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Who can be saved?

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Jesus clearly taught in John 3:16 that He will save anyone who believes in Him: “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” This “whoever” includes you and every other person in the world.

The Bible says that, if salvation were based on our own efforts, no one could be saved: “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). Psalm 143:2 adds, “No one living is righteous before you.” Romans 3:10 affirms, “There is no one righteous, not even one.”

We cannot save ourselves. Instead, we are saved when we believe in Jesus Christ. Ephesians 2:8–9 teaches, “It is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast.” We are saved by God’s grace, and grace, by definition, cannot be earned. We do not deserve salvation; we simply receive it by faith.

God’s grace is enough to cover all sin (Romans 5:20). The Bible is filled with examples of people who were saved from sinful backgrounds. The apostle Paul wrote to Christians who had formerly been living in a variety of sinful conditions, including sexual immorality, idolatry, adultery, homosexuality, thievery, greed, and drunkenness. But Paul tells them that, upon salvation, “You were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God” (1 Corinthians 6:11).

The apostle Paul himself had been a persecutor of Christians, approving of the death of Stephen (Acts 8:1) and arresting Christians and throwing them into prison (Acts 8:3). He would later write, “Even though I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent man, I was shown mercy because I acted in ignorance and unbelief. The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst” (1 Timothy 1:13–15).

God often chooses to save unlikely candidates to serve His purposes. He saved a thief on a cross with only minutes to live (Luke 23:42–43), a persecutor of the church (Paul), a fisherman who had denied Him (Peter), a Roman soldier and his family (Acts 10), a runaway slave (Onesimus in Philemon), and many others. There is no one beyond God’s ability to save (see Isaiah 50:2). We must respond in faith and receive His free gift of eternal life.

Who can be saved? One thing is for certain—you can, if you receive Jesus Christ as your Savior! If you are not certain you have accepted Jesus as your Savior, you can respond right now in prayer. Saying a prayer is simply a way of declaring to God that you are relying on Jesus Christ as your Savior. There are no magical words that result in salvation. It is only faith in Jesus’ death and resurrection that can save us. If you understand that you are a sinner and in need of salvation through Jesus Christ, here is a prayer you can pray to God:

“God, I realize I am a sinner and could never reach heaven by my own good deeds. Right now I place my faith in Jesus Christ as God’s Son who died for my sins and rose from the dead to give me eternal life. Please forgive me of my sins and help me to live for you. Thank you for accepting me and giving me eternal life.”

Have you, in faith, received Jesus Christ as your Savior because of what you have read here? If so, please let us know by clicking on the “I have accepted Christ today” button below.

If you have any questions, please use the question form on our Bible Questions Answered page.
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This page last updated: January 4, 2022