In this series, we are taking a look at some of the manmade “loopholes” that we often fabricate when it comes to our Christianity. We have looked at the categories of WORSHIP and RELATIONSHIPS so far, and today we turn our attention to the area of SALVATION.
Although God has been abundantly clear in His Word concerning His plan for redeeming humanity through Jesus Christ, this has not prevented countless people from trying to find the nonexistent loopholes in that plan.
Have you ever had a friend who said that they “knew a shortcut,” only to find out that this “shortcut” ended up getting him/her completely lost? This is often the mentality that we find regarding salvation within the religious world. Many people seem to think that there are “shortcuts” and “loopholes” to get into heaven. The Bible simply does not teach this.
Let me be clear about something at the outset:
Salvation is ONLY possible because of the love and the grace of God, demonstrated by the sacrifice of His only Son, Jesus Christ!! (Eph. 2; 2 Tim. 1:8-9; Jn. 3:16; etc.)
When it comes to salvation, you and I can never earn it, deserve it, or work our way towards it (Eph. 2:8-9; Rom. 3; etc.). Anyone who suggests otherwise has been “severed from Christ” and has “fallen away from grace” (Gal. 5:4).
However, when it comes to the process for accepting/receiving/obtaining this “gift,” God has put the “ball in our court,” so to speak. Unlike some of the teachings that exist within the religious world today, God is NOT going to save everyone. For those who choose to willingly and deliberately practice sin – and many have/do – God will inflict punishment and vengeance on them on the day of His return (Mt. 7:13-14; 2 Thess. 1:5-10; etc.). This is an inescapable and biblical truth.
In other words, we are in the same basic situation as Adam and Eve when they lived in the Garden of Eden:
We all have a CHOICE.
So, let’s examine some of the more common loopholes that people suggest regarding salvation, and see what God has to say about them:
LOOPHOLE #1 – “If I am a good person and do good things, God will let me into heaven. I don’t need religion, obedience, or church in order to be saved!”
Let’s start with the part of this statement that IS true: we absolutely DO need to do “good things/works.” In fact, we are told in Ephesians 2:10 that we were “created in Christ Jesus for good works…that we should walk in them.”
The problem with this proposed loophole is that our “good works” are not the CAUSE of our salvation. These works do not put God in our debt, and – in fact – they are not nearly as “good” as we might think. Isaiah says (64:6) that our righteous deeds are like “a polluted garment” in the eyes of God. Can you imagine being proud of a polluted garment?? We should remember this imagery the next time we are tempted to put our good deeds on display for others to see!
To trust in our good works for salvation is the equivalent of using a hairbrush to wash our clothes. Yes, you can do it, but it won’t actually get your clothes clean. This is why they make washing machines.
If we go back to our passage in Ephesians 2, Paul makes this clear when he says that we “have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast” (vs. 8-9).
To think that our “good works” can merit our salvation is a toxic, unbiblical, and insulting notion.
In addition to this, both Jesus and Paul made it clear that there ARE no “good people” in this world. We are told in Romans 3:23, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God;” and Jesus said to the rich young ruler, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good except God alone” (Mk. 10:18).
Quite frankly, this loophole exists - in the minds of many people – primarily because we prefer to define our own religious terms instead of allowing God to define them. If being “good” was a subjective and flexible spiritual concept, this might be an acceptable way of thinking; but it is not. We dare not fall for the lie that we are even capable of BEING a “good person,” much less that we can be SAVED by such a thing! This, my friends, is why we need Jesus!!