Below is an insightful article, written by John, an occasional writer and frequent commenter on this web site. John is a successful gentleman with a wonderful family who was trapped in the Lordship “salvation” mess for many, many years — but finally, about a year ago, it dawned on him that God’s salvation “is a Gift!” He then trusted Jesus Christ alone as his Savior.
Romans 3:23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God
When we are confronted with the fact that we are guilty sinners, accountable to God for our sins, there are a variety of common, inappropriate responses that stand in the way of salvation. Among them are attempts at denial, rationalization and compensation. Each of these responses inhibits the receipt of God’s provision for salvation, set forth clearly in Romans 3:24 Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.
Perhaps the most beguiling of these is compensation. Compensation is the attempt by the helpful sinner to restore his broken relationship with God. I will use the following definition of compensation from Dictionary.com:
3. something given or received as an equivalent for services, debt, loss, injury, suffering, lack, etc.; indemnity: The insurance company paid him $2000 as compensation for the loss of his car.
Compensation, not Christ, is the cornerstone of the faith for much of the professing Christian community. The forms of compensation range from the performance of works, to the promise of works or to the evidence of works being brought into the equation of eternal salvation.
But, the Bible tells us that God will not accept our help in saving us:
Isaiah 64:6 But we are like an unclean thing, and all of our righteousnesses are as filthy rags.…
Following is some of the non-Biblical compensation jargon of false gospels for the helpful sinner:
The Lord helps those who help themselves
Salvation is free, but it will cost you everything
Surrender all or not at all
Repent of your sins to be saved
Accept Jesus as Lord and Savior
Turn your life over to Jesus
Put Christ on the throne of your life
Turn from your sins to God
Get on the straight and narrow
Confess Christ publicly
Make a personal commitment to Christ
Count the cost
Give your life to Jesus
Take up your cross and follow Jesus to be saved
God does not want our help in saving us. He does not need our help. He will not accept our help. Neither does he want, need, require nor accept our help in keeping ourselves saved.
The only appropriate response to the conviction that we are alienated from God by sin is to realize that we are helpless sinners. The jailer in Acts 16 knew he was helpless:
Acts 16:29-30 Then he called for a light and sprang in, and came trembling, and fell down before Paul and Silas, and brought them out and said. Sirs, what must I do to be saved?
Note that in their response to the jailer, neither Paul, nor Silas introduced any of the false aphorisms set forth above. Instead, they told the jailer only this:
Acts 16:31 And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.
Until one realizes that God does not require, want, need, nor accept his help in saving or keeping him saved, he does not apprehend God’s Free Grace.
Help for Sinners
Once we realize we are helpless sinners, there is help. Everything necessary for our salvation has already been done. We need only to trust in Jesus Christ and His finished work on the cross.
The Only Way of Salvation in its Simplicity << Click