"How Can I Be Saved" And "The Only Way of Escape"
From May 21, 2011 ?
By Brother Mike (before May 21, 2011)
There can be no doubt that the most important question for anyone is how can I be saved? And this question has become even more pressing in the light of the end of salvation beginning on May 21, 2011 . Time is quickly running out, so I will endeavor in this mini-study to reveal the most important, bare-bone things when it comes to salvation. My text is taken from Mark 10:17-27 where we read about the rich man ,
17 And when he was gone forth into the way, there came one running, and kneeled to him, and asked him, Good Master,
what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?
18 And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? There is none good but one, that is, God.
19 Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Defraud not, honour thy father and mother.
20 And He answered and said unto him, Master, all these have I observed from my youth.
21 Then Jesus beholding him loved him, and said unto him, One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the por, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me.
22 And he was sad at that saying, and went away grieved: for he had great possessions.
23 And Jesus looked round about, and saith unto his disciples, How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God!
24 And the disciples were astonished at his words. But Jesus answereth again, and saith unto them, Children, how hard is it for them that trust in riches to enter into the kingdom of God!
25 It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.
26 And they were astonished out of measure, saying among themselves, Who then can be saved?
27 And Jesus looking upon them saith, With men it is impossible, but not with God: for with God all things are possible .
How can I be saved? That is what this man asked Jesus; he said, "Good Master, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?" Notice that the focus of this man was "what shall I do...?" What good work; what good something can I do to be saved. This man believed there was something he could do, or some good work, which could be done to obtain eternal life.
So Jesus responded,
18 And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? There is none good but one, that is, God.
19 Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Defraud not, Honour thy father and mother.
Jesus here wants to take the focus off of man or the flesh and onto God, so He says, "Why do you call me good? There is none good but one, that is, God." Even though Jesus never stopped being God Himself in the flesh, He wanted this man to look beyond the flesh, and see that only God is truly good - His requirements of goodness go far beyond what human sinful flesh is even capable of, so "Why do you call me good [as a man, that is]? There is none good but one, that is, God."
On the other hand, this man believed that the flesh, even his, could somehow be good enough to get to heaven. So Jesus stoops to his level, and it is like He says, okay, if you think that you can do something good enough to get to heaven, then here's what you and anyone else like you must do: you must obey the law to be saved: "do not commit adultery, do not kill, d not steal, do not bear false witness, do not defraud, honor thy mother and father." This is the way to heaven if you think that you can do something to get there, and, in response, the man then says, "all these have I observed from my youth."
Did He really obey the law so perfectly? Of course not, for the Bible says in Isaiah 64:6, "we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses [that is, our best deeds] are as filthy rags," and in Romans 3:10 we read, "as it is written, there is none righteous, no, not one." And again, "the heart is deceitful above all thingsw, and desperately wicked who can know it?" (Jer. 17:9).
Can you imagine standing before the perfect holy God and saying, "all these have I observed from my youth?" Do you see how absurd that is? Yes, this man was deceived by his own heart into believing he could actually do something to inherit eternal life and how many of us are like this man? We somehow think that we can do this or that, or that our good deeds outwweigh our bad deeds, so this is why we can inherit eternal life.
But this is not the case! God's standards of goodness are so far above ours, that we couldn't even begin to meet them. Nevrtheless, God still holds the entire human race to these high standards because God first created the human race to be able to walk in His commands perfectly, but they chose to rebel beginning with Adam and Eve, which resulted in humankind's plunge into sin and the fallen state in which we are each now born. This fallen state is far below the standards of God. Even when we do our best, we still fall far short of what God originally intended, which makes it impossible for us to do anything perfect enough that we might go to heaven. In fact, God's standards are so high that scripture says, "For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all" (James 2:10), and there is no person who has not offended, "For in many thngs we offend all" (James 3:2). So we cannot possibly earn our way, or do something good enough to get to heaven; perish the thought!
The question now arises once again, if we can do nothing to save ourselves, then how can we be saved? This is what Jesus' disciples asked in relation to the rich man after Jesus said, "It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God." Jesus' disciples then asked, "Who then can be saved?" I mean if this rich man who was moral, outstanding, and rich; who seemed to have everything going for him could not be saved, "who then can be saved?" And Jesus looking upon them says, "With men it is impossible, but not with God: for with God all things are possible." In other words, you cannot save yourself and this rich man could not save himself, but God can. As it is written Eph. 2:8-8,
8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.
