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Questions: What are the main ones?

Gary Googe Nov 14

If you were to die today and our Lord asked you why He should let you into Heaven, what would you say? This is a question I’ve asked many people. It is a question I hope you will often ask. I learned a long time ago that it is a question like this that will help you and the person you’re talking with to learn what they’re depending on for their salvation. What you have to do is ask the question and then be quiet, letting the person give their answer. All too often you’ll find that they’ve been depending on some work or combination of them. Are they saved? If they’ve been depending on some form of work for it, they are not. It makes no difference how “religious” they think they are, what ritual they’ve performed, or any other such thing. Gaining salvation is all about faith and the grace provision God has made. It is not about a person’s works to qualify for it.

Ephesians 2:8-9

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. [Emphasis added]

I repeat these verses concerning this matter many times in a variety of studies on our website. There are others too.

Romans 4:4-5

4 Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt.

5 But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness. [Emphasis added]

All these verses written by the apostle Paul tell us basically the same thing but in different words. It is faith alone in the work of Jesus Christ that provides salvation. Nothing else! Now let’s get on with answering these important questions.

1—What must I do to get to Heaven when I die?

As you’ll notice, this very important question was answered in the opening section of this article. The main thing to realize about this is that most people don’t understand the principle of salvation by grace through faith alone, let alone the principle of right division of Scripture. Among other things, this means they don’t understand that what God required for salvation in times past is not the same as it is in this present Dispensation of Grace. Therefore, it depends on which part of the Bible you’re reading as to what’s set forth as the means for one’s salvation. Yes, faith and believing something has always been a part of it, but what was required for people to believe and do has changed from time to time. For more information about this please see my other articles on this website where I address this subject specifically. Here are the names of some of the articles.

Bible: What are The Two Programs?

Gospel: Is OUR gospel in “the four gospels?”

Gospels: Did Peter & Paul preach the same gospel?

Now let’s move on to our second question.

2—Do my works of righteousness count for my salvation?

Gaining salvation is not a progressive thing. It happens at a moment in time when a person understands and believes the gospel concerning what God has done through Jesus Christ to provide a way for it. There’s a sense in which it can be compared to birth or even to conception. These things happen in a moment of time. Growth and development are another matter altogether. They are progressive, being dependent upon one’s growth in understanding and applying God’s Word. This has always been the case. Here’s what the apostle Peter had to say about this in his day.

2 Peter 3:18

18 But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever. Amen. [Emphasis added]

The apostle Paul lets us know spiritual growth will take diligence on our part.

2 Timothy 2:15

15 Study [SPOUDAZO = be diligent] to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. [Emphasis added]

This principle of “rightly dividing” is about understanding that while ALL the Bible is FOR us, it is not all TO us or about us. At the heart of this is understanding that it is the apostle Paul who is our apostle and the one with the information of Scripture that specifically relates to us in our time.

Romans 11:13

13 For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I [Paul] am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify [MEGALUNO = to make great or draw attention to] mine office: [Emphasis added]

When this is not understood and applied there will always be a tendency to think our works have something to do with the attainment of our salvation. Works of various kinds are surely to be a part of our lives after we are saved, but not as the means to our salvation.

Ephesians 2:10

10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them. [Emphasis added]

So, good works are important in one’s Christian life, but not at all for our salvation.

Again, Ephesians 2:8-9

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. [Emphasis added]

3—Will I have a second chance if I don’t go to Heaven when I die?

Some church groups believe you will but there’s not one verse in all sixty-six books of the Bible that tells us that. The first passage of Scripture that comes to my mind on this subject is this one.

Hebrews 9:27

27 And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment: [Emphasis added]

Even though this verse is specifically addressed to Israel, the Hebrews, it relates to people of every generation. The idea of getting a second chance for salvation after physical death is at best wishful thinking. This, therefore, reminds us of the urgency of presenting the gospel to people. Once they’ve taken that last breath, their time and opportunity for salvation has expired. All unbelievers who have not accepted God’s provision for their salvation are resurrected to spend eternity in a place of torment. Our Lord’s words on this during His earthly ministry apply to all people in every generation.

