What must I do to be saved?
This is usually answered without thinking by saying: by grace through Jesus. The problem with this answer is that it is a very simplistic answer, the meaning of which is not known to many. It is very important to know who can receive grace and what it means to be saved by Jesus. What must I do to be saved?
„Strive to enter through the narrow door. For many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able.”
Unfortunately, most people say we don’t have to do anything for salvation. If someone says that we just have to ask for mercy for salvation, that person is certainly lying!
Let's look at the situations in which Jesus sends someone to damnation and salvation:
„"When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left. Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.' Then the righteous will answer him, saying, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?' And the King will answer them, 'Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.' "Then he will say to those on his left, 'Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.' Then they also will answer, saying, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to you?' Then he will answer them, saying, 'Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.' And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life."”
It is clear that He judged them by their actions. Those who did not do good things He sent them to condemnation, and those who did good things He saved them. The question may arise: what about grace?
It is important to understand that salvation cannot be purchased in any way. Salvation has a value that is priceless. But nonetheless, it has criteria that we must meet. By acting, we do not earn, but meet expectations.
Jesus gives His grace to those who meet certain expectations. Such as penitence, which must be accompanied by apology. And according to Matthew 18, Jesus makes it clear that we must keep grace, because if we do not act merciful, Jesus will take away grace from us and condemn us.
„Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling,”
The question arises, why should one fear and trembling, and why should work out our own salvation?
Jesus told His disciples who to fear and trembling:
„And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.”
If someone might not be sure who Jesus was talking about, I would just make it clear that He was talking about the Father! But what kind of parent should be feared? I would rather ask: what an spoilt child is who is not afraid of parents?
We must fear the Father and Jesus if we do not do what they are asked to do. Otherwise, we really have nothing to fear. For the teaching of the Word is that God will punish those whom He accepts as His son. And if we do not share in the chastisement, we are illegitimate children, and not sons (Hebrews 12,8).
The other question was, why should work out our own salvation? Jesus said that He is the way to the Father. We have to walk on the road, it is a process. Many Christians believe that they have already reached their destination at their repentance. Yet when we repented, we only set out on the path and had to walk that path until our death.
„Working together with him, then, we appeal to you not to receive the grace of God in vain.”
Author: Antal Farkas