Path to Salvation
What is Salvation? Why should it mean anything to me?
….for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God
No one in the history of humanity is without sin. The Greek word for "sin" literally means to "miss the mark." It describes a bowman who drew back his string, released his arrow, but failed to hit the bull's-eye. Similarly, sin involves missing the target.
The verse we just looked at tells us: "All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." Sin is falling short of God’s standard. To help you understand this concept, let us first challenge the idea that sin can be measured by degree. For instance, many of us see criminals as the “big bad” sinners, while those of us who tell little white lies are not that bad. It appears logical to believe that those in the county jail have not sinned as seriously as those in the state penitentiary. But sin looks different from God's perspective. In God’s word, the Bible, sin is not measured by degree. Either we fall short of God's glory or we don't.
Since the entire sin question is based on the idea of falling short of God’s glory, let's explore what “glory” means. The word "glory" means to put something on display, to show it off. Sin is missing the mark, and the mark is to "put God on display" according to His rightful image. When we view the issue from this perspective, our understanding of sin begins to change. Any time we have ever done anything that did not reveal accurately who and what God is, any time we fail to reflect the character of God, then we have sinned.
Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men because all have sinned
Now as you read this passage, you may be thinking, “If sin entered the world through one man (Adam), it isn’t fair to punish the rest of us.” Yet, death spread to all men because “all have sinned.” We are not punished simply because Adam sinned, but because we inherited Adam’s propensity to sin, and have sinned ourselves. Have you ever noticed that you don’t need to teach your children how to sin? Can you imagine sitting down with your child and saying, “Here’s how to lie successfully” or “Let me show you how to be selfish”? Those things come naturally.
God is holy. As such, He cannot tolerate sin without responding to it. Sin demands a penalty. That penalty, according to Scripture, is death. That means physical death (where the soul is separated from the body) and spiritual death (where the soul is separated from God).
Yes, God is holy and yes, through our sin we have separated ourselves from Him but in His merciful grace, He provided an answer to our problem….if we choose to accept it.
Here’s the good news!
But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us
In Romans 5:8, we find the two very powerful words; “but God.” God can restore and revolutionize any situation. He is bigger and more powerful than any life challenge or any predicament that results from sin. Our first step in God’s offer of salvation begins with these words. “I’m a sinner condemned to eternal separation from God. But God...” Those words sum up the Good News for each of us. Even while we were still sinners, God proved His love for us by sending Jesus Christ to die in our place.
The Bible tells us that this is precisely what happened on Calvary. God loves you so much that He stepped out of heaven in the person of Jesus Christ and took the penalty in your place on Calvary. Jesus hung on the cross, not for His own sin, but for ours. Because Jesus Christ is without sin, His death paid the penalty for all of us. How do we know that Jesus’ death on the cross really took care of the sin problem? Because three days later on Sunday morning, when Mary Magdalene came to Jesus’ tomb that morning, she couldn’t find Him. She saw someone and, thinking it was a gardener, asked Him where the Lord’s body had been taken. When the gardener turned and removed His cloak, Mary realized it was Jesus.
Because He rose from the tomb, Christians are alive in Him. If not for the resurrection, our faith would be empty and useless. As the Apostle Paul said, “if Jesus were not raised, we should be the most pitied people on earth.” But the fact is, Jesus is raised. How will you respond?
If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved
If good works could save anyone, there would have been no point in Jesus’ death. But Jesus knew we couldn’t pay sin’s price. That’s why His sacrifice was vital. In order for His sacrifice to secure our pardon, we must trust in Him for our salvation. Believing in Jesus means a great deal more than believing about Jesus. Knowing the facts about His life and death is mere “head knowledge.” Believing in Jesus demands that we trust that that knowledge applies to our need for salvation. It means to have total confidence, to in Him. It isn’t a “see how it goes” approach. That’s what many people view salvation. They’re reasonably sure that Jesus is who He said He is. However, they “hedge their bet” by putting some of their trust in their efforts at good behavior, their church traditions or anything else they can do. They may even rest some of their hopes in other ‘gods,’ using the “the more the merrier’ approach. You must understand that if you depend on anything beyond Jesus for your salvation, then what you’re really saying is that Jesus Christ is not enough.
God is waiting for you to commit the entire weight of your existence to Jesus Christ and what He did on the cross. Your complete eternal destiny must rest upon Him. You might say, “But my mom was a Christian. And she prayed for me.” Praise God. But what about you? Christianity has nothing to do with your heritage. It has nothing to do with the name of the church you attend. It has to do with whether you have placed absolute confidence in the work of Christ alone.
How do I get to know Him?
Are you ready to start your journey with Jesus? Let’s open our Bibles and learn how to become a follower of Jesus Christ:
Have you ever confessed your sin to God and trusted in Jesus Christ alone for your salvation? If not, there’s no better time than right now. It all begins with a simple prayer. The exact wording isn’t important. What matters is your sincerity.
Here’s an example: Dear Jesus, I confess that I am a sinner. I have failed to reflect your glory and deserve the punishment that results from sin. Jesus, I believe that you are holy and sinless, that you died on the cross at Calvary and rose from the dead to grant salvation. I now place all my confidence in you as my savior. Please forgive me of my sins and grant me eternal life. Thank you for saving me. I want to live my life for you. Amen.
If you prayed that prayer for the first time, we welcome you into the family of God. If you’re already involved with a church, talk with your pastor or a Christian friend. Let them know about your decision so they can encourage you and help you to grow in your newfound faith. Visit us to learn more about the Bible and get involved with a caring Christian fellowship. Like little babies, newborn Christians need this kind of care and attention. Please also feel free to call us at 219-844-3331. We’ll do all we can to help you get started on this fantastic journey.
What if I still have questions?
Contact us! We are here to help you in your journey to meet Christ and walk with Him. No question or concern is foolish or out of bounds. All any of us need is an open mind, a willingness to challenge and be challenged. Give us a call.