It’s all over for me, I thought. After visiting a leper colony in India, one of the lepers touched me. I was sure I had been infected with the terrible disease. It wouldn’t be long before it spread throughout my body. I could picture myself bleeding to death from a cut, losing parts of my fingers and toes, or even cutting off part of my lip while shaving because the nerve damage would keep me from feeling pain.

Thankfully, my doctor assured me that even though the disease is contagious, healthy people usually can’t get it. I wouldn’t become a leper, and I was going to make it after all. But I didn’t really believe him. I washed several times to be sure I was clean, just in case he was wrong.

Many people take this approach when it comes to their salvation. God has said they can be clean when they put their trust in Jesus Christ, believing He died on the cross, shed His blood to pay for all of their sins, and rose again. But they don’t really believe what God has said. Instead, they rely upon confessing their sins each day, asking forgiveness, and being the best person they can, just in case God is wrong. That’s not faith, and it won’t save them. The faith that saves us takes God at His word and believes He means just what He says.

“For by grace are ye saved,” “through faith,” and “not of works” are phrases God uses to describe salvation. You don’t need a seminary degree to understand them, but you need to have the humble heart of a child to embrace them and be saved. Here’s a test: Are you holding on to any of your works to make it to Heaven, just in case God doesn’t know what He’s talking about? Maybe you think you have to confess your sins every day to stay saved. You’re living in fear and insecurity because you’re afraid of messing up and missing out on eternal life. Believe me, friend, God knows what He’s talking about. Trust Him right now, and you won’t be disappointed.

Devotional by Dr. James A. Scudder