John 5:28-29

28 Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice,

29 And shall come forth; they that have done good [meaning they responded with faith in God’s provision for their salvation], unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil [those who don’t accept it], unto the resurrection of damnation. [Emphasis added]

The is all about accepting or rejecting what God did to provide them all with a way of salvation. Here again we have a passage addressed to Israel that speaks of this for people of every generation.

John 3:17-18

17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.

18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. [Emphasis added]

Believing in the name of Him is speaking of accepting His identity as the promised Messiah. This is what was necessary for salvation at one time, but today it is about accepting the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ as the sole basis for one’s salvation. Today it is not about just accepting Jesus as the Messiah.

2 Corinthians 5:19-21

19 To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.

20 Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God.

21 For he [God the Father] hath made him [Jesus Christ] to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. [Emphasis added]

It is by accepting God’s work in Christ that we gain His righteousness, the goodness necessary for salvation. Our own works of righteousness are totally inadequate for it.

Romans 11:6

6 And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then it is no more grace: otherwise work is no more work. [Emphasis added]

It is His work and not our own that must be accepted if salvation is to be gained.

4—Can I know for sure that I’m saved?

The simple answer is yes. It is all about following the instructions of believing what God has said about salvation and the means to it. If you’ve accepted that, salvation is yours now and forever. A passage that is often quoted in relation to this is this next one.

1 John 5:13

13 These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God. [Emphasis added]

However, this, again, was for those who in a time in the past accepted His name, that is, His identity as the Christ [the promised Messiah] as means for their salvation. Today, salvation demands belief in what some call the cross work of Christ, including His resurrection. But when that is accepted, one’s salvation is said to be sealed by the Holy Spirit. It is that work of God that secures it permanently.

2 Corinthians 1:22

22 Who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts. [Emphasis added]

Ephesians 4:30

30 And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. [Emphasis added]

This provides us with the security of knowing we’ll never be separated from God. This bond can never be broken by you or by anyone else.

Romans 8:38-39

38 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,

39 Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. [Emphasis added]

Because of this factor our salvation couldn’t be any more secure than it is.

5—Will I be rewarded for my obedience to God?

The short answer to this is that you surely will. It is this more than anything else that you should be working for today. Every decision you make as a believer affects it. God is keeping track of our faithfulness.

Romans 14:9-10

9 For to this end Christ both died, and rose, and revived, that he might be Lord both of the dead and living.

10 But why dost thou judge thy brother? or why dost thou set at nought thy brother? for we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. [Emphasis added]

2 Corinthians 5:10

10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad. [Emphasis added]

There are a variety of judgments in Scripture, but it is the Judgment Seat of Christ that we as believers need to be most concerned about, for it is at this judgment that our faithfulness to our Lord will be evaluated. Our sins were all judged on the cross of Christ, so that won’t be a part of it. Instead, it will be our works, our productivity, that will be tried and evaluated. It is on this occasion that it will be determined what is due us in reward for our service to our Lord. The great danger we all face is to be so occupied with the temporal things of life that we don’t even think about this. Again, every decision counts. Life truly is all about decisions. We all make them every day. The decision to accept Christ as your Savior was the most important one you’ll ever make. But the applications we make of God’s Word is something that’s to be done daily. The passage that comes to my mind as I think of this is the statement made by Joshua to the people of Israel. The principle set forth here is quite applicable to us today.

Joshua 24:14-15

14 Now therefore fear the LORD, and serve him in sincerity and in truth: and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the flood, and in Egypt; and serve ye the LORD.

15 And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD. [Emphasis added]

These last words of this statement need to be ours. Is this how you feel about it? If it isn’t, don’t you think it is time for a change? Where and how you spend eternity depends on your decisions about all this. It couldn’t be any more serious than that.

As I close this, I’m reminded of the words on a gravestone in a graveyard a few blocks from where I graduated from college. I hope they’ll speak to you the way they did to me over fifty years ago when I first saw them.

Come view my tomb as you pass by.

As you are now, so once was I.

As I am now, so must you be.

So, prepare to follow me.

 

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