By David Brandt Berg
Salvation is by faith—pure and simple! Salvation is the result of believing: “Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved” (Acts 16:31 NIV). If you get an emotional high or some other physical manifestation—a “feeling” of any kind—that is a bonus and beside the point. You are saved by faith in God’s Word, because He promised you salvation if you would meet His simple, single condition: believe. You’re not saved by your feelings.
It doesn’t matter how you feel, because God’s Word is unchanging and is not affected by that. It’s your faith that counts. If you believe the Word, regardless of how you feel, you’re saved! Eventually you probably will have some feeling, but it is not the “experience” or the feeling that saves you; that is a result of your being saved.
God’s plan from the beginning is based on free choice—your choice. God gave us free will to either choose to receive Jesus or to reject Him. Salvation is there for you. It’s yours, ready for the taking, but you must make the decision.
Salvation is a gift. All you have to do is reach out your hand of faith and receive it. Salvation is a miracle of God, but it’s yours for the asking. All you have to do is receive Jesus into your heart. He’s there, waiting to come in.
Believe and you’re saved. Period! Plus nothing! The Word plus faith plus nothing! That’s it! If you believe the Word and receive Him, it’s done! Of course, if you are thankful for Jesus’ love and the gift of salvation, your life will show it (James 2:17–18). But the instant you believe, it’s done, before you even have a chance to thank Him or show Him how much you love Him in return.
Salvation is not a reward. It’s not payment for anything good you may have done or anything bad you may have not done. It is a gift that you don’t earn and can’t earn by any kind of works of your own. “By grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast” (Ephesians 2:8–9).
All you have to do is receive it. That’s what He means by “not of yourselves.” The one thing you have to do, anybody can do, even a little child: Receive it. You don’t have to work up some emotional experience. You don’t have to pray it down or work it up. You just have to receive Him, that’s all. Plus nothing!
You don’t need to worry about whether or not you are going to lose your salvation or how you are going to manage to stay saved, because eternal salvation by grace means once saved, always saved. Once you’ve received Jesus Christ as your Savior, there are no ifs, ands, or buts about it—you are a saved child of God! “He who believes in the Son has everlasting life” (John 3:36). That one verse should be enough to end all your worries. You have eternal life right now, and you can’t lose it.
Besides, you can’t keep yourself saved any more than you could save yourself in the first place. Even though you’re not perfect and you’re bound to make mistakes, God is going to save you anyway. Salvation is forever. He’s already given it to you, and He’s not going to take it back. It’s yours!