Over the course of this coming year, the twelve weekend devotions I am privileged to write will focus on giving a clear biblical answer to the two most important questions any human being can ever ask.
The two questions are: (1) What must I do to be saved? and (2) How can I know for certain that I am saved?
If these are indeed the two most important questions any human being can ever ask, then an accurate answer to them is a matter of life and death—even eternal life and eternal death.
According to the teaching of our Lord in John 8:44, the devil is a “liar and a murderer.” With all his fiendish fury, Satan is committed to murdering the souls of mankind, and his most effective murder weapon is the lie. It was the murder weapon he used in the garden of Eden with Adam and Eve.
The devil knows that if he can concoct, propagate, and sell lying answers to these two crucial questions, he will surely secure success in his massive soul-murdering enterprise. Therefore, nothing is of greater importance than making sure that we have discovered from the Bible God’s infallible answers to these two questions.
The first question, “What must I do to be saved?” takes us immediately to the weighty issues of precisely how a holy and inflexibly just God can forgive our sins, accept us as righteous in His sight, and adopt us into His family without in any way staining the glory of His holiness and justice. Also, it takes us directly to the issue of discovering the means by which we are warranted to appropriate to ourselves the gracious salvation which God has provided for sinners and freely offers to all in the gospel.
To answer this question, it is vital for us to understand at the beginning that all the religious systems in the world can be reduced to one of two descriptions. They are either a religion of “do” or a religion of “done.” Saving religion as revealed in the Scriptures amounts to a declaration that we are saved on the basis of that which has already been “done.”
Many texts of Scripture beautifully summarize this simple fact. Among them, perhaps none exceeds in clarity the words of the Apostle Paul: “The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost” (1 Tim. 1:15). In this text, the Apostle underscores the fact that this unique person, Christ Jesus, who by His coming into the world and doing what He did in behalf of sinners, is the one who saves them—even the foremost among sinners.
In subsequent meditations we will direct our attention to who Christ Jesus is and to the very specific things that Christ Jesus did in order to provide us with the salvation that is all “done” and not dependent on our “do.”