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Sunday, January 11, 2015

Question on How to Attain Salvation *

Dr. Iradhni asks a question that everyone should be seeking the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth to.

Q: "How can one attain salvation? Is it by serving the poor and needy? Help me understand. Thank you."

A: "Thank you, Dr. Iradhni, for your very straight forward question. Let me attempt to answer that question from a Christian, Biblical viewpoint. I would then ask you to compare your notion of salvation with this.

The notion of our salvation assumes two things. First, that there is a need for salvation, which means we are caught up in something from which we need to be saved or rescued. It also means we are so caught up therein, that we cannot save ourselves. So first, there is a need for salvation, and we cannot do it ourselves.
Second, and when we realize that we cannot save ourselves, the notion of salvation assumes that there is someone who can save us. That is, there is a Saviour who can rescue us from that which we cannot rescue ourselves. So knowing that we cannot save ourselves, the heart cries out to someone who can. This Saviour who can save us, can save us because he is above and beyond the predicament in which we are trapped. I hope you are tracking with these two assumptions. At the heart of the desire to attain salvation lurk these two assumptions in every human heart. It is when we try to give our own answers about who this saviour is, that we part ways in the so called “all paths lead to one” argument. Christianity says there is only one way to attain salvation. Let me give you the Christian answer to salvation then.

The Bible calls the predicament that we are caught up in sin. Sin is not just what we do or do not do that may be wrong. Sin is who we as human beings are, inherently. And this sin in us can be seen when we compare ourselves to the standards of God Himself, not the standards of man. Because we all fall short of the Divine standard as shown to us in the Bible, and ultimately in the person of Jesus Christ, the Bible concludes that, “All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23). If you and I are sinners and sin is the predicament we are caught up in, it follows that we need to be saved from this sin in order to attain salvation. As I have already pointed, none of us are able to reach up to God’s standards and attain this salvation.

Therefore, the Bible says that God sent Jesus, His Son, to save us from our sins. In fact, His very name, Jesus, was given because, “He shall save His people from their sins.” (Matthew 1:21). The way Jesus saves is not by asking us to do something that will help us reach His God status. The way Jesus saves us who are dying in sin, is by Himself dying for our sins. He dies in our stead to appease the wrath of a holy God, Jesus Himself being holy. When He died on the cross, He was paying the price for our sins, to set us free, and give us life. The only way to receive this salvation is by placing your faith in the Lord Jesus and His work on the cross. The Bible says, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved.” (Acts 16:31) This is a promise that God gives to you, and you can receive it, and be assured of salvation by coming in faith to the Lord Jesus and asking Him to save you. You may not understand it all at first, and you do not need to. You will understand it by and by. For now, all you need to be aware of is your need to be saved, which you seem to be tending towards because of the nature of your question.

Now here is a quick note about good works like serving the poor and needy, which you mention in your question. The Christian, Biblical worldview does not talk about good works such as these as granting salvation. If good works saved us, we would all be our own saviours, putting up our own standards, trying to out beat the other to gain salvation. That is exactly why people think there are many ways to God and many ways to be saved, because there is so much good that can be done. But how much good is good enough, and who decides the measure or standard of good? Is there some arbiter? So in the Christian, Biblical worldview, good works come as a result of the salvation that has been granted to us, not as a means to attain salvation. When we are saved by God in Christ, He begins to transform our sinful natures, and He makes us open to the needs of others, now with the goal of obeying Him and bringing Him glory. Previously, good works would have been to serve our own ends, such as self-satisfaction, appreciation from others, or getting some benefit out of it for ourselves. I hope you understand this distinction of doing good works not to be granted salvation, but as a result of being granted salvation.

Dr. Iradhni, I pray that you will not only know about this salvation through this answer, but that you will receive the free gift of this salvation that is available to you today, because the Bible calls salvation a gift when it says, “The wages of sin in death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 6:23)

Kenny Damara

* See previous post for more info about this Q&A

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