What is salvation? What Does Salvation Include?
First, there's full, complete, and eternal pardon for every sin. That's wonderful, but that's only part of it. God also freely gives everlasting life, mansions in the skies, adoption into His family, communion with Himself, rewards for service, and in fact "all things" to those whom He saves.
That is such good news, because everyone desperately needs to be saved. All have sinned and deserve punishment. There is not one single person in the whole world free from sin. This includes you too.
But there is salvation And there is salvation for you That's what you'll find explained in this booklet. While the way of salvation should be clear and plain, unfortunately there is confusion in the minds of millions as to how to be saved. Multitudes are trying to be saved in their own way while ignoring God's perfect way. To miss God's way is to perish eternally.
How marvelous that the God of the Ages should have a way for us He has looked after all the details. There is nothing left out. His way is complete, foolproof--perfect. It's so important that you know God's way.
The following pages use sharp contrasts to explain God's way of saving sinners. Read them with an open mind and an open heart.
Not Your Work for God, but God's Work for You
The truth simply is this: It just isn't possible for you to be saved by what you do for God. If you are of good moral character, that will not help. You may be educated, gifted, wealthy, successful, respectable, honored, but God accepts nothing in return for the gift of salvation.
Good deeds can't purchase pardon either. Not giving money to worthy causes, not volunteering for charities. You may do the very best you can, but the works of men's hands can never merit salvation.
"He saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy" (Titus 3:5).
"We have all become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a polluted garment" (Isaiah 64:6).
What then? How can one be saved? Listen carefully: The essence of salvation is that it's God's work for you. It's all provided for. The entire price has been paid. It's offered on one simple condition: that you take it as a free gift from God. We couldn't earn it or merit it in a million eternities. Therefore, God freely gives it to us.
"For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast" (Ephesians 2:8, 9).
"For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Romans 6:23).
Not a New Leaf, but a New Life
There are some who have promised God they will do better. Under stress of trouble or sorrow many have sincerely determined to forsake their sins and turn over a new leaf. But this is not the door to salvation. Even if the new leaf were kept unspotted--what about the other soiled days and years?
God's salvation is deeper than mere reformation. It's an absolutely new nature. It's a complete reckoning with all the past and an ironclad guarantee for the future. It's not washing of the hands--it's the gift of a new heart.
"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come" (2 Corinthians 5:17).
"Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty forever" (John 4:13, 14).
Be assured that God is not interested in patching up your old life. What He wants to do is to give you a completely new nature, part of His own nature. For this new nature is destined to live forever in eternity's heavenly glory. It's completely new, fresh from the hand of our Creator God.
"For neither circumcision counts for anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creation" (Galatians 6:15).
"You must be born again" (John 3:7).
How can one be saved? Not Going to Church, but Being a Christian
This is so important. It is true that the Church is God's divinely appointed institution in today's world. But salvation is not by the Church. You may attend the services regularly, sing the hymns, listen to the sermons, drop your gifts in the collection basket, join in observance of the Lord's Table, even join the Church--but these things will never save your soul.
Don't misunderstand. These things are right and good for all Christians to do, but we're talking about how to become a Christian. Don't mistake church privileges and duties for the door to eternal life. Many people have been saved in church, but not by the Church. Christ alone can save.
"And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved" (Acts 4:12).
"Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household" (Acts 16:31).
It is true that the main duty of the Church is to proclaim Christ and His gospel. But it is Christ and Christ alone who saves. One must have a personal, individual, actual transaction with the risen Son of God. The Church is the body of Christ. But in the matter of salvation, we're saved by the Head.
"Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior" (Ephesians 5:23).
"He is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him" (Hebrews 7:25).
Not Keeping the Law, but Love Keeping You
Are you trying to be saved by keeping the law? Do you expect to enter Heaven by the observance of the Ten Commandments? Would you be amazed if you heard that no one in all the world has ever been saved that way? While the law is just, holy, and good, it is not a means of salvation. Its purpose is to show you your inability to be righteous before God. It is a means of condemnation.
"For by works of the law no human being