That’s just too easy

“So you’re saying I can be saved without having to do anything myself?” the bystander asked the street preacher. “There isn’t anything we have to contribute to our salvation? We don’t even have to choose to be baptized in water and we can still be saved?”

“That’s right,” the street preacher replied. “As He died on the cross, Jesus cried out, ‘It is finished.’ He died for all of our sins, those past, present, and future. He didn’t say, ‘I did my part, the 99%, which was the only part I could do, but now you must go do your part, the last 1%, which is necessary to complete salvation for yourself.’ No, He didn’t say that, because that would be salvation by works rather than by grace. There’s absolutely nothing you can do to help save yourself, because Christ already took care of it Himself. Now, all you have to do is choose to believe the Good News about what He accomplished and you’ll be saved.”

“That’s just too easy,” the religious man said. “If you don’t do your part as well, you can’t be saved. You can’t just expect God to save you without having to do something yourself.” He shook his head and walked away, proud of the fact that he knew what it actually was one needed to do in order to complete their salvation, that it was at least required that one choose to be baptized, because He knew that what Christ did just wasn’t enough on its own.

The street preacher watched him walk away, saddened that the man was so religious that he was forced to reject the Gospel of grace, and that he would apparently miss out on heaven because he just couldn’t accept that there wasn’t anything he could do to help save himself, and that he thought he had to add the act of choosing to be baptized to what Christ accomplished in order to be saved.

He turned around to go home himself, but I’d been standing there listening to their conversation and, before he could leave, I said to him, “you were right to tell him he couldn’t contribute to his own salvation, but you then contradicted yourself. You said there was nothing he could do to help save himself, but then you told him that he had to do something to help save himself. You said he had to choose to have faith in what Christ accomplished in order to be saved. Which means that you’re basing his salvation on his good choice to believe in what Christ did rather than simply basing his salvation on what Christ did. If it’s based on what Christ did, you don’t have to add anything to it, not even a choice to believe this Good News.”

“So you’re saying I can be saved without having to do anything myself?” the street preacher asked me. “There isn’t anything we have to contribute to our salvation? We don’t even have to choose to believe the Gospel and we can still be saved?”

“That’s right,” I replied. “As He died on the cross, Jesus cried out, ‘It is finished.’ He died for all of our sins, those past, present, and future. He didn’t say, ‘I did my part, the 99%, which was the only part I could do, but now you must go do your part, the last 1%, which is necessary to complete salvation for yourself.’ No, He didn’t say that, because that would be salvation by works rather than by grace. There’s absolutely nothing you can do to help save yourself, because Christ already took care of it Himself. Now, whether you choose to believe the Good News about what He accomplished or not, you’ll be saved.”

“That’s just too easy,” the religious preacher said. “If you don’t do your part as well, you can’t be saved. You can’t just expect God to save you without having to do something yourself.” He shook his head and walked away, proud of the fact that he knew what it actually was one needed to do in order to complete their salvation, that it was at least required that one choose to believe the right thing, because He knew that what Christ did just wasn’t enough on its own.

I watched him walk away, saddened that the street preacher was so religious that he was forced to reject the Gospel of grace, and that he would apparently miss out on heaven because he just couldn’t accept that there wasn’t anything he could do to help save himself, and that he thought he had to add the act of choosing to believe to what Christ accomplished in order to be saved.

Postscript: I should point out that believing the Gospel, or having faith, is not a work itself, but having to choose to have faith is probably the most difficult work one could possibly do (and I’m pretty sure it’s not even possible to do on one’s own). Thankfully, missing out on heaven doesn’t mean one isn’t saved, since salvation has nothing to do with going to heaven (that’s just a side benefit for those who happen to believe the Good News of the already existing salvation that God promised to give all humanity thanks to what Christ accomplished), but is instead about our eventual immortality and sinlessness. And if you’re wondering where I believe faith comes into play as far as our salvation goes, please read this for a full explanation of what salvation is actually all about.