Q. Salvation is too much work and I am tired. What should I do?
The first thing I would say is listen to Jesus:
28 “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. 29 “Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS. 30 “For My yoke is easy and My burden is light” (Matthew 11:28-30).
Listen to Paul:
2 This is the only thing I want to find out from you: did you receive the Spirit by the works of the Law, or by hearing with faith? 3 Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh? 4 Did you suffer so many things in vain-- if indeed it was in vain? 5 So then, does He who provides you with the Spirit and works miracles among you, do it by the works of the Law, or by hearing with faith? 6 Even so Abraham BELIEVED GOD, AND IT WAS RECKONED TO HIM AS RIGHTEOUSNESS. 7 Therefore, be sure that it is those who are of faith who are sons of Abraham (Galatians 3:2-7).
For a more lengthy discussion in Scripture, read Romans, chapters 2-8. The bottom line is that we cannot ever do enough to earn our salvation. Working hard to earn our salvation is an offense to God, because He sent His Son to accomplish our salvation by dying on the cross of Calvary and then rising from the dead. The good news is that Jesus achieved salvation for us, by taking our place, bearing our punishment, and giving us His righteousness. He offers salvation to everyone who believes in Him. We don’t have to work to earn our salvation. When we rejoice in what Christ has done to save us, we glorify God. When we strive to earn our salvation, we strive to glorify ourselves.
The only salvation I believe in is the salvation which Jesus accomplished for me, which I do not have to earn, but simply accept by faith.
In Romans, Paul says that the Jews tried to work for their salvation, and missed it, while the Gentiles did not work for their salvation, and received it, by faith:
30 What shall we say then? That Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, attained righteousness, even the righteousness which is by faith; 31 but Israel, pursuing a law of righteousness, did not arrive at that law. 32 Why? Because they did not pursue it by faith, but as though it were by works. They stumbled over the stumbling stone, 33 just as it is written, “BEHOLD, I LAY IN ZION A STONE OF STUMBLING AND A ROCK OF OFFENSE, AND HE WHO BELIEVES IN HIM WILL NOT BE DISAPPOINTED.”
1 Brethren, my heart’s desire and my prayer to God for them is for their salvation. 2 For I testify about them that they have a zeal for God, but not in accordance with knowledge. 3 For not knowing about God’s righteousness and seeking to establish their own, they did not subject themselves to the righteousness of God. 4 For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes (Romans 9:30-10:4).
This is the consistent message of the gospel in the Bible:
4 But when the kindness of God our Savior and His love for mankind appeared, 5 He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit, 6 whom He poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7 so that being justified by His grace we would be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life (Titus 3:4-7).
1 And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, 2 in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. 3 Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest. 4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), 6 and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9 not as a result of works, so that no one may boast (Ephesians 2:1-9).
You’re working hard to earn that which God has already provided, in Jesus.
So here is a short version of the Gospel:
Every human being, including you and me, has failed to live up to the standard of righteousness which God has established (as we see it in the law of Moses, and in Jesus’ teaching -- see Matthew 5-7 and Romans 3:19-20; 3:23; 6:23). Thus, we are all unworthy sinners, deserving of God’s eternal wrath (see Romans 3:10-20). No one can ever earn God’s favor and blessings by their good works. Knowing this, God sent His Son, Jesus, to earth in human flesh (still fully God, but adding sinless humanity to His undiminished deity) in order to save when we were unworthy sinners (Romans 5:8-10). Jesus perfectly kept God’s law and lived according to His standard of righteousness. Jesus then died on the cross of Calvary so that we might be saved. He died in the sinner’s place (that’s me, and you), bearing God’s punishment for our sin. But He also rose from the dead to new life, so that we could live a new life as well (Romans 6:3ff.). We are saved when we acknowledge our sin, and accept Christ’s righteousness, and His death, burial, and resurrection on our behalf. We do not, we cannot, work to earn, or to keep, this salvation. Jesus did it all. We must simply believe Him and receive His gift of salvation.
No one is worthy of this salvation, and no one is too sinful to be saved. Just listen to Paul’s testimony, which was given to encourage us to receive Christ’s salvation also:
12 I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has strengthened me, because He considered me faithful, putting me into service, 13 even though I was formerly a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent aggressor. Yet I was shown mercy because I acted ignorantly in unbelief; 14 and the grace of our Lord was more than abundant, with the faith and love which are found in Christ Jesus. 15 It is a trustworthy statement, deserving full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, among whom I am foremost of all. 16 Yet for this reason I found mercy, so that in me as the foremost, Jesus Christ might demonstrate His perfect patience as an example for those who would believe in Him for eternal life (1 Timothy 1:12-16).
Take special note of that last verse, verse 16. Paul said that God saved him, though he was chief of sinners, so that he could be an example of God’s grace through faith in Christ for those who were yet to be saved. LET THAT BE AN ENCOURAGEMENT TO YOU.