We can do nothing to be saved, for it is a gift of God, and not of works or anything that we can do!
But it does also say that "by grace are you saved through faith," so does this mean that it is our faith or belief in Jesus Christ that can save us? It sure seems to say that in this passage, and there are many passages which seem to teach the same thing. For instance, we read in Romans 10:9, "if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe [that is, have faith] in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved." Or, again, after the jailer released Paul and Silas out of jail, the jailer said, "Sirs, what must I do to be saved?" And they said, "Believe [or have faith] on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house" (Acts 16:30-31). And there are many passages which either directly or indirectly would answer the question, how can I be saved with the answer, by believing or having faith in Jesus Christ. Believe in Jesus Christ and you will be saved! This is the most common teaching in the Christian churches of our day, namely believe, and you will be saved.
But what they fail to realize is that faith or belief is a work or good deed, which cannot therefore save anyone. We read in 1Thes. 1:3, "remembering without ceasing your work of faith," and in 2Thes. 1:11 it speaks of, "the work of faith with power." So we must acknowledge that faith or believing is a work because God in the Bible says it is.
But we had already concluded that we could not be saved by works or good deeds. So we are forced right back to the same question, then how can I be saved? And the answer must be what Jesus already told us and left us with, "With men it is impossible, but not with God: for with God all things are possible." We cannot be saved by doing something, and this includes believing. But we can be saved by God and by God alone, and this is the entire point.
Now that we are at the complete mercy of God to save us, and there is nothing we can do or believe to save us or even help to save us, what should our attitude be? Well, it should be in humble recognition of this, which should force us to cry out to God over and over again that He might have mercy upon us. I am reminded of the account of the two blind men in Matthew 20:30-34,
30 And, behold, two blind men sitting by the way side, when they heard that Jesus passed by, cried out, saying,
Have mercy on us, O Lord, thou Son of David.
31 And the multitude rebuked them, because they should hold their peace: but they cried the more, saying, Have mercy on us O Lord, thou Son of David.
32 And Jesus stood still, and called them, and said, What will ye that I shall do unto you?
33 They say unto him, Lord, that our eyes may be opened.
34 So Jesus had compassion on them, and touched their eyes: and immediately their eyes received sight, and they followed him.
We should be like these blind men who continued to cry out for mercy, and even continued to do so when "the multitude rebuked them." This shows how persistent and focused they were upon seeking the mercy of Jesus.
Notice that it was Jesus who had compassion, and gave them their sight back. It was all His doing. This exactly how we must be saved: Jesus must touch us and save us; it is not that we must accept Jesus, or make a decision for Christ like virtually all churches so falsely teach, but, rather, it is completely the opposite to this; He must accept us or make a decision for us. There is absolutely nothing that we can do! But we can realize this, and so like these blind beggars, we can plead for mercy that God might save us.
And when God does save us, and if he saves us, for it is entirely His decision and not ours, we will be greatly changed. These blind men received their sight back, but we will receive a new resurrected soul. The Bible speaks of this as being born from above or born again as we read in John 3:7,
7 Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again [literally, born from above].
If we are born again, which we must or we will never see the kingdom of God, we will be a new personality made after the likeness of Jesus Christ Himself, and will have an intense desire to study and obey the Bible just as a new born infant desires strongly to suck from its mother's milk.
This all brings us back to the rich man who was told by Jesus, "one thing you lack: go your way, sell whatsoever you have, and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me." Jesus is not hear saying that by doing this that the rich man would be saved, for if you will remember, we can do nothing to be saved. But Jesus said this because He was in the process and going to save this man, but wanted to eliminate all hindrances from his life. That's why the scripture says, "Jesus beholding him love him."
The question I have for you is this: Are you loved by Jesus Christ? You cannot earn or do anything to get His love, and you cannot believe to get His love either. But you can cry out for mercy; you can pray for mercy; you can beg for mercy. Perhaps, just perhaps, God will save you too. Scripture says, "The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise" (Ps. 51:17).