What does Salvation mean?
The very first thing I always think of when I hear “salvation”, is the scene from Guys and Dolls when the Salvation Army band marches through the streets to “convert” people. It’s probably the image “salvation” has for many people: high-nosed, goody-goodies parading around trying to get people to hop on the bandwagon. Sometimes they try scaring the hell into people, or by making life with Jesus sound like having a genie in a bottle with never-ending wishes.
“Just say The Sinner’s Prayer!”, they chant.
But Salvation is SO. MUCH. MORE.
To summarize the entire Bible:
God created the earth and everything in it, declaring it perfect until sin. The horrible cancer of sin kept multiplying, infecting everything once it entered the world.
What is sin exactly?
The Ten Commandments are God’s standard of righteousness; anything deviating from that standard of perfection, is sin.
Ever lied? That makes you a sinner.
Ever lusted? Sinner.
Ever stolen? Even a pen from work? Not a “mistaker”…a ”sinner”.
Though there are ten, you only have to break one of them to be a complete sinner.
But, here’s the amazing news!
Being fully God and fully human (more about that in another Journey!), Jesus was the only 100% sinless person to ever walk this earth.
He lived out the perfect life for us because we can’t!
Along with the Ten Commandments, we can look at Jesus’ life and see just how dirty we are.
(Kinda’ like when you think your teeth are white, but then you hold up a piece of actual white paper next to them and you realize they are actually a lovely shade of brown.)
We can never actually be with God because of our disease.
His holiness cannot be stained with a drop of our sin.
So here we are, looking nasty and sinful – like a face covered in oozing zits. In order to be with God, we need more than a facelift and some spa treatments, we need a transplant.
Jesus gives us His own flawless face!
We are still us underneath, but His righteousness is now ours and Sin is no longer our master. His righteousness cleans us from the inside out, so we, on the inside, actually start to look more and more like the face of Christ – perfect, and smooth and completely whitehead-free (we call that sanctification).
Now, that’s a pretty interesting way to look at salvation. But it’s true!
Salvation is Jesus, taking our nasty sins and saying, “Trade me your sins for my perfection so you can be with God.” That trade was made possible when Jesus – the perfect God-man – died on the cross (a sinner’s death).
Salvation becomes our own when we recognize that we are indeed horrible, brown-teethed, acne-faced sinners who need Jesus.
When we say yes to His exchange, we are given Salvation!
Salvation is a one-and-done deliverance from sin and its eternal consequences, granting us access to a relationship with our Creator. Salvation happens at a single point, when we surrender our hearts to Christ, but its benefits reach into all eternity!
What exactly is Justification?
Justification is “the act of making someone right with God”.
Remember how we are yucky, sin-filled people so full of gunk that we can’t actually be with God? That makes it literally, physically impossible for us to be with God unless we are made completely clean, which is impossible!
No matter how many times you volunteer at the homeless shelter,
how often you travel overseas on a mission trip,
how many Bibles you hand out, how many church services you attend,
how emotion-filled prayers you say,
how passionately you raise your hands,
how many children you adopt,
how modest you dress,
or even how many sermons you preach,
you cannot be “justified” on your own before a Holy God!
WE NEED JESUS.
We need Jesus to make us “right with God.”
Is there any other way to achieve Salvation and Justification?
All of this leads to one very hard question.
Is there any other way to be with God besides Jesus?
Can we be justified by any other means?
Don’t all “religious roads” lead to eternity with God?
The Bible says no.
The world is filled with many good people. I’ve watched just as many videos of humans saving puppies and helping little ladies cross the street as the next guy.
But for all of the good humanity does, there will always be sin.
We are infected with this disease and we simply do not have the ability to heal ourselves.
We can never ever DO enough good to earn our way to heaven.
“But how can a loving God send so many people to hell?”
Guys, He isn’t sending anyone anywhere.
We deserve to go to hell.
Here’s the truth….
When we choose to sin, we choose separation from God.
We Choose Hell.
It’s God who chose to save us!
He offers to rescue us!
A loving God is SAVING His precious children from hell!
But we can only be saved if we choose to be saved; if we accept the free gift of salvation and allow Jesus to justify us before the righteous God.
Yes, hallelujah, Jesus is the ONLY WAY to be saved!
Friends, some of you have already experienced redemption and claimed salvation and some of you haven’t. Some of you believe that Jesus is God’s Son, and you’ll tell people you go to church or are part of a small group. BUT you have never actually claimed the salvation that God is giving you. You have never admitted that you are a terrible sinner who NEEDS Jesus.
If you are ready to admit that you need salvation, then tell Him! Tell God right now! If you still have some questions, please feel free to email us! We want to pray with you!
Prayer is central to our ministry as believers in Jesus as we carry eachother’s burdens and intercede for one another. Our team is honored to share the work of praying alongside you!
Authentically living out a life of worship to the God who rescued us from darkness requires accountability and intentionality. Join a GT POD and take the next step in your faith journey!