Passing The Test
“Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.”
Ephesians 2:9-10 NLT
There has been a lot of test-taking in our house, lately. My children are back in school, Ethan passed his driving test, and I passed a test to obtain my Series 63 securities license. Many hours of reading, studying, and taking practice exams went into the preparation of passing this exam, not to mention the stress and anxiety of actually taking the job-required test. If there had been a legal and ethical way for someone to take the test for me, I would have jumped on it, but that’s not how these things work. I believe the reason why it can be hard to wrap our mind around the free gift of salvation is because it is a sharp contrast to the norm of our earthly world. Shortly before I was saved, I remember thinking I wasn’t ready to be a Christian, yet. I didn’t think I could be “that good” of a person. I thought I needed to make changes in my life and clean up my act before I could accept Jesus as my Savior. I viewed salvation as something that was earned rather than received. Becoming a Christian is not about measuring up, performing good deeds, or passing a test. It is simply admitting you are a sinner, in need of a Savior, and that Savior is Jesus Christ, the son of God. That’s it. No studying, preparing, or getting to a certain level of holiness. Keep in mind that Paul (formerly known as Saul), the author of the verses shared in this post, was a Pharisee who persecuted Christians before his life-changing encounter with Jesus. No sin is too great for God’s mercy. No person is beyond redemption. When Jesus died on the cross, he passed the test for everyone who wants to accept this gift.
“If you openly declare that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”
Romans 10:9 NLT
With the passing of my test, I have new privileges in my job and along with additional responsibilities. (Ethan has entered a whole new world of freedom and responsibility as a licensed driver.) Although Jesus has fulfilled our requirements of salvation, we have responsibilities, along with our new-found freedom, when we become Christians. Salvation is not meant to be a one-time decision with no further effect on our lives. There should be a transformation that takes place and continues as our knowledge of God and relationship with Him grows deeper.
“Then the way you live will always honor and please the Lord, and our lives will produce every kind of good fruit. All the while, you will grow as you learn to know God better and better.”
Colossians 1:10 NLT
“Work hard to show the results of your salvation, obeying God with deep reverence and fear. For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him.”
Philippians 2:12b-13 NLT
Once we have accepted Jesus as our Lord and Savior, we become new creatures, born again. As we progress on our spiritual walk, we become aware of areas of our life that are not pleasing to God and seek to live according to His purpose. This is not done to earn our salvation, but rather as an act of love, obedience, and gratitude to the One who gave it to us.