WORK IN PROGRESS
Since the beginning of time there has never been salvation for a fallen soul apart from the grace of God.
When Adam ate the fruit Eve gave him in the garden, he fell into sin, and as his children, we are all sinners.
In his mercy God chose to save us by sending his son, a perfect sacrifice, to take our place in death.
Christ lived a blameless life and died in our place, taking our sins and the blame we deserve on himself. The blood he shed on the cross reached back in time to save those who'd lived on Earth before his human birth and reached forward in time to save those who would be born later.
At the point of Christ's death, God turned away from Christ as he took on our sin, the sins of our fathers, and the sins of our children. Jesus said then, "My God, my God, Why have you forsaken me" as he bore the separation from God that all of us deserve.
There is no salvation in any other. He alone has the power to save souls from eternal death. This eternal death is separation from God. That separation is worse than the fires of hell which never stop burning.
The only way to spend eternity with God and not apart from him is to be cleansed by the saving blood of Christ.
All a lost soul must do is realize that there is no salvation outside of Christ, beg forgiveness, and allow the spirit of God to live within the confessor's own heart.
Here, I would like to include examples of salvation prayers found in scripture - for example the man who bangs his chest and says "God be mericiful to me a sinner" and the prayer of the thief "remember me when you come into your kingdom . . ."
WORK IN PROGRESS
Personal note about the painting. This painting has special significance to me (Laurie) because Rembrant painted himself raising the cross. I also feel the I bear responsibility for the death of Christ.