Does the Bible Describe Salvation as Easy?
Updated: Apr 11
Is salvation easy? No, the concept that salvation is easy is found nowhere in Scripture. Salvation is not easy, even though many, many churches try to make it as easy as possible and even preach that it is easy. Salvation might be free but it’s not easy.
1. Was salvation “easy” for Paul?
“And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.” (Ac. 9:5). Jesus is saying as much that salvation for Saul was hard: “It is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.” God was pricking Saul’s heart (Heb 4:12), reproving and convicting him (Jn 16:7-11; Pr 1:23), God was working on him to repent of his wicked sins specifically in the area of his persecution of the Lord Jesus Christ, to turn to this Jesus, the Lord, King, and Saviour of the world, and be born again. Saul could not be saved until he turned from all his sin and to God through His Son, to receive Jesus as Lord. Paul went from hating the name of Jesus to calling Him “Lord” and loving Him, from recognizing and acknowledging to submitting to Jesus as Lord. But it was a very tough row to hoe for Saul — He had to turn his back on all his standing, his reputation within his religious community, his authority and popularity as a zealous “protector of the Jewish faith.” He had to seriously humble himself and give all that up and “count them but dung” (Phil. 3:8) that he might win Christ. And win Him he did! Paul had to repent and turn to Christ and believe on Him. Repentance was hard for Saul, but when he did, the grace of God then saved him freely and wholly!
2. Did Jesus make salvation “easy” for the rich young ruler?
I think not! Jesus made it about as difficult as possible (Mk. 10:21), and the end result was no salvation (Mk. 10:22). Wow, ‘He blew it’ the “easy-believist” says, ‘I would’ve had him prayed and saved long before that; after all didn’t he believe already in Jesus as God and that He had the key to eternal life which he was seeking?’ This young man “came to Jesus.” He was seeking Him out. This young man knew that he “needed Jesus in his life,” as the easy believists are so fond of saying. Yet, despite this acknowledgement, he still went away lost. Simply acknowledging the need for Jesus and believing that He was the Saviour (he knew that eternal life came through Jesus, i.e., that He was the Saviour) did not save him, which is the type of salvation taught by so many easy believists. What we see here is that Jesus put His finger right on the one area of this young man’s life of which he needed to repent before he could be saved, the one overwhelming sin that he would not part of — which was covetousness (the one commandment Jesus didn’t mention in His original statement to the man), and the young man needed to submit himself to Jesus as Lord in obedience (hence the command to sell, distribute, come, take up, and follow: to a lost man). This young religious and rich man went away sad because he loved money and his riches more than Christ. He loved his possessions and his life. These were the things he loved more than God, and therefore they were idols in his heart, and therefore sin that he had to turn from, but he wouldn’t. This covetousness was the sin that this young man refused to repent of and what made salvation so hard for him. He wanted his possessions rather than God. That is why Biblical repentance and the Lordship of Christ is critical to eternal life. This corresponds to what Jesus confirmed to the question and answer from a lawyer: “Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” as “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself. . . . Thou hast answered right: this do, and thou shalt live.” (Lk. 10:25-28). If you will love the Lord God, you will do what He says. It’s through love of the truth that we are saved (2 Th. 2:10) and Jesus is the truth (Jn 14:6).
3. Is salvation “easy” for the rich?
In that very context of Christ dealing with the rich young ruler in Mk. 10, Matt. 19 and Lk. 18, Jesus tells us how excessively difficult it is for people to be saved, especially the rich: “And Jesus looked round about, and saith unto his disciples, How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God! And the disciples were astonished at his words. But Jesus answereth again, and saith unto them, Children, how hard is it for them that trust in riches to enter into the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.” (Mk. 10:23-25). Were it not for the drawing of God and His working in our lives (Mk. 10:27) and granting us repentance by His goodness (Rom. 2:4; Ac. 5:31; 11:18), no man would be saved (Mk. 10:26), especially not the rich. It’s easier for a camel to walk through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to get saved. Though “With men it is impossible, but not with God: for with God all things are possible.” (Mk 10:27). In Lukes account, we see that illustrated almost immediately, that of Zacchaeus (Lk 19:1-10).
4. Was salvation “easy” for Ruth?
We see another example in Scripture, this time of a young woman, who had to make the very difficult choice to repent and turn to God, but when she did, she was gloriously saved: “And Ruth said, Intreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God.” (Ru. 1:16). This is the testimony of salvation of this young lady called Ruth. Think about this for a minute; do you realize what Ruth did here? She was turning her back on literally everything she had ever been and everything she had known for her entire life prior to this point. Her people were Moabites — enemies of Israel and her God, pagans who worshipped their own complex pantheon of false deities, people with customs, laws, and behaviours that were often at odds with what the laws of Israel taught. And she chose God over all that: “. . . and thy God my God.” I can’t think of a more stark and beautiful picture of repentance unto salvation — she left EVERYTHING and turned to God. She forsook all for God. She died to herself and her life; she turned from any and every idol and sin. She left the idols, the sinful practices, the ways of her people — and chose God over it all (Mk. 8:34-38). She forsook all her family and people (Matt. 10:32-37). She repented to serve God at all costs and obeyed the words what Joshua commanded the people in Jos. 24:15: “And if it seem evil unto you to serve the Lord, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” It all corresponds with so many other truths in Scripture, such as Matt. 6:24, “No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.”
