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Why do Christians say "Jesus saves"?
Thank you for your question, its answer is essential to understanding God's truth about salvation.
There is no greater question in life than this: how can a sinful man or woman be reconciled to a holy and perfect God against whom they have sinned?
On what do we base our hope knowing that we will stand before God who is both our law-giver and our judge? Essentially how can we ever know that we have enough merit with God to be saved?
We are told in the bible that we need saving from something, and that something is our own sin. God is clear in the bible that all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23).
The fact is if we are being honest with ourselves there is a multitude of sin in every person's life. If we compare our sin to the sin of others it's easy to make our transgressions seem light, but it’s when we compare the offences of our hearts to God's perfect moral standard in the Bible that we see just how far short of his glory we fall. Let us be under no illusions, the standard is high!
We can often be tempted to prioritise sin, thinking along the lines that one small lie or one quick glance is nothing compared to sins like adultery for example. Jesus sets the bar far higher than this though with statements like "But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart" (Matthew 5:28)
To add to this James writes for whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become accountable for all of it. (James 2:10)
If we were going to earn our way to heaven on own merit the only way we could possibly get there is by keeping God's moral law in its entirety. If we commit a sin, whatever that sin may be, we become law breakers and we can not be where God is.
Paul reminds us of this reality in 1 Corinthians 6:9 saying or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived
It took only one sin for Adam and Eve to be removed from the presence of God in the Garden of Eden and so it is with us.
If it were true that we save ourselves how could we make up for our sin? Consider this: a man stands before a Judge having been found guilty of committing murder 10 years prior to his arrest. He argues that he should be let off his sentence because he is truly sorry for his crime and to show it he will sell his house, give the money to charity and live a good life from now on. Would we say that Judge was a good Judge if he excused this murderer from the punishment of prison on that basis? The fact is for justice to be done, a penalty has to be paid regardless of how sorry we might be once placed in front of a Judge.
The stark reality of our predicament is that if God gave us justice for our sin, we would all go to Hell.
The question that is often asked is "How can a loving God allow anyone to go to Hell?". The real question is "How can a Holy God allow any corrupted sinner to be where he is, where there is no sin and corruption?"
How can God forgive us as guilty sinners and still see that justice is done?
This is why Christ came, to do for sinners what they can not do for themselves. Jesus did what no other person has ever done, he kept God's law in its entirety, he lived a perfect life and then he walked willingly to the cross to be punished in the place of sinners. We broke God's law and yet Christ takes our punishment!
He who had no sin took on himself every sin that would ever be committed past, present and future and bore in the just penalty for those transgressions declaring with his final breath "It is finished!" (John 19:30).
Scripture speaks for itself,
But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8)
For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly (Romans 5:6)
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 (1 Peter 2:24)
This is what we call the "great exchange", that Jesus takes on him our sin and puts on us his sinless righteousness. For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God (2 Corinthians 5:21).
Martin Luther the great reformer wrote this prayer in response to those verses,
You are my righteousness,
I am your sin.
You took on you what was mine;
yet set on me what was yours.
You became what you were not,
that I might become what I was not
So this is why we say "Jesus saves", because we were dead in sin and yet God himself has come down from Heaven to save us. God can have mercy on guilty sinners because Christ has paid our debt in full and bore in himself our punishment. We can not bribe God with our good works for forgiveness, that would not be justice. We can stand before God forgiven and washed as white as snow as though we have never sinned because we have been made clean by the blood of Jesus on the cross. We are no longer judged according to what we have done, but according to what Christ has done for us.
The law of God is not a ladder, up which we climb gaining more acceptance as we go; the weight of our sin makes it impossible to even take the first step. The law of God is a mirror that shows us our true position before our creator. It's when we are faced with God's law in all its perfection that we see how far short of that standard we fall. When we see that we see how much we need Christ.
Christ died for sinners (1 Timothy 1:15) and he died for you leaving this promise: but to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God (John 1:12). All Christ asks of you in return for all he has already done is that you acknowledge that he is who he said he is. That you turn from your sins and place your faith in him alone as your Lord and Saviour.
If you feel that is what you’d like to do then pray about this today without delay. Jesus tells us that "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life" (John 3:16). That’s all you need to do, tell God that you believe and ask for his forgiveness because you understand what his Son Jesus has done for you. We would encourage you to attend your local bible teaching Church and to read your bible regularly. God gave us his scripture for the sole purpose that we are able to know the creator that has come down to save us.
Seek him and this will be his answer to you "because he holds fast to me in love, I will deliver him; I will protect him, because he knows my name. When he calls to me, I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will rescue him and honour him. With long life I will satisfy him and show him my salvation". (Psalm 91:14–16)
I hope this answer helps you to find peace with God through Jesus Christ. If you want to know more about what Jesus has done for you please watch the video on the main part of our site: Watch the video
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*All Scripture references are taken From The English Standard Version of the Holy Bible unless stated otherwise
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