555 Difficult Bible Questions Answered

388. Can an Honest, Moral, Upright Life Save Any One?

People are constantly being misled in this matter because they fail to understand what salvation really is. Salvation is personal friendship and companionship with God. It is hard to see how a man who is not a friend of God at death will become one immediately after death. Being honest and upright does not really get us acquainted with God. Paul was intensely moral before his conversion, but he found out later that he had been an enemy of God all the time. Then, too, salvation means humility and meekness. The man who believes he can save himself puts himself out of the kingdom of heaven by that very attitude of mind. For the kingdom of heaven is made up of people with childlike hearts, who have given up their pride and self-will. Nor will the mere naming of the name of Christ and making a public confession make the necessary change. Jesus said very distinctly: "Ye must be born again." It is extremely unwise and unsafe to quarrel or argue with Jesus. He knows all about the human heart and all about the kingdom of heaven. The only thing to do is to accept his plan of salvation and let him give us the new heart, the heart that is humble and obedient, that is not self-confident but trustful, the heart that loves God and so will feel at home in God's heaven. Scripture and experience alike teach that it is possible for one to have all the outward marks of religion, yet fail of possessing the real and vital thing. Saul of Tarsus was a most zealous man, trying to do the will of God, but after his conversion he felt that his former life had been very sinful, because he had not submitted himself to the will of God and accepted Christ's righteousness as his own. John Wesley's experience was similar, and countless others of this and earlier days. It must be remembered that it is not outward conduct that makes the real Christian; it is the inner life, the humility, the glad surrender to God's will, the warm love felt for God and for the souls for whom Christ died. It is not our good works that save us, but a simple, self-forgetful trust in Jesus. This faith brings the life and love which constitute religion. A simple trust in the death of Jesus as the remedy for our sin. A simple acceptance of Christ to be our righteousness and our salvation will bring the joy and power of a new life of real sonship of God and fellowship with Christ. See Rom. 10:1-4; Phil. 33-9-