Our lives are often a blur of constant motion and activities. It is not unusual in the pace of modern life to sometimes feel as though we have been lost in the shuffle, as if no one cares, as if we are all alone. At other times, we may experience great satisfaction with work or family, yet still be aware of an emptiness inside, of a desire for more out of life.
In recent years, Americans have strayed from their biblical Judeo-Christian moorings to wander on the anchorless seas of relativism, existentialism, and deism. These turbulent waters abound with sayings like: "It's okay as long as it's right for you." "If I can't experience it, then it isn't real." or "It's okay to believe in any god or religion as long as it's how you were raised."
In contrast to these perspectives, the Bible provides us with the peaceful and soothing waters of truth. It challenges us to build loving webs of relationships, to study and meet the needs of people as we are able, and to faithfully proclaim the message from God's Word: Jesus died to save sinners; anyone who trusts Him to save him from sin has eternal life — not only in the future, but as a present quality of life NOW! Eternal life includes developing and maintaining a loving, dependent, and growing relationship with God and with his forever family, the church.
We at Grace Church Aurora believe that God's Word, the Bible, provides us with the answers to life's most important questions: "Where did I come from?", "Where am I going?", and "Why am I here?". Jesus said, "I have come that you might have life and have it more abundantly."
Even now, Jesus wants to take away your heavy burdens, to give you His free gift — abundant and eternal life, and to let you know the joy of living your life for His cause. As Jesus said, "And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent." (John 17:3).
Learn more about salvation below and we would love to hear from you, please contact us.
Grace Church Aurora
19001 E. Jefferson Dr.
Aurora, CO 80013
You may be exploring the most important question you have ever examined, for God is genuinely interested in you and in your eternal well-being!
You’ve asked a great question. Even the words “need to be saved” imply that someone is in harm's way right now. It may not even seem so, but it is true. How are we in harm's way? To answer that question, let’s start with our loving God.
God, the only God as He reveals Himself in the Bible, is a multi-faceted person that none of us will ever fully understand. He is sovereign, spirit (as contrasted with material), loving, just, righteous, merciful, compassionate, holy, eternal, transcendent, unchangeable, infinite, absolute in perfection, immense, all-wise, truth, good, gracious, patient, self-existent (i.e. He was not created or did not have a beginning), all-knowing, all-powerful, everywhere-present, and free (i.e., He acts on His own, and always acts within the constraints of His good character, such that He will never sin).
The word “love” is used very loosely in English. We love pizza, great weather, our favorite sports team and our spouse, but the meaning of “love” in relation to each recipient is not always the same. The original languages of the Bible have different words for “love,” but the one most used of God’s love has three aspects to it — all of which can be seen in John 3:16
To answer this question, rests in a more comprehensive reflection of who God is.
Yes, God is loving, but God is also holy, righteous and just. Herein is the difficulty.
When God created the first couple, He sovereignly gave them one restriction – a restriction which was promptly disobeyed. In the Bible, this disobedience is called sin. Before they did so, God had warned them that in the day they ate of the forbidden fruit, they would surely die. Since they did not physically die “in that day,” the death God was talking about had to be of a different kind – spiritual. That is what we see in the text. Whereas before Adam and Eve enjoyed an unhampered relationship with God, immediately thereafter we see them hiding from God, refusing personal responsibility, and blaming others for their choice to disobey. In fact, although they were aware of God’s presence and could converse with Him, they were separated from that previously unhampered relationship because of their sin. Sin had violated God’s holiness and righteousness, and because God justly enacted the consequence about which He had forewarned them, death (spiritual separation from God) was imposed.
Do not miss this fact: The loving God is also just – loving in His justice and just in His loving. To threaten a consequence and not impose it would be untruthful. To dismiss the consequence, would not be just. The sin of Adam impacted himself and all of his offspring; this is called “original sin.” This original sin is further compounded by the fact that each of us commits our own acts of sin. We are sinners.
