Column by Sumter Pastor Joey Durham: God grants His salvation to anyone who desires it


Our devotion is on this thought, "Salvation's Only Requirements" and my text is found in Acts 20:21 and Ephesians 2:8-9 where we see, "Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ" and "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast." (KJV)

The need of salvation is of utmost importance in any person's life and God has provided His salvation to anyone who desires to have it. So, what does one have to do in order to be saved and have a relationship with the God of heaven? Please let me say here that God's word places no importance when it comes to salvation on "being a better person," or "turning over a new leaf," or "start going to church," or even "cleaning up your life" which are all "works" and salvation is not obtained by any work we can do.

God's word requires "repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ." First, repentance toward God is a turning of one's heart to God. It is not an act or a work, but instead, it is a voluntary change of heart. It is turning to God from within. When a person is repentant before God, they know they are guilty before God as a sinner and they are sorry for not only the sins they have committed before God, but more importantly, they are sorry for being a sinner in outright rebellion against the God who sent his only begotten son to die in their place on the cross of Calvary. The repentant sinner realizes that it was their sin that nailed Jesus Christ to the cross of Calvary. When the repentant sinner realizes the great price paid for their salvation, guilt overwhelms their heart and they seek to obtain "peace" with a holy and righteous God who loved them and gave himself for them.

The final thing God's word requires is "faith" to believe that God will do what He said He would do. Because of the grace of God, salvation for whosoever will is available and it is personally obtained by simply taking God at His word, or in other words, believing God. The word "believe" means to trust and in the matter of personal salvation, it means to personally trust Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. Jesus Christ is the only person in all of history that died on a cross and arose again that third and appointed day to save sinners like me and you. Jesus Christ died and rose again to offer His free gift of salvation and eternal life to any of Adam's race that would desire it. So, salvation is not obtained by "being better," or "doing better." Salvation is the gift from the heart of God to the person sorry for being a sinner and willing to believe on Jesus Christ as their Savior. It is so simple that even a child can understand this.

Joey Durham is pastor at Open Bible Baptist Church at 180 Old Manning Road in Sumter. You can contact Pastor Durham at or call the church office at (803) 481-9315.