‘For it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfil his good purpose.’ (Philippians 2:13)
“I would love to get saved but I can’t because I wouldn’t be able to keep it.” “I’m too bad for God to save me, I have done too much wrong for him to want me or be capable of doing anything with me.”
When involved in evangelism these are two of the most familiar refrains I hear from people. I am not sure if it is peculiar to Northern Ireland but these are very popular reasons people give in refusing to make a commitment to Christ. However, coming from Northern Ireland, which still has echoes of a rich Christian heritage, I find that most people have at least a nominal respect for God along with a desire to be on his ‘good side’ on Judgement Day.
The ‘father of lies’ (John 8:44) aka, the Devil, has gone some way to convincing people with this mindset that they are beyond help and condemned to a lost eternity by an angry God who loves to see people fail.
However, the verse quoted at the top of this article ought to go a long way in dealing Satan’s blatant untruth. When a person acknowledges Jesus as their Lord and Saviour, He begins a work in them which He as God of creation is infinity capable of completing because of His unsearchable power.
Ephesians 2:8-10 is even more explicit about how the process of salvation works:
‘For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.’
An individual’s salvation and the maintenance of it does not depend on his or her ability to keep it, it is entirely a result of God’s mercy extended to the whole human race. As flawed beings who have been tainted by ‘the fall’ as described in Genesis 3, it is quite correct to say that we cannot live for God in our own strength, but He is more that able to sustain us by his own mighty power.
More than that, God is not someone who delights in making people suffer. As Psalm 103: 8 puts it, ‘the LORD is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love.’ He went as far as sending His only Son, Jesus, to die on Calvary’s cross so that ‘whoever believes in Him will now perish but have eternal life.’ (John 3:16)
If you are seriously seeking a relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ, He is more that willing to grant you a fresh start with Him. Your wrongdoings past, present and future are cleansed by the blood of the sinless lamb who is Jesus Christ. That applies to everyone regardless of who you are or what you have done. All we must do is ask Him.
Joe Boyd (Author of ‘Trading Places: From Hopelessness to Happiness’)