Why Do I Need to Be Saved?
The very first book of the Bible – Genesis – tells us that people were designed by God to be close to Him and to live for ever, but that the relationship was destroyed by our desire to cut God out of the picture and decide for ourselves how we should live our lives. The Bible calls this ‘sin’. Sinning can seem pleasurable for a time but it invariably leads to things going wrong. More significantly, it deprives us of eternal life, because it puts us on the wrong side of God. The Bible book of Romans even describes us as being ‘enemies’ of God. Our natural prospects are therefore worse than bleak: all we can look forward to when we meet God is his anger at our sin.
The problem we face is that we can do nothing ourselves to put matters right. Even if we decided to try to live according to God’s law for the rest of our lives, it would do no good mainly because none of us are capable of keeping it up. That’s why we need a Saviour: someone who can take God’s anger away, free us from the trap of thinking we know better than God, and enable us to have the close relationship with God that He had first intended. When that happens we start to experience what Jesus promised: life to the full.
That’s what Jesus achieved for us when he died for us. God’s hostility to sin meant that his reaction to it fell on Jesus so that it wouldn’t have to fall on us. Some people wonder why God had to punish anyone at all. The answer is that He is both just and loving. As a just God, He cannot overlook wrongdoing. If we had a system of law which never resulted in guilty people being punished but rather that they were free to go, we would say that there was no justice. So God has to show his justice. But, because He is a loving God, He took his own punishment on himself, so that we could be saved from it. The Apostle Peter put it like this: ‘He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed. For you were straying like sheep, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.’ (1 Peter 2: 24-25).
This salvation doesn’t just apply to us all automatically. We have to realise the seriousness of the position we are in without God’s forgiveness and then do two things:
- Decide to change. The Bible calls this repentance – where we tell God we are sorry for the past and want to turn back to Him. This change of direction involves accepting Jesus as our Lord – the one who has the right to steer our lives.
- Trust what Jesus has done for us. The Bible calls this believing. We can’t do anything to save ourselves, but when we thank Jesus for what He has done and tell Him we trust him for our salvation, then everything He did applies to us. John’s Gospel puts it like this: ‘ Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, for the wrath of God remains on him.’ (John 3: 36).
It’s wonderful to put your trust in Jesus Christ. First, there’s huge relief. Romans 8 says, ‘there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.’ Secondly, there’s great joy because we can now live in hope. And thirdly, we are given God’s Holy Spirit who helps us enjoy God’s company more and more as the years go by – which only makes us look forward even more to the time when we will see Jesus face to face.