Christians need Jesus and his death and resurrection in their place to be saved. For many, this is no big surprise, it is old news. But do we really believe it? Do we show by what we think and do that this is true?
Let me quote a brief and famous passage from 1 Corinthians 15:
13 But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. 14 And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain. 15 We are even found to be misrepresenting God, because we testified about God that he raised Christ, whom he did not raise if it is true that the dead are not raised. 16 For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised. 17 And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. (1Co 15:13-17 ESV)
Jesus died on a cross about 2000 years ago to pay for the sins of all who believe. God paid an incredible cost to save you and me from death; a cost that had to be paid for there was no other way to do it. It was necessary; without it, there is no way to be saved.
Let’s reflect on this for a moment. If Jesus and his death are the only things that connect us to God, and without them we cannot be saved, that changes everything. Well, it should. We tend to forget this in practice.
- We think that if we are good, then God loves us more, and listens to our prayers more. But this is not true – he only listens to our prayers because of Jesus and his death, not because we deserve it in any way! Even the best person ever deserves nothing but eternal death from God without Jesus.
- We think that having money or Australian citizenship or status or a good job or a nice house counts for something and makes us somebody. That’s what our society tells us, anyway. But no, none of those things change our status before God. You might be wildly successful in the eyes of the world and yet lost forever from God if you reject Jesus.
- We might think that knowing the Bible really well and coming to church every week has to count in our favour with God. These are great things, but they cannot save you; only Jesus and his death can do that.
So often we kid ourselves into thinking that it is our goodness, or our status in the world, or our religion that gives us credit with God. But that is simply untrue, and in our more honest reflective moments we know this is the case.
Without Jesus we are lost without hope. We need Him more than we can imagine. Thank God for his grace in providing such a necessary and generous gift!