What an odd thing to say. It wasn’t me who said it, by they way -but we’ll get to that in a minute.
I wanted to take a moment to tell you a simple truth of the Gospel. For some it will be a reminder of what you already know as per 2 peter 1:12. For others of you it might be new revelation – straight from the heart of the Father into yours to bring transformation and healing. To others it might be a stumbling block that causes offense and indignation to rise up in you. But at any rate, I’m simply repeating what you should have been told the day you got saved. I’m not making anything up; it’s all plainly laid out in the scripture for those who have eyes to see. Are you ready for the bomb? well, here it is;
Salvation is all of Grace.
That’s not even my original thought. No, I stole it from Charles H Spurgeon who would also like to remind in his exposition “All of Grace” of God’s ability to save and your inability to help him do that. Let’s start at the beginning; the requirement of salvation.
Jesus came to save the world from their sin. In fact when the angel Gabriel appeared to Mary with news of the virgin birth that was part of the message. You will call him Jesus because He will save His people from their sins. This is the foundation, the cornerstone. That was the point of His entire incarnation – to save sinners from their sin. As an adult Jesus declared in Mark 2:17;
“It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”
So what can we conclude then? That salvation is for those who are sinners. Further it is only available to sinners since the righteous have no sin to be saved from! This, I believe includes a dangerous form of religion that has pervaded the church today as well as the Pharisees in Jesus day – self-righteousness.
Self-righteousness is exactly that; the act of making ourselves righteousness through the doing of good things. Taking care of the orphans and widows, tithing, fasting, prayer without ceasing, giving to all who ask, going the extra mile and so on down an endless list. All these things are good things- but they don’t add an ounce of righteousness to your being. In fact, the prophet Isaiah has something interesting to say about your so-called righteousness.
“All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags” Isaiah 64:6
I wonder what he means by “filthy rags”? It’s not surprising to learn that bible translators glossed over the graphic nature of Isaiah’s original intent. The term “filthy rags” literally translated is “used menstrual rags” or as a good friend of mine likes to say, “used tampons”. Now tell me friend, how much value does a used tampon have? What can you use it for? Would you ever present it as something to be proud of? Is it cherished among your household’s possessions? Of course not! It it discarded immediately and so should your useless attempt at righteousness be! It is garbage, utter garbage. And it won’t do a thing for you – for there is no one righteous, not even one (Romans 3:10).
So… you’re unrighteous. Welcome to the club. You’re also now, according to Spurgeon, a sacred thing – because the Holy Ghost has made you so. Basically, you’re blind to your sin unless the Holy Spirit enlightens your eyes to see the desperate state that you’re really in. You need an exit plan or you’re sunk.
The good news is that you finally qualify for and meet the one requirement of God’s salvation plan in which you have to need saving, and you do. So now what? How do we enact God’s salvation plan in our lives? The thing of it is, you don’t. It’s God’s plan for saving and only He has the ability to enact it. Your part to play? Trust in that what Jesus did on the cross was enough to get you into Heaven.
Somewhere along the way good theology fell into a ditch called Duplicity. The result was a double standard for salvation and the rules that God had authored were custom tailored to meet men’s needs. These people are called Gracebuts – a non-academic term to complete the phrase “we’re saved by grace but…”. Suddenly salvation involved inviting Jesus into your heart and feeling really sorry for your sins. Daily enumerating your sins before God, and carrying tremendous guilt for your wrong-doings was condoned and looked upon as holy. Some places even required monetary gifts to the church as a means to salvation. And with that the simplistic beauty of the Gospel was tainted and people no longer knew the condition of their souls. After all, who would know if you had done enough good to weigh out the bad.
But lets return to what the Bible teaches. “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life.” John 5:24. The word for “believe” here is πιστεύω ( pisteuō ) which literally translated means to be persuaded, to rely upon, to trust. But believe in what? That you were dead in your sins until God, through Christ, offered you a way out (Romans 3:21 -26). That’s it. It really is about simple trust what a loving God already did it for you. If you don’t feel like you have the faith to believe, then just ask Him for it – cause faith itself is a gift from God.
I can hear you thinking “Is it really that simple? It couldn’t really be that if I just rely on Jesus as my only hope of Heaven that I get all my sins forgiven, and get eternal life, and I am given a spirit of Joy and I am adopted into the Holy family of God! I don’t deserve it? That’s not even a fair trade!”. No it’s not a fair trade, and you don’t deserve it; but those are the terms of the agreement as decided by God.
Salvation is a gift held with an outstretched hand to everyone. Will you take it? I hope you do, and if you do, please don’t try to add to what Jesus has already done. After all, why heap used tampons on such a lovely and priceless gift!