Q. Looking at different articles on the internet, they say that we have to see ourselves as hell deserving before we can get saved. What is your view on this? I’m not denying that sin leads to death or anything, just wondering whether something like this would be an obstacle for salvation?
A. People who don’t think they have cancer are not interested in taking the cure. Once they become aware that they have it, then they realize they need to take the cure.
But the ones I’ve talked with say they didn’t fully comprehend the seriousness of their condition until they came out of the treatment and realized how close they had been to dying.
I think it’s the same with salvation. People who don’t understand that they’re sinners are not interested in being saved. Once they become aware of their sinfulness, then they realize their need for a Savior.
But they don’t fully comprehend the nature of their predicament until after they’re saved and the Holy Spirit has revealed the truth to them (John 16:13). That’s when the hard reality of what Hell is and how close they were to going there finally hits them.
One of my favorite quotes in this regard is “Once we believe, then we’ll understand. And once we understand, then we’ll believe.”
God gives us the faith to believe we’re forgiven when we ask to be saved (Ephesians 2:8-9), because we don’t fully understand. By letting the Holy Spirit teach us through His word our understanding grows, and the more we understand the stronger our belief becomes.