What is Required to be Saved? - The Warrior's Journey®

What is Required to be Saved?

Author: Chaplain, COL Scott McChrystal, USA (Ret.)

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“But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy.  He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.” (Titus 3:4-7) 

Imagine, if you will, two men standing on the Pacific coast of California. One of them is muscular and trim. The other is hopelessly obese and is out of breath from simply standing. Their task? They must swim across the Pacific to the shores of Japan. Now which one is more likely to make it? The fitter of the two? Actually, neither swimmer has a chance of swimming 5,500 miles across the bone-chilling and shark infested waters of the Pacific Ocean. Then, imagine two basketball players. One is Michael Jordan and the other is that same obese man who once stood on the California Coast. Their task? They must jump to the moon. Which is more likely to reach it? Again, the correct answer is neither. Neither man has any chance of jumping 240,000 miles into space and hitting the moon. 

And which is more likely to reach God’s standards of perfection (Matthew 5:48) and to attain to His unreachable glory in heaven (Romans 3:23)?  The squeaky-clean church-goer or the vilest sinner? The answer is the same. Both are equally hopeless and powerless to make themselves righteous in God’s sight or to bridge the gap between themselves and heaven. 

Here in Titus 3:4-7, as in Ephesians 2:1-10, the apostle tells us in no uncertain terms that our salvation hangs entirely upon Christ’s redemptive work on the cross and the Holy Spirit’s work in our hearts. We can do nothing to merit God’s love or kindness. The only things we have ever earned from God are His wrath and judgments. It was entirely because of His mercy that He saved us, not by any righteous works of our own.   

Besides, what could we possibly contribute to our own salvation? We are spiritually dead in sin (Ephesians 2:1-3). Dead people can do nothing for themselves. They’re only bound to rot and become putrid. They’re only fit for the grave. Our salvation requires Someone outside of us to have mercy on our desperate condition and go to such unimaginable lengths to put away our sins, clothe us with His righteousness, reconcile us to God, and transform us by the power of the Holy Spirit. It takes God – and God alone. We cannot save ourselves. We can only, in absolute dependence, put our faith in God’s Son to do His miraculous work in our hearts. Let’s embrace Jesus by faith and continue to walk with Him by faith, trusting in His power alone to save us. 


  • Do you ever feel like that fat man trying to swim the Pacific or trying to jump to the moon? Is this because you’re trusting in yourself rather than in Jesus? 
  • Our hardest lesson to learn is too depend more on Christ and less on self. 

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