Recently, I overheard a conversation between two men, one saved and one lost. The first man, testifying to the keeping power of God in Christ, quoted the passage from John’s Gospel, “and no one shall be able to take them out of my Father’s hand.” Immediately, the other man quickly added, “except yourself!” The fellow who added that bit of extra biblical nonsense was a self-professed preacher!
As I sat there shaking my head in disbelief, I began to think about how this man has likely attended thousands of church meetings, sang thousands of church hymns. Perhaps he has given thousands of dollars and hours of valuable time to various church causes. Yet, in the end, he does not know the Gospel! He doesn’t trust Christ alone! He trusts his ability to perform works he believes are somehow sufficient to keep him in God’s hands! Christ isn’t enough, isn’t sufficient, for his salvation…….and he proclaimed this with confidence! My heart broke for him. Because, by his own testimony, he is a lost man, having never repented of dead works.
He is convinced like so many religious people in our day that the Gospel is the story of Jesus’ work PLUS the personal contributions of his followers. If we choose not to live up to our side of the bargain, then salvation is lost! Ultimately, whether or not we enter into eternal joy with Christ one day hinges upon our own ability to perform works sufficient to merit God’s favor. What a hopeless and sorry message!
The Lord Christ did not die to give His people a salvation that can be lost or forfeited by men. If you truly believe salvation can be lost, then by necessity you trust that something you do keeps you saved. You’re not trusting in Christ’s finished work. You’re trusting in self-righteousness. You’re in the “Jesus + Me” crowd.
Friends, we do not commend ourselves to God by our works. Christ presents His elect to God clothed in His righteousness, as He became the first and last perfect sacrifice ever offered to God. Christ is the ever-living portion for each and every child of God.
His death obtained “eternal redemption” through His blood. To deny this Gospel fact by attacking the very sufficiency of Christ to keep His own people is a blatant denial of the Gospel. It never has been “Jesus + Me.” Much to the contrary, it’s always been “Jesus for Me!”
and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith— (Philippians 3:9 ESV)
Jason Boothe serves as Pastor of Horizons Baptist Church of Piketon, Ohio. For more information concerning the ministries of the church, please visit www.HorizonsBaptist.org.