How do we attain salvation?
How do we attain salvation and get into Heaven? Is it by ‘being a good person?’ If so, what’s the definition of that? Is it by doing good deeds? If so, how many does it take? Or is faith in Jesus Christ the only element we need? Would an “evil” person, such as a serial murderer for example, get into Heaven if they had faith in Jesus?
How do we attain salvation? Is it good deeds, or faith? Is it both?
Faith is All it Takes!
The short answer is “faith.” It is only by faith in Jesus Christ that we attain our salvation. The bible verses stating this are Ephesians 2:8–9 ... but it would be a crime to quote those and not add in verse 10. So here’s Ephesians 2:8–10 (CEB).
You are saved by God’s grace because of your faith. This salvation is God’s gift. It’s not something you possessed. (9) It’s not something you did that you can be proud of. (10) Instead, we are God’s accomplishment, created in Christ Jesus to do good things. God planned for these good things to be the way that we live our lives.
And so the full answer is “faith, but don’t forget your good works either! God made you for those!” The reason faith overrides all else is because our faith is premised on the forgiveness of sins and redemption of sinners through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross. Every sinner, from the most mundane all the way to the most brutal murderers, has the chance to put their faith in Jesus at any time and repent, right up to the last day of their life.
This seems wrong when we think of the most heinous criminals ever known. Some people’s sins are so grievous, so brutal, that our basic human sense of right and wrong makes us feel that these people should go to hell. From our perspective it’s not fair for them to have lived a life of horrible sin, having committed heinous acts against their fellow human beings who were created in God’s image, only to say “sorry” at the very end and return to Jesus in repentance, begging for forgiveness.
But to put it simply, that is a cornerstone tenet of our Christian faith. Jesus Christ sacrificed himself on the cross, dying for our sins. If we honestly confess our sins to Him in genuine repentance, and have faith…