The term salvation has become very much a Christian term.
We think of the Salvation Army, or the street preacher wearing a sandwich sign warning of the end of the world.
But when we think of salvation in the terms of Christianity, the first question we must ask ourselves is:
Salvation from what?
If we talk about being saved, we indicate a need for rescuing from some danger. So when we refer to salvation, we must first have in mind a clear understanding of what it is that we, or someone else, needs saving from.
Scripture gives us a clear answer for that.
What does the Bible say about salvation?
In the Gospel of John, John the Baptist said this about Jesus, “He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.” – John 3:36
But wait! I thought God was a God of love, but here it talks about the wrath of God upon those who don’t believe.
Why isn’t God more tolerant?
Because God’s number one purpose for all of creation, even mankind, is to glorify Him.
That is our ultimate purpose for being born. But our rebellion against Him, our disbelief in Him, our refusal to allow Him, through the Bible to dictate how we live, is a slap in His face.
For all of history, since Adam and Eve took a piece of fruit from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, mankind has been slapping God in the face with their rebellion and refusal to accept His authority over them.
Even the Israelites.
And in the book of Romans we see why this is so damaging: “For the wages of sin is death…” Romans 6:23
A death in our soul
The eventual death of our body
The eternal death of our spirit
God made heaven as the eternal destination for all who die, but with one condition:
You must be perfect
You must be holy
Well, that doesn’t seem fair. Now does it?
The deck is stacked against us from day one!
That pretty much eliminates everyone in the human race, because we see that even the Bible says that: ” There is none righteous, no, not one…” Romans 3:10 and “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” Romans 3:23 and “Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned…” Romans 5:12
But man is an eternal being. Our body dies, but our spirit is eternal. So, if our spirit cannot, according to God’s very stringent rules, eternal live in heaven, there is only one other alternative for all of mankind – “The wicked shall be turned into hell” – Psalm 9:17
This would seem to validate, then, all of those who have portrayed Christians to be angry radicals screaming at everyone that they’re going to hell, except for one thing.
God is love.
He really is and this is how He proved it.
God knows that from the day we are born, we have a tendency to do things we shouldn’t do. The Bible actually says this: “For He knows our frame; He remembers that we are dust.” – Psalm 103:14
This actually means that God understands our human nature. He hasn’t forgotten the fact that we aren’t perfect, and we never will be.
So, He created another rule for heaven.
This rule says that all of the bad things we do – the wrong stuff we do that we didn’t mean to do, the wrong stuff we do because we’re stubborn and we want to do it our own way, the wrong stuff we do out of spite….for whatever reason, there is a way to make it all right again.
Have you ever looked back and regretted something you did? A stupid thing from high school, like cheating on your math exam…
Or something bigger, like having an abortion – and the pain and guilt of that just wont go away?
Well, there is a way for that to go away.
This is the part where we see that God really is love.
The Bible says this: “And according to the law almost all things are purified with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no remission.” Hebrews 9:22
But here’s the thing.
We can’t be the ones to shed the blood, because the one being sacrificed has to be completely perfect. And that only leaves one person.
This is the whole reason why Jesus came to earth.
“For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” 2 Corinthians 5:21
He wasn’t born on accident
He didn’t come so He could say nice things to people
He didn’t come to tell us that we needed to be loving and forgiving to one another
He didn’t even come to heal people and give them better quality of life
Jesus came for only one reason….to die.
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” – John 3:16
That was the one and only purpose for being born, because God’s plan for His life was that He would be the one who would shed His blood so our sins could be forgiven.
God literally allowed His only Son to be killed like a criminal so that our spirits would not have to spend eternity in hell.
But there are four conditions on this. Jesus’ blood didn’t just give all of the human race, past, present, and future, a free pass to heaven.
We will look at that in the next post: How to Become Saved? (this link will be available on March 10)