The phrase “Jesus saves” is a widely well-known statement across the globe. But have we really stopped to consider the truths behind this phrase? Who does Jesus save and from what? Jesus Christ is the central figure of Christianity with unmatched influence in history. The first step in understanding that Jesus saves is knowing who Jesus is. The uniqueness of Jesus is attributed to these seven aspects:
1. His birth (from a virgin woman)
2. His life (with miraculous signs and heavenly authorities)
3. His ministry (to love God wholeheartedly and people unconditionally)
4. His death (to overcome sin and become a perfect, flawless offering to God)
5. His resurrection (to overcome the grave, showing His authority over life and death)
6. His ascension (to prepare eternal home for us, showing His authority over heaven and earth)
7. His second coming (to judge the living and the dead and establish God’s endless kingdom)
Christians believe that Jesus is, therefore, able to save people from eternal death: a condition of being separated from God forever, as declared by Jesus himself in the Scriptures:
“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. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” (John 3:16-18)
Here, we are going to discover what it means that Jesus saves.
Jesus Saves, But Why Do We Need Salvation?
We live in the world with a reality that no one is exempt from struggles with sin (Psalm 14:1-3, Ecclesiastes 7:20, Romans 3:23). Due to human sinful nature, many times we did things we should not do and/or did not do things we are supposed to do (Romans 7:18-20). Our natural tendency is to follow our own ways, to do what we think is right, to be the ruler of our own lives. It was because of sin that we had difficulties to trust and obey God. The presence of suffering, sickness, and evil which eventually lead to death is a clear sign that we all desperately need a Savior.
Jesus is the promised Messiah who has come to this world to seek and save sinners (Luke 19:10). Since we all have sinned against a holy God (Romans 3:23), we could never pay the penalty of our sins (in the past, present, and future) with our own works, which are limited and imperfect. That is why we all need the holy, perfect, infinite man Jesus Christ who died in our place. His death is the only acceptable offering to God and the only way of our salvation (John 14:6). The death and resurrection of Christ bring about the redemption of sinners, the sanctification of his saints, and the destruction of Satan, who is the originator of sin. Amazingly, not only we are saved from the bondage of sin, but even more: we are also promised eternal life and security with him (John 10:28).
Jesus Saves, But How Do We Know for Sure?
The Scriptures, both Old Testament and New Testament, reveal a unique parallel between Jehovah God and Jesus Christ as the Savior. There are many witnesses to that revelation in the Bible; in fact, the reliability of the case shall be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses (Deuteronomy 19:15, Matthew 18:16). In the Old Testament, the truth that only Jehovah is the Savior was declared to Isaiah, Hosea, Moses, and King David (Isaiah 43:11, 45:21-22; Hosea 13:4, Exodus 15:2, Psalm 18:2). In the New Testament, it was declared to Mary (Luke 2:11), Joseph (Matthew 1:21) and the Samaritan woman (John 4:42) as well as by Paul (Philippians 3:20), Peter (Acts 5:31), and John (1 John 4:14) that Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world.
After all, isn’t it marvelous that people from different backgrounds, professions, and even ages/timelines have testified the same conclusion as to the deity of Christ? Now, if God is the one and only Savior and Jesus is the Savior, then Jesus must be God. There is no salvation apart from Jehovah God (before the common era) and Jesus Christ (in the year of our Lord). This demonstrates consistency in the sovereign will of God for the salvation of humanity in all generations (and could also explain that in the ancient times, before Christ appeared, salvation was given to those who believed in Jehovah God.) Moreover, it is noteworthy that Jesus himself proclaimed that he has the authority to give his life and take it again (John 10:11, 14-15, 17-18), thereby showing his divine power as the Author of Life.
Jesus Saves, But Who Does He Save?
Jesus saves everyone. Salvation is ultimately a gift from God through what Jesus Christ has done on the cross (Romans 6:23). We are saved because God is gracious and merciful, so we should put our confidence not in our own good works, but only in the work of Christ (Ephesians 2:8-9). Think about it: if salvation could be earned by human efforts, how much effort would then be sufficient to satisfy God’s standard of righteousness? Would it be fair, for instance, for people with physical and mental limitations or disabilities who could not do a comparable amount of good works? Clearly, good deeds are not determinants of salvation.
God has offered humanity a “simple” way for eternal life, that is by believing Christ, because of His great love. It takes the simplicity of faith to accept the free gift of God, however oftentimes we were too proud to admit our needs for salvation. The truth is that only Jesus has the power to save (Acts 4:12), so the first step we must take to accept his love is to recognize our helplessness, that we can rely to nobody but Jesus to be saved.
As we receive and believe in him, we become the children of God (John 1:12) and we no longer live under slavery of sin and God’s wrath (Romans 8:1). This love gift of God is also even extended to our household (Acts 16:31), as they truly believe in their hearts and confess that Jesus is Lord and he is risen from the dead (Romans 10:9) – what a wonderful blessing! Salvation has been made available to all people by God’s grace in Christ Jesus, which enables us to continually live in his ways while we patiently wait with the assurance of hope for the glorious day to meet with our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ (Titus 2:11-13).
Would you trust in Jesus as your Savior and entrust your life to him today?
A Prayer to Believe That Jesus Saves
While there is no such thing as a “sinner’s prayer” that saves us (and we should make sure that we never lead someone to think otherwise), there is absolutely a kind of prayer that, in response to God’s grace, results in our salvation.
Maybe it would be most appropriate to call that a “Prayer of Surrender,” because that is really what we are doing. So, if we pray with a sincere heart of faith and belief, then no matter what words come out, Scripture promises us that “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved” (Romans 10:13).
“Dear God, I come before you today with a humble heart and surrender my life to you. I believe that Jesus Christ was born free of sin, died on the cross as a payment for my own sin, and rose three days later. I believe in your gift of salvation and eternal life because of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. God, today I repent and turn from my old way of life. Because of your mercy and grace I can have childlike faith. Today I ask for new life through Jesus Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit. Thank you God for forgiving me and making me brand new. In Jesus’ name, Amen. (by Robert Hampshire, Is There a Prayer for Salvation?)
Unsplash/Daniel J Schwarz