- Why do I need to be saved?
- What does separation from God mean?
- How can I be saved?
- How can believing in Jesus change me?
People today enjoy a better standard of living, of health, and of convenience than in any other age. Yet, despite the progress we’ve made in science, technology, and our understanding of the world, the same problems that have existed from the beginning of civilization still plague us today: crime, hatred, discrimination, hunger, disease, conflict, greed, and war. People enjoy a longer life span than ever before, but some seek to end their own lives. People enjoy tremendous prosperity, but at the price of broken homes.
Let’s face it: there are certain things in life against which you are helpless and over which you have no control. Nothing you can do will ensure that you will be safe, secure, or satisfied. No matter how hard you try, there is only so much you can do to improve yourself. You may have a million dollars but still feel dissatisfied with your life. You may take out a large insurance policy, but not feel at ease. You may work sixty hours a week, and find no purpose or meaning in what you do. Why?
Our problems began when we separated from God. Like the prodigal son (Lk 15), we’re all too eager to escape the confines of our Father’s authority. But when we try to make it on our own, we discover that we can’t really find the right way. The things we pursue pass away, or may end up doing more harm than good. We discover the limits of our own resources: strength, energy, ability, and understanding. With no way out, we realize our need for God–for His mercy, love, guidance, and life. In fact, God has had all these in store for us from the very beginning. He’s only waiting for us to return to Him.
If you want to know where your life is headed, now and after death, you need to return to the source. You need to return to God.
God is our creator; the source and Lord of all life. He is worthy of our honor and worship (Neh 9:6; Ps 95:3-7). He has also laid down commandments to guide us in the right way. But if we choose to reject Him and disregard His commandments, then we have to bear the consequences. Living apart from God, our spirits are effectively dead. Without the light of His true goodness, we turn instead to baser desires (Rom 1:20-32).
Wanting or taking something that isn’t ours.
Bending or breaking the truth to protect ourselves.
Flattering someone powerful, while ignoring the needs of those less fortunate.
Getting angry, resentful, even hurting someone we love.
Haven’t we all been guilty of these thoughts and actions? Haven’t we all wanted to be a better child, a better parent, a better spouse, a better friend?
God calls us to live according to better standards–His standards. As our creator, He wants us to live up to His perfect goodness and righteousness, to keep the commandments He has set out for us. He wants us to love Him and serve Him with all our heart. Failing to do so means sin, of which all of us are guilty (1 Jn 1:10). And sin in turn becomes the barrier that separates us from God and the glory of His kingdom. Without the spiritual life He gives us, we face suffering, death, and eternal suffering after death.
For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells; for to will is present with me, but how to perform what is good I do not find. For the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice… O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? I thank God—through Jesus Christ our Lord! (Rom 7:18-25)
The Bible clearly tells us that there is only one way to return to God and be saved: through Jesus Christ. Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (Jn 14:6).
God loves us so much that He promised to save us from sin and its consequence: death. But His perfect righteousness and justice demands that sinners be condemned. If He were simply to overlook all our sins and bring us into heaven, He would be denying His inherent truth and justice.
To deliver all people out of sin, God had to look for someone who was perfectly sinless in order to serve as the mediator. Therefore, God came into the world in the flesh as Jesus Christ. As a human being, He was susceptible to all of the temptations and weaknesses of the flesh. Yet Jesus overcame all temptations and remained sinless. He was the spotless Lamb, the perfect and complete sacrifice, who paid the debt of all sinners with His own life. He fulfilled the requirements of God’s law, which animal blood could never fulfill. His blood, shed on the cross, cleanses us from sin.
There is only one way back to God. It is the way that Jesus taught His disciples, and what they in turn preached to others:
- Believe and confess that Jesus Christ is our Lord and Savior (Rom 10:9), believing in the authority of the Bible and of the church He has established and commissioned
- Repent by leaving your sinful life and starting anew, with the determination to obey the will of God (Acts 3:19).
- Receive the sacraments that Jesus has established, as instructed in the Bible: baptism for the remission of sins, footwashing for a part in the Lord, and Holy Communion for spiritual life (Mt 7:21).
- Receive the Spirit of Christ, the promised Holy Spirit, and gain the strength to live a new life, obedient and pleasing to God (Jn 3:5).
Sinners live in constant guilt and fear because, as lawbreakers, they are under God’s wrath. But through our Lord Jesus Christ, who is our mediator, we may come to God with confidence. The sacrifice and resurrection of Jesus Christ justifies us, sparing us from the condemnation of God’s law. When we fail and sin in our Christian walk, Christ is there to speak on our behalf (1 Jn 2:1-2). Having reconciled us to Himself, God pours out His love, peace, joy, and comfort into our lives.
If you have peace with God, you will live at peace with others. You can love others, not hate; forgive others, not retaliate. In the church, believers from different ethnic and social backgrounds can unite as one body through the blood of Christ. His reconciliation makes peace and harmony a reality. He frees us from a sinful and meaningless lifestyle and enables us to live as “children of the light”—to live according to the truth and shine its light in this world.
Once washed of our sins, we, as God’s children, are entitled to the heavenly inheritance. Just as Christ resurrected triumphantly from the dead, when He comes again, we too will rise in glory. God will transform our lowly bodies to become like the glorious body of Christ, and salvation will be fully realized.