Grab something in one hand. It can be a pen, notebook, steering wheel, cell phone, computer mouse, or whatever is convenient for you at this time. Now open your hand and turn it upside down without releasing the object. It can’t be done, you say. You’re right, of course.

It would be easier for a person to defy gravity and hold something in his open, down-turned hand than it would be for him to present a handful of his works to God as grounds for salvation. The only ground for acceptance in His eyes is an open, empty, upturned hand of faith.

Many people agree with this. They teach salvation by faith in Christ. However, they insist on putting rings on the fingers of the open hand by mixing works with faith. A large Christian denomination has included in its Statement of Faith the following description of salvation: “There is no salvation apart from personal faith in Jesus Christ as Lord. Regeneration . . . is a change of heart wrought by the Holy Spirit through conviction of sin, to which the sinner responds in repentance toward God and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. . . .

“Repentance is a genuine turning from sin toward God. Faith is the acceptance of Jesus Christ and commitment of the entire personality to Him as Lord and Saviour.”

This is contrary to Scripture. Biblical repentance means “a change of mind,” not a change of heart or turning from sin. Faith is not commitment, but belief, trust, or dependence upon someone or something. If these conditions are met for salvation, then the hand which is presented to God can neither be open nor empty. A believer would need one hand full of works to prove he has genuinely turned from sin and another to prove he has committed his entire personality to Christ.

My friend, Jesus’ hands were open and empty when they were nailed to the cross. If you would be saved, yours must be, too. Lay aside your works of righteousness and raise an open hand of faith to God today.

Click here to learn how to show others how to raise an open hand of faith and be saved.

Devotional by Pastor Jim Scudder, Jr.