A Famous Actor's Greatest Fear
Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it
There was a famous actor who died. Several weeks before his death, he appeared on a national television show and was asked, "Is there anything you are afraid of?"
"I guess I'm afraid I won't please God," the actor replied. "I would like to think I've done good things and have been a good person because I want to go to Heaven
. But I'm not sure I'm going to Heaven."
Like this actor, millions of people are hoping that their good works will get them into Heaven. But salvation is a gift of God's love and grace -- no amount of good works can earn His favor.
Most false religions and cults have one common ingredient. They teach that one has to earn his salvation by "being good" and performing good works, especially works that promulgate that religion or cult.
But God's Word describes such works as "dead works" (Hebrews 6:1
, KJV) and proclaims a radically different message: "For by grace are ye saved through faith
; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast" (Ephesians 2:8-9
, KJV). Of course, although salvation is a gift of God which we receive by faith, we demonstrate our salvation by our works and good deeds.
There is nothing a person can do to save himself. Only God can save us, and that salvation is available only through the shed blood of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. All other so-called routes to heaven are minus that one essential ingredient. All human effort is dead works, daring to presume that measly human effort can qualify us for eternity in the presence of the holy, perfect and pure Creator and Father.
The actor above could have even been a Christian because, according to many surveys, half of the church members across the United States, 120 million or so who will be in church Sunday, do not have assurance of salvation and 95 percent do not understand the ministry of the Holy Spirit.
A pastor came to one of our pastor's seminars and I gave him those statistics. He said, with a bit of impatience, "I don't believe those statistics. I know they wouldn't be true in my church."
I said, "Why don't you take your own survey?"
He agreed to do so. He went home and later came to see me and said, "You know, I have a church with fifteen hundred members. I've been the pastor there for fifteen years. I took my survey and I was amazed that 75 percent of my members were not sure of their salvation and almost no one knew about the ministry of the Holy Spirit."
Needless to say, the next two Sundays he preached on both, with a tremendous, positive response from his congregation.
Yours for fulfilling the Great Commission each year until our Lord returns,
The late Dr. Bill Bright was Founder and President/Chairman Emeritus of Campus Crusade for Christ, an organization which began as a campus ministry in 1951 and now has more than 27,000 full-time staff and up to 500,000 trained volunteer staff in 196 countries in areas representing 99.6 percent of the world's population. In the past 50 years, Campus Crusade for Christ has seen approximately 6 billion exposures to the gospel worldwide. The film, "JESUS," which Bright conceived and funded through Campus Crusade for Christ, is the most widely translated and viewed film of any type ever produced. Since its use began in 1980, the film has been translated into 839 languages and viewed or listened to by over 5.7 billion people in 228 countries. Dr. Bright was also the author of more than fifty books. Visit campuscrusade.com for more details
Copyright (c) 2003, Bill Bright. All rights reserved. However, readers may copy and distribute this message as desired, without restrictions in number, as long as the content is not altered. Forwarding this e-mail to friends is encouraged. For many evangelistic and spiritual growth materials, visit the Campus Crusade for Christ Web site at ccci.org. See campuscrusade.com for Bill Bright's own materials.