A church member called me Sunday afternoon and she began crying.
For some time she had been having thoughts and more recently nightmares that she had lost her salvation.
"I can't even read the Bible without having these thoughts telling me I've lost Jesus," she said between sobs. "I have dreams where a voice tells me I've lost Him."
They began after she began taking anti-depressant medication, she said. However, when she stopped taking the pills the thoughts didn't leave with them.
I began praying with her, thanking God for his never-ending love and free gift of salvation. I asked God for his promised gift of wisdom in our lives.
I told the woman the of the story of the two criminals that hung with Jesus at his crucifixion. Both criminals were deserving of death, as all sinners are, but yet the profound difference between the two men was that one knew and admitted he was a sinner, feared God, and recognized Jesus as the savior.
"Remember me," the repentant criminal said to Jesus. "When you come in your kingdom."
"Truly I say to you today," Jesus replied. "You shall be with Me in Paradise."
In Acts 16:25-31, the Apostle Paul and Silas encounter a jailer who comes trembling to them asking them the simple question: What must I do to be saved?
They said, "Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household."
Often in the Christian experience, we feel that something more must be added to our belief in Jesus, whether that be more good works, evangelistic effort, or piety so God will feel better about us and grant us salvation. But that is untrue.
Because when we look at the words of Jesus and the Holy Spirit-inspired words of Paul and Silas, all that matters is our belief and not performance. John 6:28-29 tells of a group of people asking Jesus what they needed in order to do God's work and Jesus gave a short reply.
"The work of God is this," Jesus said. "To believe in the one he has sent."
My friend on the phone stopped crying and began praising God.
"I'm a sinner," she said. "And I need and believe in Jesus."
"And," I said, before I began praying with her again. "Jesus will remember you in paradise."