I remember group projects in high school and college. They normally did not go well. Either a brainiac, an egomaniac, or a sluggard usually messed things up. Too many people contributing to one common project caused things to just not be as good as if one person is doing a project.
The reality is, most people think that becoming a Christian is a joint project — they contribute all they can and Jesus finishes the job. They have to contribute something since Jesus died for their salvation. They must do their part and Jesus then does his part. Yes, his part may be bigger and more, but still I’ve got to contribute at least something to make it sufficient.
But let’s be fully clear about what salvation is not.
- Salvation is not a group project
- Salvation is not a joint effort
- Salvation is not a 50/50 deal
- Salvation is not 2 colleagues both contributing something
- Salvation is not a team effort
- Salvation is not a partnership
- Salvation is not a shared labour
- Salvation is not like a doubles team in tennis
- Salvation is not me trying hard to get better and Jesus helping me improve
Salvation is all of grace with no self-contribution that to some degree, helps, adds to, secures, or improves our acceptability with God.
The only thing that merits anything is Christ’s worth and righteousness, and not anything about us. We indeed must come to him, but that faith is not meritorious, but rather is simply the means of receiving forgiveness and acceptance. Our faith doesn’t earn anything; it is just how we come emptyhanded to receive freely from Christ.
There is absolutely nothing whatsoever we can contribute to help Christ save us. All we give is our sin and our sinful hearts. We only receive, we don’t contribute.
I wonder when people will finally get it. Salvation is all of the Lord or t is not anything. This adds new meaning to Jesus’ words: ‘I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.’
Mack Tomlinson is a pastor at Providence Chapel, Denton TX He was ordained to the gospel ministry in 1977 in his home church of First Baptist Church of Clarendon TX. He conducts an itinerant preaching ministry around the U. S., overseas in Eastern Europe, the South Pacific, and other areas of the world.
taken from the Banner of Truth magazine 05 November 2018 www.banneroftruth.org and used with permission