Who needs it?

Most people seem to think God grades on a curve. If you try to be a good person and don’t make too many serious mistakes, you’ll probably be given an average or above average grade when you die, pass the course of life, and go to heaven; if you’re below average, you fail, and, well…

That might sound like a fair enough arrangement, especially if you consider yourself a better than average person, but according to the Bible, it doesn’t work that way.

None of us deserve to go to heaven. The Bible says, “There is not a righteous man on earth who does good and does not sin” (Ecclesiastes 7:20). Anyone who thinks they’re good enough to make it to heaven on their own is only kidding themselves—and they will miss out on God’s greatest gift.

You can’t be good enough. You can’t earn salvation or work your way to heaven. “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us” (Titus 3:5 NKJV).

So who needs salvation? Everyone!

What’s it going to cost me?

“Surely there’s a catch,” you’re probably thinking. “Surely I have to give up something, work hard, or do something to deserve salvation.” No, you don’t—and that’s the beautiful thing about salvation! “It is the gift of God” (Ephesians 2:8). If you had to earn or pay for it, it wouldn’t be a gift.

Salvation is not a reward for good works. Your good works can’t get you into heaven any more than your bad deeds can damn you to hell once you’ve asked for and received God’s forgiveness through Jesus’ sacrifice. You just have to accept the fact that you couldn’t possibly pay enough to buy your way into heaven, and then humbly accept God’s gift. It’s as simple as that.

What is sin?

The most common Hebrew word used for sin in the Old Testament is defined as “to miss the goal or path of right and duty, to miss the mark, to wander from the way.” The Old Testament also uses words for sin translated as transgression of God’s will, rebellion, and going astray. The New Testament uses a variety of words when speaking of sin, translated as wrongdoing, deviation from truth, unrighteousness of heart and life, unbelief, and willful disobedience.

Are there any sins too bad for God to forgive?

God wants to freely forgive everyone for every wrong they have ever committed. “For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him” (John 3:17). He wants to forgive everyone, and the way to experience His forgiveness is to believe in Jesus (Acts 16:31).

When people hear the truth—God’s plan of forgiveness and salvation through Jesus’ sacrifice—if they believe and accept Jesus as their Savior, their sins are forgiven. But if they willfully refuse His forgiveness, God’s hands are tied. God has given every person the majesty of free choice, and He will not override their decision to reject His offer.

Of course, just because someone rejects the truth the first time they hear it, doesn’t mean they’ll never be given another opportunity to make the right choice. Still, the Bible tells us, “Now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation” (2 Corinthians 6:2 NKJV). “For you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away” (James 4:14 NKJV).

Why Jesus?

“Why must I ask Jesus into my heart?” you may ask. “Why do I have to use that name? Why can’t I just pray to God directly and find salvation that way?”

Because Jesus is the only One who came to earth and gave His life for you. Jesus said, “I am the door”—into His Father’s house, the kingdom of God. “If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved” (John 10:9). So if you want to get to heaven, you have to walk through Jesus, the open door.

Then what about the adherents of all the other religions in the world? Can’t they be saved? Yes, they can all get saved, regardless of their religion. Even if they don’t have any religion, they can still be saved—but only through Jesus.

Can I lose my salvation?

No! One of the most marvelous things about the gift of salvation is that once you have received Jesus in your heart, He is there to stay. He has come into your life, and He will be with you forever. Jesus has said that He will never leave you nor forsake you, and that He will be with you always, even to the end of the world (Hebrews 13:5; Matthew 28:20 KJV). There is nothing you could ever say or do that would nullify these wonderful promises.

Jesus knows you’re not perfect and never will be—and He loves you just the same! When He forgave you for your sins, He not only forgave your past sins but your present sins and those you will commit in the future. Eternal life is not a sometimes thing—saved and lost and saved again, every time you make a mistake and say you’re sorry. There’s no such thing! Once you’re saved, you’re saved forever!