5. Is striving to enter in, “easy”?
There are many more examples of this, everywhere in Scripture. The salvation of the Ninevites in Jonah 3 is a wonderful example of true repentance and faith, denying self, losing ones life for Christ and the gospel, and surrender to Jesus Christ as Lord. It could all be well summarized by Lk. 13:23-30, which reads: “Then said one unto him, Lord, are there few that be saved? And he said unto them, Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able. When once the master of the house is risen up, and hath shut to the door, and ye begin to stand without, and to knock at the door, saying, Lord, Lord, open unto us; and he shall answer and say unto you, I know you not whence ye are: . . . And, behold, there are last which shall be first, and there are first which shall be last.”
Salvation is not only not easy, it’s difficult. To the question “Lord, are there few that be saved?” Jesus responded: “Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able.” To “strive” means to “struggle, literally (as competing for a prize) and figuratively (to contend with an adversary), or genitive case (to endeavour to accomplish something) —to fight, labor fervently.” (Webster’s 1828). It’s exactly what the Hebrews writer stated in Heb. 4:9-11, “There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God. For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his. Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.” We labor to enter into the rest of salvation, and those that labour and are heavy laden, turn from their toils and troubles to the Lord (Matt. 11:28-30). What Jesus is speaking here in Lk. 13 is what He said in Matt. 7:21-23 and referred to in Matt. 7:13-14, concerning the narrow and wide road. Those here, orthodox “believers” are the “first, which shall be last.” (Lk 13:30). They will not enter into the kingdom of heaven because they strived not to enter in. They refused to repent and in humble submission surrender to Jesus Christ as Lord. The publicans and sinners on the other did (cf. Lk. 15:3-32; Matt. 21:28-32). Today, people are not striving to get in. Men are not seeking the Lord while He may be found. Many are steeped in religion, and yes that includes churches that appear Biblical. Jesus’s answer fits with the parable of the soils. Hard hearts, superficial hearts, and worldly hearts will not receive the saving message in a saving fashion. But they will make professions and then twist the Scriptures to their experience. Salvation passages will be turned into sanctification. Etc. With time, in spite of their ongoing profession and church attendance and dressing up as sheep, their true fruits will reveal themselves in such manners as getting offended over the Word of God, over the truth of scripture, over someone contending for the faith, or in areas of riches and worldliness.
So, no, salvation is not easy. It involves making some very difficult choices (cf. Mk. 10:21; Lk. 13:23-30; Matt. 21:28-32). It involves counting the cost to be Christ’s disciple (cf. Lk. 14:25-33). Choosing self or God (cf. Mk. 8:34-38; 10:17-31). Choosing sin or God (cf. Mk. 10:17-31; Ezk. 18:20-23, 30-32). Choosing ones idols or God (cf. I Th. 1:9). Choosing ones family or God (Matt. 10:35-37; Lk. 9:59-62). Choosing the world or God (Matt. 6:24; I Jn. 2:15; Jam. 4:4). But the soul who makes that choice to repent and believe will then find that while not easy, salvation is free, the free gift of a loving God who freely forgives all who come to Him in repentance and faith. What a glorious salvation it is! Salvation indeed is of the Lord! What cheap and wicked and damnable foolishness is this “easy salvation” garbage that the easy believists teach and purvey, where you can be saved without ever having to turn from sin or surrender to Jesus Christ as Lord. What a slander against God’s true saints throughout the ages, as well as against the holiness and righteousness of God Himself. I am convinced that majority who hold to this, are unconverted. They are of the ones mentioned in Matt. 7:21-23. You can’t be truly converted unless come to the Lord Jesus for salvation according to His rules and regulations, His way, His truth. No repentance or false repentance, no turning from and forsaking all sin and self and stuff and people, no Lordship, no denying self, no surrendering to Christ, no taking up the cross or in other words dying to self, no counting the cost, no willingness to follow Christ and obey Him, and then the poor unscriptural language used to call for salvation — these things are all connected to the easy-believism that is preached from the pulpits consistently week in and week out, throughout the world, including vast majority of independent baptist church’s. What they are doing for the most part is unscriptural. It’s a lie. It doesn’t truly save but it does make false believers two fold children of hell.
Click here to read the True Gospel that Leads to True Salvation