- Candice LuceyCrosswalk.com Contributing Writer
People who have gone to prison for committing spousal abuse, armed robbery, dealing drugs, or murder often believe they cannot change. These men and women think they are not good enough to become Christians, and the law-abiding world frequently agrees.
When a convicted criminal professes faith, society regards this person with skepticism. Is it possible for a drug dealer to truly be saved? Can a person earn salvation by being essentially good? Let’s consider six critical truths:
1. It’s possible to obey the law and still not be saved.
No one can earn salvation through good behavior. We might drift into the trap of believing in karma – that good actions will outweigh bad ones; that we aren’t really sinners after all because we obey the law.
The world judges drug dealers’ sinfulness against the righteousness of law-abiding citizens, but that standard is flawed. If we could guarantee our own salvation, wewould get the glory. God sees our hearts and the sin found there. “I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!” (Galatians 2:21)
The law doesn’t save us. Christ saved us.
He hung out with some seriously bad men and women who felt the weight of their sin and wanted to find relief from guilt and shame. Jesus had the answer then (and now) and they knew it.“Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.” (2 Corinthians 3:17)
When we accept this gift, He gets the glory.
2. No one is “good.”
In Mark 10:18, Jesus asked “Why do you call me good?” and He answered: “No one is good—except God alone.” Jesus wasn’t just telling the audience about His true, divine nature as Son of God; He was also making a point about the equality of everyone in His audience.
Not a single person listening – fisherman, tax collector, prostitute, or Pharisee – was better or worse than anyone else.
“Every man’s way is right in his own eyes, But the Lord weighs the heart.” (Proverbs 21:2) By Jesus’ great love, His sacrifice, and His resurrection, He conquered every sin for all time and for all people.
Anyone who acknowledges his or her sin and accepts Christ’s payment for that sin is saved for eternity. That is the one and only condition.
Living a good life prior to accepting Christ’s sacrifice does not make a person worthy of salvation and living a bad life prior to accepting Christ’s sacrifice does not disqualify a person from receiving salvation.
3. Accepting salvation changes people.
If an individual really believes in the saving power of Christ, he will hate his sin. Temporary earthly rewards like money and power mean nothing compared with the joy of following the one true God. True believers want to be like Christ, and they are changed by submission to the work of the Holy Spirit.
“Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” (James 4:7)