(1029d) We’re looking at the Gospel of Salvation—what Christ accomplished for us. Why is Jesus our only Savior, and why not someone else? What are the qualifications? First of all, our Savior can only be God, Isaiah:43:11: “I, even I, am the Lord, and besides me there is no savior.” Titus:2:13 says, “Looking for that blessed hope, the glorious appearing of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ.” Throughout Titus we see God as our savior, and Christ as our savior. If Jesus is our savior, He has to be God!
God says, “Come now, let us reason together.” Consider this: from what are we being saved? It is from the wrath of God, actually. We are sinners. What is sin? Sin is a violation of God’s law, the Scripture tells us. There are consequences to breaking God’s law. The wages of sin is death, and “death” doesn’t mean just temporarily—when you’re dead, you’re gone; that’s it! We are eternal beings. A man who puts a gun to his head and pulls the trigger can only be assured that he’s stopped the function of his brain cells. He hasn’t ended his life! “Life” is not a physical person. Someone is looking out through those eyes. Someone is making the choices and doing the thinking. We are spirit beings—a soul and a spirit living within the body. And when the body dies, we are separated from the body in death, but the soul and the spirit don’t die! There’s no reason, in logic and science, and particularly from the Bible, to believe otherwise. The Bible says that we go on—either in the presence of God or separated from Him forever!
Salvation, then, is deliverance from the penalty that God has imposed upon sin. Only God himself could save us. Nobody else could do that. Therefore, His justice—and, of course, this is what Paul argues in Romans 3. How can God, who loves us and doesn’t want us to be separated from Him, doesn’t want us to be in the Lake of Fire for eternity that was prepared for the devil and his angels, the Bible says—how can He save us? He can’t just make a bookkeeping entry. He can’t just say, “Well, that’s okay. I’ll let you off.”
God is infinite. We are finite beings. The penalty of death is infinite. We would be separated from the Creator of the universe—forever! We could never pay the debt—but God could because He’s infinite, so He can do anything. He could pay this penalty, but that would not be just, because He’s not one of us. The penalty is upon the entire human race. That’s why God became a man through the virgin birth. He didn’t cease to be God, and He’ll never cease to be man. He’s the one-and-only God-Man. He alone could pay that penalty!
Thus Jesus Christ, God’s only begotten Son, in His love for us all, had to take upon Himself the judgment that we deserved. It’s so awful the way people have treated Christ. When we take a completely honest look at our lives, first of all, we should see the horror of our sin! But then there is God, who loves us. Jesus—He’s loving, He’s kind, He’s compassionate, He’s merciful, He’s full of grace and truth. There’s no sin in Him. There’s no reason that anyone should hate Him or mistreat or turn against Him. And yet, the creatures that He created take the very God who created them, who comes to them as a man—someone they could see and touch and hear, perfect in every way, and they falsely accused Him! They ridiculed Him, they mocked Him. They mistreated Him and beat Him and scourged Him and nailed Him to a cross. It wasn’t only the Jewish religious establishment. It was the entire political establishment of the day, the Roman Empire. All mankind! This is what we all would have done had we been there!
The horror of sin is revealed through the cross for all to see. Sin is not just lying, cheating, stealing. Sin is doing anything against God. It really is rebellion against Him, beginning in the Garden of Eden. What did God say? “Don’t eat of this tree.” We are rebels. The human race is like a cancer on the earth. A cancer is a cell that has gone wild. And we have gone wild. When you read the papers—the wars, the crimes…. It is so horrible, what people will do. A girl will go to the prom—she’s pregnant, and nobody knows it—and she goes off to the restroom to have the baby, and then goes back to the dance. “Without natural affection,” the Bible says of these last days. Yet God loves us.
We can look around and see the horror of what sin brings. It is rebellion against God that would take God and tear Him from His throne and put ourselves in His place! Self is our biggest problem. But then, at the same time, we see God’s love, His mercy. And Jesus, hanging on the cross, says, “Father, forgive them, they know not what they do.” There He hung, paying the penalty for our sins—the penalty that we deserve—all so that we could be forgiven. The very ones (God is no respecter of persons, there are no limitations)—the very ones who nailed Him there; the very soldiers who mocked Him; Pilate, who washed his hands of this affair and allowed Him to go to His death; the very ones who crucified Him—He died for them!
There is nothing like this is Buddhism, in Hinduism, in Confucianism, in Christian Science. You name it. There is nothing like this. This is something that God himself did, and He reveals His love right there in the horror of our sin! And only Christ was able to endure the payment for our sakes, because of who He is. That is unfathomable love.
He is a just God, and the penalty had to be paid, but on the other side of that, we see a love that we cannot comprehend. We have to stand in awe of Him. No other religion has a god who is so sacrificial, so loving, even to His very enemies. That should move every heart.
Even more amazing, Christ transforms us. He makes us new creatures, and He comes to live His life in us to give us the power to deliver us! The greatest miracle of all is the transformation that God makes in the human heart when Christ comes into it.
We really die! When I accept the death of Christ as my death, I acknowledge that I deserve to die. He died in my place, and I acknowledge that I deserve to die, and I thank Him that He has delivered me from myself, and now I can be a new person. “I am crucified with Christ, nevertheless I live, yet not I but Christ lives in me.” That is the wonder of the cross as well, that through this, I’ve been buried with Christ, raised again in new life, and I can allow Him to be my life, to have His way, to express His love, His compassion, His forgiveness, His purity, His goodness, His grace—all of that He will express through me, as He has become my life, if I will allow Him to do it. And it doesn’t take techniques and therapy. It’s just simple faith, trusting in Him—what He has done and what He will do through me, by His life.