Today we begin a new message series called “My Salvation.” We’re going to be talking about what the Bible teaches about salvation. The word in the Greek for salvation is soteria which means salvation, deliverance, preservation and release. To be saved is then to be rescued, delivered, kept safe or preserved.
Just for fun, I typed into Google the phrase “saved from.” I saw a series of videos with the following titles Saved from fire, saved from a scammer, toddler saved from bear. Let’s think more carefully about what salvation or being saved means. We’ll illustrate with the situation of toddler saved from bear. It begins with a person with a problem that puts them in danger. In this case a toddler in danger from a bear. The toddler couldn’t save themselves from the bear, so they needed a rescuer or savior. The rescuer brought them out of danger and saved them.
Salvation in the Bible has a similar meaning. Every person on this planet has a problem that puts them in danger. That problem is sin. Sin separates a person from God and puts them in danger of God’s wrath.
1 Thessalonians 5:9 (ESV) For God has not destined us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ,
In this verse, we see the danger and the rescuer, Jesus Christ who saves us. Now, we must be careful here. Jesus does not automatically save everyone. He has a plan that makes it possible for everyone to be saved. But each person must cooperate with His plan, they must take an action in order to be saved. As we go through this series, we’ll talk about the plan and how people are saved.
The topic of salvation is the most important topic in the Bible, in fact in life. In fact, we might accurately say that the whole Bible is about salvation, from Genesis to Revelation. The problem we see today is that many people think that there are a multitude of ways or plans that lead to salvation and a relationship with God. There are many people who think they are saved, when they are not. Which means that they are still in grave danger.
Proverbs 14:12 (ESV) There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death.
People has all kinds of ideas about God and salvation that seem right to them, but they lead to death.
Acts 4:12 (ESV) And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”
There is only one escape from the sin problem and there is only one Savior. In this series, we’re going to get a better understanding of salvation, both for ourselves and so we can tell others as well.
Today, the topic of our message is Why Salvation? If someone doesn’t realize they have a problem, if they don’t realize that they are in danger, they won’t seek to be saved. So, today, we’re going to talk about the need for salvation that everyone has. Since all have sinned, we all need salvation through Jesus Christ. So, let’s begin with the problem that puts us in danger.
Sin is the problem of mankind. What is sin? The Greek word for sin literally means “missing the mark.” The mark is how God created and instructed us to live. This basic problem of sin was revealed in the first pages of the Bible. Adam and Eve were created in the garden of Eden and lived in relationship with God. However, they soon learned that …
Genesis 3:4-5 (ESV) But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”
God had commanded Adam and Even to no eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. He said that if they ate from it, they would surely die. The serpent who was Satan, contradicted God’s Word and tempted the first people to disobey. Temptation always is contrary to God’s Word and seem to be attractive. In this case, the temptation is to be like God, knowing good and evil. When temptation comes, it can either be resisted or given in to.
Genesis 3:6 (ESV) So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate.
The fruit of the tree seemed good for the body, pleasing to look at with the eyes and would satisfy their pride to be like God. So she ate. Her husband Adam evidently wanted the same things and desired to please his wife, so he ate as well. The first temptation had been given into and the results of that sin still reverberate in our world today.
Genesis 3:16 (ESV) To the woman he said, “I will surely multiply your pain in childbearing; in pain you shall bring forth children. Your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you.”
God then announced, first to Eve, the judgement or curse that came upon her as a result of her sin. She would have pain in birthing children and sin would damage her relationship with her husband.
Genesis 3:17, 19 (ESV) And to Adam he said, “Because you have listened to the voice of your wife and have eaten of the tree of which I commanded you, ‘You shall not eat of it,’ cursed is the ground because of you; in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life; … By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread, till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”
As Adam had listened to Eve, rather than God and sinned as well, God announces the judgement on him. Pain would come to Adam in his work in the ground. Weeds would make growing food more difficult and ultimately he would die and return to the dust. As the story continues in Genesis 3, both Adam and Eve are banished from the garden and the presence of God. Sin brought judgement and broke the relationship of Adam and Eve with God.
This first sin is often called the fall and impacts every person and the entire universe. Sin is our problem that we need saving from.
Although Adam and Eve were the first sinners, each one of us has followed in their footsteps. We have all yielded to sin, in one way or another. Sin brought God’s judgement into the entire world and those consequences still exist today. Sin is the reason that we no longer live in the perfect world that God originally created. Everything in the world that causes violence, distress, damage and so on, is a result of sin. We see this in devastating weather, natural catastrophes and all kinds of sin in people.
Sin separates people from a relationship with God. It causes people to live, not under God’s blessing, but under God’s judgement or wrath. So, the problem is sin is not just an issue for where a person spends eternity. The problem of sin impacts every aspect of our lives and world today. We need to be saved from the problem of sin, both for this life and the next.
