John 19:30

by R. Larry Moyer

If a person is trusting Christ and his good works to get him to heaven, is he saved?

Ask some people the question, "If you stood before God and He were to ask you, ‘Why should I let you into heaven?’ What would you say?" Their answer will be, "I believe in Christ and I’m doing the best I can." It becomes obvious by that statement and further conversation that they are not trusting Christ to save them. Instead they are trusting Christ and their good works to save them. Do the Scriptures declare such individuals to be saved or lost?

The Scriptures are clear. Unless one is trusting Christ alone to get him to heaven, he is as lost as a person who has never heard the Gospel. Why? Because on the cross Jesus Christ did not make the down payment for our sin, He made full payment. He did not open the way to heaven, he provided the way to heaven.

As Jesus Christ hung on the cross, as the perfect Son of God who was dying as our substitute, the last words He ever uttered, as recorded in John 19:30 were, "It is finished." The Greek word translated "finished" is tetelestai. Receipts for taxes during New Testament times have been recovered with the word tetelestai written across them, meaning "paid in full." There, before an Almighty God, He declared our debt of sin "paid in full."

As sinners we must therefore be satisfied with the thing that satisfies God. He was only satisfied with His Son’s death as the complete payment for our sins. Therefore, coming to Him as sinners, recognizing Christ died for us and rose again, we must place our trust in Christ alone to save us because He alone made complete payment for our sins.

It makes sense, doesn’t it? The Scriptures tell us we can know with absolute certainty we are going to heaven. I John 5:13 affirms, "These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life." If eternal life was based on Christ and our good works, we could never have such certainty. He did His part, but we may not do ours. But since salvation is based on Christ alone, we know, having appropriated His death by simple faith, we are forever His. Before a holy God, our debt of sin was "paid in full." ¢

R. Larry Moyer is an expository evangelist and executive director of Evan Tell, Inc., in Dallas, TX. This article was taken from his newsletter, "The Toolbox." (Summer, 1999)