When you think of your salvation what comes to mind? A walk, a prayer, baptism, or maybe a hand raised? The truth of the matter is that such activities are no guarantee of salvation. 

The Key Issue of Salvation

When you think of your salvation what comes to mind? A walk, a prayer, baptism, or maybe a hand raised? The truth of the matter is that such activities are no guarantee of salvation. 

When you think of your salvation what comes to mind?

The Key Issue of Salvation A walk, a prayer, baptism, or maybe a hand raised?

When professing Christians are asked about their salvation, their mind often goes to a time when they walked an aisle at church, raised a hand, made a decision, said the “Sinner’s Prayer,” were baptized, or joined a church. While such activities are often relied upon as proof of salvation, the truth of the matter is that such activities are no guarantee of salvation. 

For instance, is it absolutely possible that a person could walk an aisle at church, raise a hand, make a decision, say the “Sinner’s Prayer,” be baptized, join a church and still be just as unsaved as a person who had done none of these things? Is it possible for someone to think he or she is on their way to heaven even though his or her destination is hell? 

The answer is, “Yes.” 

So, if these things do not provide surety of salvation then what does?

This leads to some very important questions, such as “How can a person be saved?”, “How do you know if you are actually saved?”, and “How do I check on the salvation of others?”.

Salvation, according to the Apostle Paul, is directly related to the belief in the gospel. Instead of relying on reciting a prayer, raising a hand, or walking aisle, He simply writes, “I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God unto salvation for everyone who believes…” (Romans 1:16). 

As you can see, Paul links salvation to the gospel; and in order to be saved, one is required to believe in the gospel. In other words, belief in the gospel is essential for a person to be saved. 

The key issue is belief.

Whether a person has walked an aisle, filled out a card, raised a hand, said the sinner’s prayer, asked Jesus into their heart, or even whether or not he or she was baptized, is not the key to determine if one is truly saved. The key issue is belief, and the key belief must be the gospel. This means that belief in the gospel is not a secondary or tertiary matter when it comes to determining one’s salvation, it is of utmost importance.



The Justice of God People wrongly assume that just because they are not immediately receiving punishment for their sin that they are escaping justice. Paul says that God’s slowness to punish does not prove that they someone has escaped justice but that it is meant to lead them to repent of their sin.

The Justice of God

The Justice of God People wrongly assume that just because they are not immediately receiving punishment for their sin that they are escaping justice. Paul says that God’s slowness to punish does not prove that they someone has escaped justice but that it is meant to lead them to repent of their sin.

The Justice of God

The Justice of God People wrongly assume that just because they are not immediately receiving punishment for their sin that they are escaping justice. Paul says that God’s slowness to punish does not prove that they someone has escaped justice but that it is meant to lead them to repent of their sin.Civil justice is sometimes served in this life, but sometimes it is not. However, no matter how much perceived justice a person receives in this life for their sins or crimes, God’s justice can never be satisfied by such measures.

For example, a man commits murder and gets a punishment of 60 years in prison, serves his time, and eventually is set free. At the end of the 60 years is he now right with God because civil justice has been served? He might have served the amount of time demanded by a court or judge to supposedly pay the price for his crime, but did the 60 years of time in prison do anything to satisfy Divine justice? Did it somehow erase his sin before God?

Of course not. 

No amount of prison time or punitive punishment can ever pay for even one single sin. Truly, sixty years of prison time could not even pay for one single “little white lie.” 

Mankind is helpless when it comes to satisfying God’s judgment and subsequent punishment for our sinfulness. 

Let’s consider another situation. What about guilty criminals who escape justice completely? Many people get away with horrible heinous crimes. Even murders sometimes go unsolved. Does this mean that someone has escaped justice? 

What if a person committed horrible crimes and went on to live a life of health, wealth, and apparent happiness then died. Did he escape justice?

No. It is impossible to escape justice. Though a person might appear to have escaped punishment, ultimately, he will not. 

A civil government can punish evil doers, however neither prison nor the death penalty should sinners fear the most. 

Unrepentant sinners should fear the One they will encounter after death. It is then that they will stand before the Supreme Judge and face perfect justice. 

This is what Jesus is talking about when He said, “I tell you, my friends, do not fear those who kill the body, and after that have nothing more that they can do. But I will warn you whom to fear: fear him who, after he has killed, has authority to cast into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him! (Luke 12:4-5).

Fear God? Why should someone fear God? 

Because God is the absolute perfect judge who is holy, righteous, just, omniscient (all-knowing), and omnipotent (all-powerful). 

Those who think this life is all there is are greatly mistaken. Those who think they can escape justice by avoiding it in this life make a horrific assumption of what happens at death. They have not escaped justice. They have entered the courtroom of God and will face Him with every single sin that they have ever committed. 

As the Apostle Paul says, 

“Do you suppose, O man—you who judge those who practice such things and yet do them yourself—that you will escape the judgment of God? Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance? But because of your hard and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed” (Romans 2:3-5).

People wrongly assume that just because they are not immediately receiving punishment for their sin that they are escaping justice. Paul says that God’s slowness to punish does not prove that they someone has escaped justice but that it is meant to lead them to repent of their sin. However, instead of repenting, many people continue to store up their sins and by doing so, they are storing up the wrath that they will receive from God’s righteous judgment. Not one single sin will escape God’s perfect judgment because He is perfectly just. 

For unrepentant sinners, death is not an escape of from punishment but the beginning of eternal punishment. Death does not free them. Rather, their death seals them in their state of sinfulness, guilt, punishment with no chance of repentance, and no possibility of paying off their sin.

We also must be careful to assume that God only punishes certain sins like kidnapping or murder. It is very easy to think of certain horrible sins as deserving of justice but think that God should not punish all sinners. 

Who is not a sinner? The Apostle Paul tells us that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). Every single sin from all of humanity must and will be punished because God is perfectly just. 

Knowing that we are guilty of sin, that we will face God, and that justice will be served, is there any hope? 

How can a man get rid of his own sin, make himself sinless in the eyes of God, or pay the price for even one of his sins? 

He can’t. That’s why the solution must come from outside of ourselves. We need a righteousness that is humanly impossible for us to acquire. That is why we need a Savior from God. We find this Savior in the person and work of Jesus. 

“Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners” (1 Tim. 1:15).