The Two Biggest Deceptions Satan Would Have You Believe

All too frequently, people are hesitant to accept salvation through Jesus even at the point when they believe in God and Jesus.  In hesitating, they are falling into one of the two biggest traps of deception Satan would have us believe.

One of Satan's deceptions is that we need to have our lives in order before we can be 'ready' to be saved by Jesus.  The other deception is that salvation may be offered/intended for other people but not for ourselvesNothing could be further from the truth.  Jesus meets us where we are, and salvation is available to all who accept. 

No matter our life situation, God will save us if we:
  • believe that Jesus is the Son of God,
  • believe that Jesus died for our sins on the cross and rose again,
  • accept the salvation that God freely offers us through Jesus' sacrifice. 
Usually, the sticking point is the third one. In theory, the third point simply stems naturally from the first two (i.e. if we believe points one and two, we should have no problem with point three).  However, that is theory; in practice, Satan's two big deceptions can cause needless (and dangerous) hesitancy in accepting the salvation that is so freely offered to us. 

In the case of the first deception (the notion that we need to have our lives 'in order' first), people think they need to raise themselves to a certain level of 'decency' before they can be saved.  This is incorrect.  While it is OK to recognize that we are sinners and thus falling far short of the perfection of Jesus, it shouldn't cause us to 'fix ourselves' first before seeking Jesus. No matter how hard we try to improve ourselves, we will always fall short of perfection.  We are humans, sinners.  It's fantastic to try to be spiritually better, but let's turn ourselves over to Jesus in that process and ask him to help us! Otherwise we find ourselves in the situation of lepers who are trying to be less leprous before they will consider going to the doctor to be cured.  How ridiculous is that?!  Remember, the church is a hospital for sinners, not a museum of saints.

In the case of the second deception (the mistaken notion that salvation is offered for others but not ourselves), this can stem from the idea that we don't deserve to be saved.  Yes, it is theologically correct that we don't deserve it (we are imperfect beings, sinners), but God offers us salvation anyway, out of love and grace (not out of anything intrinsically good in our characters). So, no matter how undeserving we think we are of salvation, it is still available to us no matter what.

If you think you need to be 'better' or that salvation is 'not for you', consider the first person Jesus ever saved: a criminal who died on another cross near him.  This criminal recognized that Jesus was holy and asked for forgiveness, and it was given:

One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: “Aren’t you the Christ? Save yourself and us!”
But the other criminal rebuked him. “Don’t you fear God,” he said, “since you are under the same sentence.  We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.” Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”
Jesus answered him, “I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise.”
Luke 23: 39-43

Consider also the case of Paul, who used to persecute and kill Christians.  At the moment that Paul came to believe in Jesus (which came as a sudden surprise revelation to him), he didn't say 'well, I need to do good deeds A, B, and C first before I'll accept salvation'.  Nor did he doubt that the free gift of salvation included him along with everyone else.  In fact, Jesus used him straight away to spread the Good News. 

Nothing would please Satan more than to have you delay your acceptance of salvation through Jesus.  Satan would love to keep you away from Jesus for just a bit longer.  In that interval you could die! Or anything could happen. Satan also enjoys seeing someone under the mistaken impression that they are beyond salvation, or that salvation is simply not intended for them.  Instead remember, nothing can keep you from God, except your doubts.  Try doubting your doubts instead!

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

John 14:6

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