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To be saved, one has to understand that I am a sinner, and my sin has separated me from God. I can try to earn my way back to God all I want, or I can realize that is hopeless - nothing I can do can wash away my sin - only Christ’s blood - only his sacrifice is acceptable to God, so I have to give up trying and submit to him... (There was a powerful example of this on ER this past week. ER is a TV show about a hospital ER, and a boy had been brought in that had fallen into freezing water. A man was brought into the ER with him. The man had jumped in to save the boy. As the show unfolded, we learned that the man had been a prison doctor. He was responsible for administering the final cocktail of drugs on death row. he had been responsible for killing men on death row, but he’d had a change of heart, and he’d spent the last few years going back to the families to try to find forgiveness - he’d tried to buy forgiveness - hoping that he could do enough for God to forgive him. He’d saved this boy, but the show illustrated that it’s not enough... Forgiveness from God for our sin is not something we can do - God’s word tells us that only in Christ can we find real forgiveness.)