that God will hear you.

Dear Lord God, I know I am a sinner and that nothing I can do will earn my way into heaven. I will never be good enough to get there on my own. But I call upon Jesus Christ to save me. I claim His blood sacrifice on the cross and I ask that You forgive me my sins. I accept Jesus as the Lord of my life, and I ask that He enter my heart and take control of my life. I pray this in the name of Jesus, Amen.

Great and Wonderful Things Is Published

Great and Wonderful Things cover

We have a wonderful new book out filled with 30 inspirational sermon stories and their accompanying verses. It’s available in Kindle format as well as print.

Here’s the blurb:

In Jeremiah God says, “Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and wonderful things you do not know.”

Pastors have shared great and wonderful things for generations. Hooks to engage listeners and pull them into sermons, these thrilling accounts often contain wisdom, humor, and spiritual truth.

This 30-day devotional offers an excellent collection of documented sermon stories with corresponding Bible verses. From the modern to the Middle Ages, many of these lively anecdotes have made their way into sermons both old and new.

Read tales of courage and valor, stories of intense personal struggles and profound faith in Jesus. Read of deeds both good and bad, with myriad lessons learned along the way.

Find your favorite in this outstanding collection! Explore Great and Wonderful Things. Download it today!

 

 

Paco and His Pa

Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger by the way you treat them. Rather, bring them up with the discipline and instruction that comes from the Lord.

– Ephesians 6:4 (NLT)

 

It started as a joke in a Hemingway short story. First appearing in the June 1936 issue of Esquire as a piece entitled “The Horns of the Bull,” and later changing to “The Capital of the World” when it was published in book form, Hemingway told the story of a rundown hotel serving revolutionaries and second rate bullfighters.

The story focused on a young waiter by the name of Paco who desperately wanted to become a bullfighter.

Hemingway begins the story by indicating Paco was a very common name in Madrid. In fact, Hemingway tells us, there was a joke about how popular the name was:

 

Madrid is full of boys named Paco, which is the diminutive of the name Francisco, and there is a Madrid joke about a father who came to Madrid and inserted an advertisement in the personal columns of El Liberal which said: PACO MEET ME AT HOTEL MONTANA NOON TUESDAY ALL IS FORGIVEN PAPA, and how a squadron of Guardia Civil had to be called out to disperse the eight hundred young men who answered the advertisement.

Ernest Hemingway, The Complete Short Stories of Ernest Hemingway: The Finca Vigia Edition (New York: Sribner, 1987), 29.

 

This particular anecdote has been used time and again by pastors in sermons dealing with parenthood and fatherly love.

There is a certain bond sons have with their fathers that can sometimes be hard for moms to understand. In fact, many men define themselves by their fathers, and as they age they often hold their relationships with their male parent in higher regard. It’s a given, and rarely argued today that households without fathers suffer.

Fortunately, the Bible has several guidelines for parental involvement, including the verse above. Bible Study Tools has a list of verses for Fathers Day, but really they’re good for anytime a Dad wants to know more about what God has to say on the subject of fatherhood.

 

Past Performance Is No Guarantee of Future Results

Early in the morning, Jesus stood on the shore, but the disciples did not realize that it was Jesus.

He called out to them, ”Friends, haven’t you any fish?”

”No,” they answered.

He said, ”Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some.” When they did, they were unable to haul the net in because of the large number of fish.

– John 21:4-6 (NIV)

 

When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, ”Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.”

Simon answered, ”Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets.”

When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break.

-Luke 5:4-6

 

If you have any experience with investing, you’ve probably come across the phrase “Past performance is no guarantee of future results.”

Essentially, it’s a warning akin to “caveat emptor.” Just because a stock has done well in the past does not mean it will do well in the future.

Consider, though, that God has a way of changing things when He gets involved. With Jesus, the phrase takes on a whole different meaning, in life if not in stocks. The disciples in the verses above had been fishing and had not caught anything on their own efforts. Then Jesus told them to try one more time.

Their past performance would seem to indicate that failure would once again be replicated. Simon Peter begrudgingly said, “Because you say so, I will let down the nets.”

But now, the power of God was at work. Both times, the fishermen were successful far beyond their expectations.

“Past performance is no guarantee of future results” took on a whole new meaning for them.

With God’s power, anything is possible.

Doubting Thomas and the Blessings of Belief

Now Thomas (also known as Didymus, one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord!”

But he said to them, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.”

A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.”

Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!”

Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

– John 20:24-29 (NIV)

Who has not had their own experience with someone who just won’t believe unless things are right there in front of them?

United States Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch recounts one such story with a family member just before the announcement concerning his nomination was made public. Everything was kept secret from the press. Gorsuch and his wife were smuggled into the White House in secret and told not to tell anyone. But, it would be okay for his wife, who was born in Britain, to tell family members back home just before the announcement.

 

The President had offered me that historic spot [the Lincoln Bedroom] as an office for the day. Knowing that Louise was born and raised in England, he gave her the use of the bedroom across the hall typically reserved for Queen Elizabeth and once occupied by Winston Churchill. Finding a little time late in the day, Louise rang her father back in England to tell him the news, but before she could say anything my father-in-law interjected that he had stayed up to watch the announcement. He had seen all the reporting, and he was sure that a friend of mine was about to get the nod. Louise replied that she was pretty sure I was the pick. No, he countered, the other fellow was caught on television just now driving toward Washington, and the newscasters were sure it was him. My father-in-law wasn’t even convinced when Louise told him that we had slipped through the White House kitchen entrance and were now in the Lincoln Bedroom. Maybe the real nominee was in a room down the hall?

Neil Gorsuch with Jane Nitze and David Feder, A Republic, If You Can Keep It (New York: Crown Forum, 2019), 5.

 

Sometimes people will not believe something no matter what you tell them. And it’s true with the Gospels that the events on the cross happened almost 2,000 years ago. Even today we use the term “Doubting Thomas” for those who do not listen to testimony and facts.

But just as Jesus said, “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”