Is Jesus Enough? - by Derek Resler

Reflections on the Catechism Q.33: Should those who have faith in Christ seek their salvation through their own works or anywhere else? - The New City Catechism

What a great question for our day and age!  Many of us have probably asked this same question many times ourselves. The question speaks to the heart of our relationship with God as well as how truly sufficient Jesus’ death on the cross was for me. We all have moments in our faith where we question the sufficiency of the cross.  In one way or another, we all ask:  Is God’s free gift of salvation in Christ truly enough to save me when all I do is wander?

We believe that there is NO WAY God accepts me as I am, I am too dirty, too far gone, too messy of a believer.  Therefore,  I must do something outside of having faith in Jesus for God’s approval and our salvation.  After all, we have had to earn approval at every step of our life.  from picking up our toys without being asked, getting good grades in school, doing our best in sports, having the perfect recital, having our art project chosen for a reward, getting the right degree, getting recognized at work, getting the big promotion, and on and on.  We feel that our salvation is a “Jesus and” something.  We confuse our walk with God with the gift of salvation that is freely given to us by God.  

Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life, no one comes to the Father except through me.” (Jn. 14:6).   In this simple statement Jesus reassures us that there is no where else to look, no other person to follow, no other doctrine to follow, and no other faith to have than what Jesus gives us in Scripture.  There is no we when it comes to our salvation.  Jesus exclusively reserves the right to offer salvation to those who have faith in Him.  That is it.  It is a free gift given without strings, wholly and completely.  It is a gift that is granted and cannot be taken away by anyone one, or any heavenly being - it cannot even been taken away by us!

Paul reminds the church in Galatia that was looking at believing in a “Jesus and” gospel: “Yet, we know that a person is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, so we also have believed in Christ Jesus, in order to be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the law, because by works of the law no one will be justified.”  What a powerful statement.  It is ONLY through faith in Jesus - and through none of our effort or being perfect - that we are saved.

This reminds me of the great poem “Just as I am” by Charlotte Elliott who had a spiritual awakening when she realized that we come to Jesus everyday just as we are.  It was later put to music and has become one of the most beloved hymns of the Christian faith.

“Just as I am” - Charlotte Elliott 1835.

Just as I am - without one plea,

But that Thy blood was shed for me,

And that Thou bidst me come to Thee,

-O Lamb of God, I come!


Just as I am - and waiting not

To rid my soul of one dark blot,

To Thee, whose blood can cleanse each spot,

-O Lamb of God, I come!


Just as I am - though toss'd about

With many a conflict, many a doubt,

Fightings and fears within, without,

-O Lamb of God, I come!


Just as I am - poor, wretched, blind;

Sight, riches, healing of the mind,

Yea, all I need, in Thee to find,

-O Lamb of God, I come!


Just as I am - Thou wilt receive,

Wilt welcome, pardon, cleanse, relieve;

Because Thy promise I believe,

-O Lamb of God, I come!


Just as I am - Thy love unknown

Has broken every barrier down;

Now to be Thine, yea, Thine alone,

-O Lamb of God, I come!


Just as I am - of that free love

The breadth, length, depth, and height to prove,

Here for a season, then above,

-O Lamb of God, I come!

Derek ReslerComment