Romans 3:23 (ESV) for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
This verse tells us first of all that everyone has sinned. There is no person who has not sinned. Each one of us has given in to temptation. Then God gives us another definition of sin. Sin is falling short of God’s glory. God’s glory is the state of living in keeping with the way that God created us to life. We have a picture of living in God’s glory when Adam & Eve lived in the garden of Eden before they sinned. They walked and talked with God and enjoyed paradise. As everyone is guilty of sin …
Romans 3:10-12 (ESV) as it is written: “None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.”
God’s Word is clear, that not only have all sinned, but no one is righteous, no one does good. No one seeks God, no one understands God, In fact, these verses tell us that this sin mars the image of God we have been created in. Sin makes a person worthless in that state of unrighteousness. As God is our creator and has instructed us how to live …
Romans 3:19-20 (ESV) Now we know that whatever the law says it speaks to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be stopped, and the whole world may be held accountable to God. For by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin.
The law is God’s Word. The law for Adam and Eve was to not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. The law for us is written in the pages of Scripture, summarized in the ten commandments. The law makes it clear to us what sin is. Have I hated my brother in my heart? If so, I have committed the sin of murder. For if I thought there were no consequences, I would have put him to death. When anyone carefully looks at the law and examines their own life, they will see that they break the law in many ways.
As in the garden of Eden, just one disobedience, just one transgression of the law, is sin. That one sin separates us from the presence of God, both in this life and the next. We are all accountable to God. God is the judge and declares each one of us guilty of sin.
The first thing that a person has to understand to move toward salvation is their own sin. If a person doesn’t see sin as a problem that puts them in grave danger, they will not seek to be saved from it. People resist acknowledging that they are guilty of sin and need to be saved. The natural human inclination is to compare yourself to someone else, preferably someone a lot more of a sinner than yourself. Then we think, I’m a much better person than them, so surely God will accept me the way that I am.
Yet, that manner of thinking is not helpful. The issue is not whether you’ve sinned more or less than another person. The issue is whether you have sinned, yes or no. Even the smallest of sins separates a person from God and heads them toward an eternal destiny without Him in hell. How many people believe they are going to hell? One half of one percent. But Jesus tells us the majority of people are headed there. The solution to the problem of sin is not trying to be good enough for God. We’ve all already been found guilty of sin, it’s too late for that.
Sin is not just something you randomly decide to do. Sin entraps people, each person becomes addicted to sin. You become trapped in a cage of sin.
Ephesians 2:1-2 (ESV) And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience—
Spiritually speaking, people who have not been saved are dead in their sins. If the sin problem is not dealt with, they will eventually die physically and enter into an eternal state of death. As there was the presence of the serpent in the garden, so today, that serpent is still active. In this verse, Satan is called the prince of the power of the air. Satan is a very real spirit that works in people who have no relationship with God.
Those who are controlled by sin are called sons of disobedience. All sin is disobedience to God’ commands. No one can break free from the cords of sin on their own. We all need a Savior. Not only are people controlled outwardly by sin …
Romans 1:28-29 (ESV) And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness.
When people refuse to acknowledge God in their lives, when they follow their own plans, God allows their minds to become debased or depraved mind. The more that people give in to sin, the more they are filled with all kinds of unrighteousness. The more they are filled with sin, the more the become controlled by Satan and his demons. It is a vicious downward spiral that leads people farther and farther from God.
Romans 1:32 (ESV) Though they know God’s righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.
Just as Adam and Eve knew God’s command, but choose to disobey, each person knows God’s commands written on their conscience. Not only do people continue to sin, but they encourage others to sin as well. We are seeing more and more of encouragement to sin in our society today.
Why do people encourage others to sin? It makes them not feel so bad about their sin. If everyone else is doing it, it must be OK, as they compare themselves to others. Sin traps people with ever strengthening cords of bondage.
For those of us who are saved, it’s easy to put other people into the boxes of good or bad people, rather than the biblical categories of saved or unsaved. That person you know who seems so nice, but wants nothing to do with Jesus or His church is just as much a sinner as the murderer on death row. The person who goes to church every week, but believes they’re going to heaven because they’re a good person, is sadly mistaken. The sin of pride is just as much a problem as any other kind of sin.
The Bible teaches that there are indeed degrees of sin which will merit degrees of punishment. Yet, the degree of sin makes no difference in whether you have a relationship with God or where you spend eternity. Sin traps people and everyone needs to be rescued.
Each person on this planet has a problem, a serious problem, a fatal problem and that problem is sin. The problem of sin impacts every aspect of our lives here and now and dictates our eternal destiny apart from God. Everyone is guilty of sin and everyone is accountable to their creator God. Sin traps people with chains that they cannot break.
No person can deal with their sin problem on their own. They need a Savior, who has a plan to rescue them. Next Sunday, we’re going to talk about God’s plan of salvation. But I want to give everyone an opportunity to take action with God’s plan today.