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No matter what you’ve done you can be saved. Here’s how Jesus treated a man that was despised.
Jesus entered Jericho and was passing through. A man was there by the name of Zacchaeus; he was a chief tax collector and was wealthy. He wanted to see who Jesus was, but because he was short he could not see over the crowd. So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree to see him, since Jesus was coming that way. When Jesus reached the spot, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today.” So he came down at once and welcomed him gladly. All the people saw this and began to mutter, “He has gone to be the guest of a sinner.” But Zacchaeus stood up and said to the Lord, “Look, Lord! Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount.” Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” (Luke 19:1-10)
Jesus will accept you, too. So, let’s say you feel an urging within you to be loved and accepted by Jesus. How do you do “get saved”? Well, God tells us how do it.
For 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. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. (Ephesians 2:8-10)
So, you place your faith in Jesus. You do that by talking to Jesus – that takes faith. You tell him you give up trying to gain that peace you need. You ask Jesus to give you that peace by taking charge of your life, cleansing you from all the ugly stuff you’ve put inside yourself. Confess you have not lived for him. Ask for forgiveness and commit your life to Jesus and to doing His commands.
Now, after you do this, what is the evidence you are saved? Well, we know that we have come to know him [Jesus] if we keep his commands. Whoever says, “I know him,” but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in that person. But if anyone obeys his word, love for God is truly made complete in them. This is how we know we are in him: Whoever claims to live in him must live as Jesus did. (1 John 2:3-6)
And we are also told that, In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.” Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds. (James 2:17-18)
So, you see, we were created to do the good works (i.e., deeds) that God prepared in advance for us to do (Ephesians 2:10). We can only do these good works if we are saved and we are doing our work by faith.
Now, if God lays it on your heart to do as Zacchaeus did, to give away half your possessions for the poor and to pay four times the cost of restitution to anyone you have wronged, this is a small thing. For we don’t live by what we see or what we reason but we live by faith in God, knowing we were created in Jesus to do good works.
If you have a lack of good works, done in faith, this is an indication you are weak in your salvation and in need of renewal. If you have done things that were foolishness or were testing God then these are sin. (Romans 14:23) If you’ve sinned then call on God’s promise which says that if we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9)
You are loved, no matter what. Don’t listen to lies that say that there is no hope for you. Turn to Jesus and you will discover true love, a meaningful purpose for your life, and enjoy fellowship within the family of God. And, that’s good news.