The Prerequisite for Salvation

“When [God] causes the gospel to be preached, it is certainly the case that he is not saying, ‘I have come to save Simon Peter or Cornelius the centurion or Mary Magdalene.’ He calls no one by the name given them by men at the time of their circumcision or baptism. Were that the case, we could certainly doubt our salvation, for then the thought would legitimately arise that not we but perhaps someone else with the same name was meant. But when you hear that Jesus Christ has come to save sinners, then you have the choice either of rejecting the title ‘sinner’ or of confessing that he means you because he has come to save you. Conclude boldly, then, that ‘Jesus Christ has come to save sinners, and I confess that that is also my name since I also am a sinner. Therefore, he has come to save me!'” (Jean Taffin, The Marks of God’s Children)

“Come to Jesus just as you are,” pleads the worked up and well-meaning revival preacher.  What he means is there are no intellectual, economic, ethnic or moral prerequisites for salvation.  You need not know more, behave better, or earn less before Jesus would save you.  Jesus does not require us to be anything before he would save us.  Or does he?

Jesus didn’t die for the self-ascribed godly, but only for those who know themselves to be ungodly (Rom 5.6). He didn’t come to save the self-proclaimed righteous, but only those who know themselves to be sinners (Lk 5.32). Jesus didn’t redeem those who attempt to impress God and are entitled to a reward.  He redeemed only those who are impressed with God and his lavish grace.  If you consider yourself godly and righteous then you cannot come “just as you are.” But if you know yourself to be ungodly and unrighteous then Jesus lived, died and was raised for people just like you.

Just as I am, without one plea
But that thy blood was shed for me,
And that thou bidd’st me come to thee,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come.

Just as I am, poor, wretched, blind;
Sight, riches, healing of the mind,
Yea, all I need, in thee to find,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come.
(Charlotte Elliot, 1835)

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