The previous posts will be hard to believe for some because they want a part to play in their salvation, to have something that they can claim they did to get themselves saved, some condition that they had personally fulfilled. Thus you hear people say things like “I chose God,” “I found God,” “I put my faith in God,” “I believed the Gospel,” or “I asked Jesus to come into my heart.”
But the good news is the exact opposite of these things!
You didn’t find God; God found You! You were the lost sheep in Jesus’ parable, and he’s the shepherd who searched for and found you.
Your faith doesn’t save you; Jesus’ faith does. Or do you really think that the difference between those who get to spend eternity with Jesus and those who don’t is that the former made superior choices? In that case, we really are saved by our own righteous acts after all!
You didn’t believe the Gospel. You couldn’t; it’s too good to be fully believed. Jesus believed it for you.
You might have asked Jesus to come into your heart, but that doesn’t mean he wasn’t there until you did so. Indeed, he was there all along, waiting for you to realize it.
From His point of view we were found before we were lost – He found us in Christ before He lost us in Adam. We were given grace before the fall. He was simply waiting for the opportune time in which to appear – in which to reveal what has always been: the reality of our salvation in Christ Jesus. – Andre Rabe
Salvation is always God’s initiative, not people’s, which is religion. Religion will tell you what you must do to achieve salvation, enlightenment, heaven, perfection, happiness, etc., but the Gospel declares what God has done for us to achieve it on our behalf.
The salvation of God is unconditional.
Your efforts are not needed.
“He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit” (Titus 3:5).
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself” (2 Corinthians 5:17-18).
“So then it does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy” (Romans 9:16).
Being “born again” is a term used synonymously with being saved. Once again, it is not anything we do that gets us born again; it was caused by Christ’s resurrection. “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead” (1 Peter 1:3, emphasis mine). Think about it – who ever made any kind of contribution to their own birth? Nobody. The work fully belongs to the mother.
“Even when we were dead in our transgressions, [God] made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved)” (Ephesians 2:5). We were saved when we were dead in our transgressions, not when we decided to turn to God. That is precisely why we were saved by grace (i.e. by what we could never earn and is only according to God’s unmerited favor).
Reconciliation took place when we were still enemies; “…while we were enemies we were reconciled to God…” (Romans 5:10). God didn’t reconcile us after we had chosen to become buddies with him. Even after we were reconciled, we remained enemies (in our own minds) until we realized that God was never our enemy. So reconciliation must have taken place for all humanity (unless you would like to hold to a theory of limited atonement, where God reconciled only those he knew would believe later).
We do not accept Christ into our lives; He has already accepted us into His! Any accepting done on our part is simply accepting the fact that He has already accepted us. – Christian Erickson
If you reject Him, He will reject your rejection of Him. – Andre Rabe
You can exclude yourself, but you can’t stop him from including you. – John Crowder
The New Testament generally credits even repentance (2 Timothy 2:25), faith (Ephesians 2:8-9), and belief (Acts 13:48) to the work of God within.
You have no part to play in the actualization of your salvation.
You do, however, have a part in the experience of your salvation. Indeed, it is you who experiences it. It is you and your choices that determine when and how you experience the salvation that Jesus has made fully available to you. Salvation is objectively real independent of us, but subjectively real (i.e. experienced) only through our participation by faith.
…Salvation – or happiness… – is by faith and not by works. Since the repair job is already done, all you have to do is believe – to trust that it’s done – and you’re home free; because except for your unbelief, you were home free already. – Robert Capon