Who can be saved?

John 3:16 is an oft-quoted verse for good reason. It declares, "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life." Whoever believes in Jesus can be saved. He extends the invitation of salvation to all. Galatians 3:27–28 says, "For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus." Jesus is the great unifier of humanity (Ephesians 2:11–16). He does not exclude people from salvation, but lovingly offers it to all.

Sometimes people think they must perform certain good works in order to be saved, but this couldn't be further from the truth. Romans 3 makes it clear that no human is righteous. We cannot do good on our own. Romans 3 also explains that it is only by God's grace, received through faith, that we are justified. Ephesians 2:8–9 says, "For by grace you 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." Therefore, we do not have to be a "good person" in order to be saved. In fact, we can't be!

Sometimes people think that they have committed too many sins, or too heinous of sins, to be saved. This is also patently untrue. God is able to forgive all sin. First Corinthians 6:9–10 lists some types of people who won't inherit the kingdom of God, and then verse 11 says, "And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God." Paul, the apostle to the Gentiles and one of the most prominent writers of the New Testament, persecuted the church with great zeal before he was saved (Acts 9). Paul wrote, "The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost. But I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life" (1 Timothy 1:15–16). Forgiveness is available to all who will believe in Jesus.

Anyone who wants to be saved can be. The requirement for salvation is to put your faith in Jesus. Admit that you are a sinner and that you deserve eternal death, the punishment for sin (Romans 6:23). Believe that Jesus is who He says He is—God in human flesh, who lived a perfect life to fulfill the law, then died the death we deserve in our place, then rose again victorious over death, and offered salvation to all who would believe in Him. Trust that God has applied Jesus' sacrifice to your account (2 Corinthians 5:16–21). Leave behind the emptiness of trying to save yourself or trying to live your life apart from God.

As a new believer in Jesus, you can get to know God more through reading the Bible, praying, and joining a Bible-teaching church. And give God praise that He offers salvation to all!

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