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How Can I Be Saved From Hell?

How can a person be saved from hell? Does anyone know the answer? The disagreements about salvation seem to imply that the Bible is unclear. Some say works save us, while others say that we are saved by works plus grace, and some even claim that we are saved by grace alone.

Approaching a topic like this one can be daunting. We know so many intelligent people that disagree on salvation. If they can’t find the truth, how can we? What makes things even harder is that we love people who hold different views on religion. Our mother has told us that we are saved by being a good person, while our closest friend denies that hell is real, claiming that anyone who believes in it is cruel. Are we willing to disagree with them? What would that mean for our relationships? Disagreements on this topic could cause all sorts of division amongst our family and friends. Some risk a loss of relationships, while others even risk the loss of their life.

Here’s why salvation is still worth considering: because your life depends on it. More than this, the life of Jesus was brutally taken for it. The Savior was brutally killed on a cross so you could be saved. So, I urge you, dear reader, to urgently consider what the Bible has to say about salvation. Don’t shy away from this topic because of the strife it may cause in your relationships. It is better to lose a mother or dear friend than it is to lose your soul. It is better to forsake an earthly relationship for the sake of a relationship with the King of Heaven. Don’t perish to hell for fear of what will become of your life if you discover the truth of salvation.

Is The Bible Unclear?

When I come across a topic that so many people I admire disagree on, I think to myself: perhaps the supporting evidence or statistics just aren’t clear, but when it comes to salvation, that’s not the case. So what is it? To put it simply, it’s spiritual blindness (1 Cor. 2:14; Deut. 29:4). Our sin blinds us to our spiritual needs – primarily our need for Jesus. That is why some of the wisest men and women fail to see what is very clear in Scripture – they are not stupid; they are spiritually blind as each person is before salvation. Thankfully, this is something God can and does overcome, as He gives us ears to hear and eyes to see the glory of the cross.

Saved by Works or Faith?

For centuries there have been various teachings about how we are saved, even amongst those who lived in the days that the Bible was being written. So in God’s kindness, we get to learn from the terrible mistakes of those in the past.

Many people seem to think that because we were given the Ten Commandments, we can be saved by keeping them, but if that were the case, we’re all doomed. James 2:10-11 tells us that if we fail to do even one of the commandments, we are guilty of them all. That alone makes salvation seem impossible, but on top of that, Scripture tells us that in our flesh (our sinful state before salvation), we cannot please God (Rom. 8:8). Before salvation, we’re completely unable to please God with any "good” works. But we do some good things, right? Well…yes and no. Sure, we do kind deeds, but even these are tainted by our sin, and none of them can save us. As Isaiah says, “We have all become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a polluted garment.” (Is. 64:6a).

If we claim that we can be saved by keeping the law, not only do we contradict all of Scripture, but we also deny Christ. To say we can be saved by works is to say we have no need of Jesus. That’s the point Paul was making as he said, "I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness were through the law, then Christ died for no purpose.” (Gal. 2:21). To be all the more clear, Paul also says, "nevertheless knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the Law but through faith in Christ Jesus, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, so that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the Law; since by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified” (Gal. 2:16).

Pursuing salvation by keeping the law was an age-old problem that many Jews attempted. They thought that if they were circumcised or only ate "clean” foods, they would be saved from hell. So we are told, "But Israel, pursuing a law of righteousness, did not arrive at that law. Why? Because they did not pursue it by faith, but as though it were by works. They stumbled over the stumbling stone” (Rom. 9:31). So if the law can’t save us, and it’s a stumbling stone, then why does God give it to us?

Our Need for the Law

Is God teasing us by giving us a law we're unable to keep? Is He intentionally trying to confuse us? God didn’t give us the commandments to make the message of salvation unclear; instead, we have humans to blame for that. Our sinful flesh cannot accept grace because it wants something to boast in other than Jesus. That is why we try to earn salvation through good works. The true purpose of the law is to show us our sins and our need for a Savior. Have you lied? Stolen? Used the Lord’s name in vain? Looked with lust? Hated someone? You have failed to keep the law and need a Savior – that is the message we can take from the law. So then, If we aren’t saved by works, how are we saved?

The Glorious Gospel

Now, we come to the most joyful message that will kill our boasting in self and allow our soul to rejoice in Christ. This message can give our troubled heart rest. The truth of salvation rescues us from the pits of hell and grants us eternal life with our Lord. It’s so simple that even a child can understand it.

The Bible teaches that all people have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Rom. 3:23). We can all point to someone more evil than us, but none of us can point to ourselves as sinless. The only person who can truthfully claim sinlessness is God, and that is why we deserve the punishment of hell for our sins (1 John 3:5). Because God is holy, righteous, and just He must punish sin (Matt. 25:46). If He didn’t, He would be like an unjust judge letting a violent criminal off the hook. But, out of love and compassion, God made a way for sinners to be free from punishment while still maintaining His justice.

He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, who lived a perfect life on this earth, being truly God and truly man (John 3:16). At just the right time, Jesus suffered and died for our sins. He took the place of every person who would be saved. On the cross, He took upon Himself the wrath of God for our sins that is worth an eternity in hell. That way, when we are saved, we can seriously and joyfully say that our sins have been punished by Jesus on the cross because He bore the weight of our wrongs (Gal. 3:13). When a person is saved, they not only escape hell, but they inherit eternal life and a righteous standing with God (2 Cor. 5:21).

So then, if that is what Christ has done, what must we do? We must simply do what Jesus preached on earth as He said, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” (Matt. 4:17). To repent is to turn from your sin and strive to live a righteous life before God. Not to earn your salvation but out of love for Him, knowing that only Christ could earn salvation for you. The message of salvation is so simple it can also be said in this concise sentence: "If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved” (Rom. 10:9).

There are no works required of us to be saved, so we are told, “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast” (Eph. 2:8-9). This grace was granted to us through Jesus Christ, and by it, we have peace with God – a completely new standing with the King of Heaven ( 2 Tim. 1:9; Rom. 5:1).

Today is the day of salvation, and the moment of Christ’s return is nearer each breath we take (2 Cor. 6:2). Will we continue to mock the Jesus who was crucified for us? Or will we, in love, repent of our sins and believe in Him? Will we perish in hell because we fear the change salvation will bring to our lives, or will we happily embrace the grace of God? Turn from the darkness of your sin and live in the light of Jesus Christ today.

"But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit”

Titus 3:4-5


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