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What does it mean that Jesus saves?

“Jesus saves” is one of those Christianese terms that many of us have heard. While it’s a phrase that’s repeated in Christian culture, some may not truly understand what it means. But understanding how and why "Jesus saves" is probably THE most vital thing to understand in one's life! Let’s break "Jesus saves" down with some core questions...

What does Jesus save us from?

From the very beginning, humans have chosen sin, which is disobedience of God's authority. Adam and Eve sinned by disobeying God in Eden (Genesis 3). When they disobeyed, their relationship with God was severed (Romans 3:23). They experienced spiritual death, which is separation from God. Unluckily for us, they passed that trait down to every generation that followed. This is what's called sin nature.

Sin makes us unfit and unworthy to be in God's presence. How heartbreaking that God created us to have a relationship with Him (Colossians 1:16), but now we're separated by sin. Because of His holiness, nothing unholy (or sinful) may come into God's presence. Apart from God's grace, sin makes it impossible for us to have that perfect relationship we were created for (Ephesians 2:8-9). We cannot be freed from spiritual death on our own.

How does Jesus save us from justified punishment?

Humans have souls and are created for eternity. God truly desires for us to choose eternity with Him, but in His wisdom and grace, He allows us to make that decision for ourselves (1 Timothy 2:4). Even though He loves all people, when people choose sin, His good, holy law demands that justice is served.

When someone commits a crime, the criminal is expected to be punished by the law. In this way, the innocent party receives justice. In a spiritual sense, it’s the same with God. Except God is both love and justice (Psalm 89:14; 1 John 4:8), and because of this love, we have options.

"God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him! For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!" —Romans 5:8-10

After physical death, we will either spend eternity in Heaven with God or eternally separated from Him in a place of torment called Hell (Matthew 25:41; John 3:3). Those who choose not to deal with their sin during their lifetime will go to Hell upon physical death because they remain spiritually dead. For those who hope for a joyful eternity of spiritual life, there's Jesus (John 3:16).

What did Jesus do to save us?

Jesus Christ is the Son of God, God in human form (John 1:1, 14), and walked the earth around 2,000 years ago. He was the long-awaited Savior, the promised Messiah (Isaiah 9:6, Matthew 1:21. Because Jesus is the ONLY one who has ever lived a sinless life, He was uniquely qualified to pay the penalty for the sins of humanity (2 Corinthians 5:21).

Romans 6:23 says the punishment for sin is spiritual death, so Jesus took on death—a punishment we all deserve. Saving humanity from this spiritual death is one of the primary reasons God sent Jesus into the world. Without Jesus Christ, all human beings would suffer an eternity apart from God after they died physically.

This sounds harsh, I know, and it is. Because God is that holy and sin is that bad. But remember that God is both justice AND love. Remember that God doesn’t want to send anyone to Hell. He loves His creation. He loves YOU. So He sent Jesus to do something so amazingly mind-blowing and life-changing that everyone who hears about it and accepts it will find their life is never the same afterward (2 Corinthians 5:17).

Instead of punishing us for our sin, God sent Jesus to die a brutal death on a cross of wood even though He never sinned. God poured out His wrath over OUR sin upon Jesus in that moment. The punishment WE deserve fell onto the perfect, sinless Jesus (Isaiah 53:3-7; 1 Peter 2:24). Just before Jesus breathed His last, He said, "It is finished," and the sins of the world were paid in full (John 19:28-30). From that moment forward, the bleak, eternal fate of all humanity changed forever.

Upon Jesus giving up His spirit, some crazy things started happening in the temple, an earthquake rocked the ground, and many holy people who had died came back to life! Even the guards exclaimed, “Surely he was the Son of God!” (See Matthew 27:50-54.) But that's not even the craziest part. Three days later, Jesus Himself rose from the grave (Matthew 28:6), confirming that God accepted Jesus' sacrifice on our behalf! The gift of salvation is available to anyone who will accept this as truth (Romans 10:9-10).

Will Jesus save me?

YES! If you want to spend eternity with our amazing God and start a relationship with Him, full of love and rescue, all you must do is believe in Jesus' death, burial, and resurrection, and accept Him as your personal Savior from the punishment for your sin.

"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." —Romans 10:9-10

Not one person is excluded from the offer to receive Jesus’ sacrifice. But we still have a choice—acceptance or rejection. You can receive His salvation right here, right now. Secure your eternal destiny and allow Jesus to wash away the guilt, pain, and shame of sin. God won’t see your sin anymore. Instead, He will see His perfect Son when He looks at you.

How can I be saved?

We were made to have a relationship with God, and He has done everything necessary to rescue you from spiritual death. To show how much He loves you, He sent His Son to DIE for you. And He will accept you right where you are. You don't have to be perfect because Jesus has that part covered. God has a plan for your life, and if you allow yourself to trust Him, you can ask Him to forgive your sins as you accept Jesus as your Savior.

There are no special words or magic prayers that will "make" Jesus save you. To accept God's invitation to forgiveness and a fulfilling life, have an honest conversation with Him. You can say something like this: "God, I know I'm sinful. I'm so sorry. Thank You for sending Jesus Christ to die in my place, to take the wrath I deserve. I accept Jesus’ sacrifice. I believe in His death, burial, and resurrection as sufficient payment for my sin. Jesus, please change my heart forever. I believe in You. I love you. Please save me."

If you have accepted Jesus as your Savior today, then let me be the first to welcome you into the family of God! You are His precious child and have begun the most incredible, transformative journey of your life. We encourage you to tell someone about your life-changing decision to follow Jesus, get a Bible (or download the BibleGateway app!), and find a Bible-teaching church in your area.

We're here to help you grow in your faith too! We have lots of articles on 412teens.org that may be helpful to you as you begin to walk with Jesus and learn more about living your life for Him.

TL;DR

Jesus saves us from eternal separation from God. God truly desires for us to be with Him for all eternity, but He's given us a choice to accept or reject Him. When people choose sin, His good, holy law demands that justice is served, and the punishment for sin is spiritual death (Romans 6:23), which is eternal separation from God. Because Jesus led a sinless life, He was uniquely qualified to pay the penalty for the sins of humanity (2 Corinthians 5:21). Jesus was crucified and died, but three days later, He came back to life, confirming that God accepted His sacrifice on our behalf. The gift of salvation is available to anyone who will accept this as truth (Romans 10:9-10).

By: Stephanie T.

Stephanie is a 21-year old with a passion to see believers grow and become passionate in their relationship with the Lord. She is a lover of sweat tea, sunshine, and the freedom that comes from Christ. In her free time, she can be found singing, playing guitar, writing or jamming out to Hawk Nelson, Phil Wickham, and worship music. Her dreams are to become a worship leader and a published author, while living a life full of fun and joy that comes from the Lord.


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