Why Do I Need a Savior?
Do you need a Savior? Perhaps not. Not if you believe that you are basically a good person, your intentions are mostly good, you usually tell the truth, you have never killed anyone, or you have never robbed a bank.
Before I was in ministry, I remember being asked, “If you were to die today, would you go to heaven?” I responded that God probably has a generous curve on His grading, because surely there are worse guys living than me!
This is the thinking of most people you know; they are not perfect, but not that bad. So, if man is basically good, (with the exception of a few mass murderers and Hitler), then we are all going to heaven and there is no need for a Savior. This is the conclusion of some false gospels, which tells us that Jesus dying on the cross is a tragic, great moral example of a man who died for His convictions; he was kind and loving, and so should we be. You don’t need a Savior, you need a really good example of how to be nicer, and everybody knows Jesus was a really nice guy. If this is true, my conscience can relax. I am trying to be good, or better, and my good intentions carry weight with God.
So, we’re good, right? Not if you care what the Bible says about sin and salvation. I like what Mark Twain is quoted as saying:
“It's not the parts of the Bible I don’t understand that bother me, it’s the parts I do understand.”
Yes, parts like Romans 3:23
“For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.”
Or David in Psalm 53:3b
“No one does good, not a single one!.”
“... dead in your trespasses and sins … carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath...”
The Bible’s position on you and I is that we are by nature sinners. We were born that way, inherited from the first man and woman in what theologians call “the fall of man” in Genesis 3. The entire Mosaic system of sacrifices, offerings, and cleansings was to teach the Israelite, and us, that sin is offensive to God and a huge barrier to our eternal destiny, let alone a relationship with Him now. The Bible is also really clear that you and I cannot clean ourselves up, cannot perform enough righteous deeds to outweigh the bad, or do enough religious ceremonies to put us in right standing with God.
No, we need to be rescued. We are completely lost and bankrupt before a holy God. We cannot save ourselves, much to the disappointment of the modern mind. This is the doctrine or teaching of total depravity. Until we believe that we are really lost and living under the judgement of a holy and righteous God, until we are ready to cry out and say, “have mercy on me, a sinner,” we will not really believe we need a Savior.
Francis Shaeffer was a great author, philosopher, theologian, and disciple-maker of a generation past. He and his wife turned their home in Switzerland into a discipling center for seekers of truth and hope. Young people from around the world would come stay with them and consider the claims of Christ, of Biblical Christianity. Shaeffer was asked, if you only had 1 hour on the train to talk to a modern man or woman about the Gospel, what would you say? His response still makes good sense today:
“I would spend the first 50 minutes talking about sin and the last 10 minutes talking about Christ and the cross. Modern man has no conception of personal sin.”
The cross of Jesus has no real power in my life until I see that without His taking my place, paying the price for my sins, I am without hope.
God takes no pleasure in judging anyone, but His holy and righteous character demands that He does what is just, which is to judge and condemn sinners. But as the Bible says in John 3 and Ephesians 2, because of His love and mercy, He has sent His son to save, deliver, rescue, and cause to be born of His Spirit lost ones like you and me! This is what fuels my love and worship of Christ. He did for me what I could not do for myself. Jesus said it best in Luke 7:47.
“Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—as her great love has shown. But whoever has been forgiven little loves little.”
Have you been forgiven much or little? It will make all the difference in your walk with Jesus, your relationships to others and your worship.
Yes, I need a Savior! Praise God, Jesus saved the likes of me!