So why exactly does the Bible claim that Jesus is necessary for salvation? Let us consider the following:
1. The Problem
Romans 3:23 “All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.”
Romans 6:23 “…the wages of sin is death.”
The Bible refers to being saved from our sins as eternal life and going to hell as spiritual death. Our sins earn us a spiritual death sentence. But maybe in God’s sense of justice he could just overlook our sins and let us off the hook.
Proverbs 11:21 “Be sure of this, God will not let the guilty go unpunished.”
Proverbs 17:15 “Acquitting the guilty and condemning the innocent – the LORD detests them both.”
God will not and cannot overlook sin. His justice must be enacted upon it and the punishment is death. But God loves us and wishes that no one should perish. So how can He possibly fulfill both His justice and mercy?
2. The Solution – Repentance
Luke 13:3 “Repent, or you will likewise perish.”
Repent means “to turn away from.” We are to turn away from sin, have genuine contrition, and commit to stop sinning with God’s help. For example, what if a wife discovered her husband was having an affair and he pleaded for forgiveness, but after some time he began to beg her to let him resume his affair? Is this repentance? No, this is anti-repentance. If he were truly repentant, he would have wished the affair never happened and would do everything possible to restore his relationship with his wife because of his love for her. So repenting to God is to be truly sorrowful for our sins, turn away from doing them, and live for God instead of our sinful appetites.
3. The Ultimate Solution – Jesus
Romans 5:8 says, “while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
Christ stood in our place, took the punishment we can not take, so that we may live.
Romans 10:9 “…if you confess with our mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.”
Notice that the confession is not to just that “Jesus is Savior,” but “Jesus is Lord.” As Christians, our obedience is a major means by which we show God we love Him. When we live for our sinful appetites, we invite distain upon Him as the unbelieving world rightly is disgusted by our hypocrisy.
The ultimate statistic is that 10 out of 10 people die. But what if we could be resurrected? As human beings we do not have the power of resurrection but God does. He raised Jesus’ body from the dead. Without this belief, what hope can we have (1 Cor. 15:17)? That is why it is important to “…believe in your heart that God raised Him [Jesus] from the dead….”
4. The Result
What is the result of repenting of our sins, confessing Jesus as Lord and believing in His resurrection? It is this promise, “…you will be saved” (Romans 10:9). We will be saved from the penalty of sins which is death and given new life in Christ.
In ancient times in the Middle East, an army colonel was running a military base where someone was stealing. He ordered that if the thief was caught, they would receive 10 lashings with a whip. The next day the thief was found and it turned out to be the colonel’s own son! What was he to do? If he did not fulfill his order, he would lose respect among his men because he would prove he does not always keep his word and uphold justice. But his son was frail and sickly man. If his son were to receive the punishment, he would die. Even if he could survive the punishment, the cornel, being his loving father, did not want him to go through it. What was he to do? He had to uphold his word and justice. The cornel did the only thing he could do: he stood in his son’s place and received the lashings himself. He was strong enough to receive them and still live. Therefore, his son was spared the punishment and lived. The cornel was true to his word and justice was served. Instead of the colonel loosing the respect and trust of his men, he gained even more.
This is what Christ did for us and more. We broke God’s law (Romans 3:23). We earned a death sentence, which is eternal separation from God in hell (Romans 6:23). But Christ stood in our place, taking the punishment that we could not and still live, demonstrating and fulfilling God’s justice, mercy, and love (Romans 5:8, 1 Corinthians 15:3-4 3b, Proverbs 11:21, Hebrews 9:22, 1 Peter 3:18, John 3:16).
This is all more thoroughly explain in Why Jesus, available in the sidebar.
Please contact me with any questions.