Sometimes I have the unmitigated gall to think that I know just what it takes to guarantee salvation, only to discover with minimal soul searching how wrong I really am. Time and time again I’m reminded that I had nothing to do with my own salvation. No matter how hard I try, I cannot earn my way into heaven and neither can you. Now hell is a different story but, for someone like me who has gotten by on a unique blend of intelligence, street smarts, business skills and basically a good heart, not being able to help myself do anything, was and at times, still is, a difficult concept to swallow. I mean the more I read and the more I accept Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior, the more I understand that I just need to get over it.

Scripture reinforces the fact that I need to stop fooling myself into believing that I’ve got it like that, when in fact I really don’t. I am powerless in this regard. I am naked and clearly vulnerable when it comes to realizing that Christ is the way the truth and the light of my salvation. Now I know that may sound trite to some of you, but my struggle is not to read anything into this simply fact. God has given all of us, not just me, the only guarantee possible to secure eternal life. His name is Jesus. You, we can come up with all kinds of scenarios about works and lifestyle and love and various other points of reference because the bible is full of examples, along with the importance of each. However, in the final analysis, the answer is still Jesus. The question is can you accept that? Can you accept and do you believe? Can you internalize His crucifixion as absolution for sin? Do you believe He is coming back with a purpose? “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.” Acts 4:12.

The entire bible rests on this one set of principles that should guide us in the development and maturing of our faith. This is what I’ve come to believe and as such, my focus must change from trying to earn the right to enter eternity, to rejoicing in a job well done by Jesus. He definitely did what I couldn’t and you can’t. It makes sense then to honor God by honoring His child. I can do that by expressing thanks and sincere appreciation for the ultimate sacrifice on my behalf. That expression of appreciation can, and indeed should, manifest itself in an attempt to copy His style, emulate His ways, live according to His Word, never questioning His motive, His intent or His authenticity. As I have found in just about all of scripture, this is not hard to understand. This is the gospel. The question is can you handle it? The answer to that question is not as simple as it seems. The answer requires a relationship between you and the God you claim to serve. He knows what is deep down inside and so do you. I’m just acknowledging here in public that for me it can often be a struggle; one that I am certainly willing to undertake. I must. I have to. “However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me-the task of testifying to the gospel of God’s grace.” Acts 20:24. May God bless and keep you always.

James A. Washington is the publisher of The Dallas Weekly. He can be reached at dallasweekly.com.

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