The reason a loving God sends people to hell is that they have a sin problem that is unaddressed, and His justice requires that our sin be punished.
We need to be saved because we are all sinners. The Bible says in Romans 3:23 that all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. His glory is the standard of perfection that reflects His holy character. Further, it says in Romans 6:23 that the wages of sin is death (separation from God). Accordingly, we all stand properly condemned by a holy, righteous, and just God. We have no recourse in and of ourselves. We all deserve hell. But the story does not end there.
You have asked another great question. The fact that we can do nothing in and of ourselves to save us from sin and its just consequences, does not mean that God can do nothing. The just God, who must punish our sin, provided a substitute payment for sin.
Romans 5:8 says that God demonstrates His love towards us in that while we were yet sinners [remember, that is our state], Christ died for us. 2 Corinthians 5:21 puts it this way, “He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” Let’s explain that text a little further: “He [God the Father] made Him [Jesus Christ] who knew no sin [Jesus had never sinned, and thus was not deserving of death] to be sin for us [in other words, He died the death that we deserved for our own sin when He willingly died as our substitute on the cross].”
Did you see it? When Christ died on the cross in our place, the justice of God that required sin to be paid for was satisfied.
No, everyone is not saved simply because Christ died for his or her sin. One has to respond in faith – personally trusting Christ’s death and resurrection from the dead for the purpose of being saved from one’s sin.
Did you notice, in the answer to the previous question, that 2 Corinthians 5:21 says that we need to be “in Him”? That little phrase is the Apostle Paul’s shorthand for one who throws himself or herself on Christ to be saved:
In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation—having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise.
Paul clearly defines this gospel by which we are saved in his letter to the Corinthians:
Now I make known to you, brethren, the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received, in which also you stand, 2by which also you are saved, … 3For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, 5and that He appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. 6After that He appeared to more than five hundred brethren at one time, most of whom remain until now, but some have fallen asleep; 7then He appeared to James, then to all the apostles; 8and last of all, as to one untimely born, He appeared to me also. 9For I am the least of the apostles, and not fit to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. 10But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me did not prove vain; but I labored even more than all of them, yet not I, but the grace of God with me. 11Whether then it was I or they, so we preach and so you believed.
You see, the moment you believe to be forgiven of your sin, a transaction occurs – the great exchange: your sin is placed on Christ, and His righteousness is placed on you. He paid for your sin when He died on the cross, but you appropriate Christ’s death when you believe.
Let me illustrate. If a person were to write you a check for a million dollars and handed it to you, at that moment, the million dollars is yours only in potentiality. Those funds remain in the person’s account until you appropriate them for yourself. For it to become yours, you have to turn the check over, endorse it with your signature, and then deposit the check into your account.
When you do that, and the check clears, the funds are in your account.
When Christ died for the sins of the world, it is as if He handed every person a check with the righteousness of Christ on it. The potentiality of being made righteous in Him is fully there, but unless you turn that check over and “endorse it” by faith in Christ’s death and resurrection, it never becomes yours unless you believe with the purpose of being saved from your sin.
Exactly. Read what the Scriptures say about how our best works cannot offset the sin that we have done; it is the undeserved grace and mercy of God that makes a provision for salvation through faith:
8For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.
6For all of us have become like one who is unclean, And all our righteous deeds are like a filthy garment; And all of us wither like a leaf, And our iniquities, like the wind, take us away.
20…by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified in His sight; for through the Law comes the knowledge of sin.
5He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit, 6whom He poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior,
2 Timothy 1:9
9[God] who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was granted us in Christ Jesus from all eternity.
These verses are not to say that good works are not important to a Christian. We cannot merit forgiveness because of our works, but we were designed to do good works for which we were saved, and this brings glory to God:
10For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.
16“Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.
If you would like to be saved from your sin and made righteous in Christ, God’s Word to you is the same as the Apostle Paul to the Philippian jailer and as the Apostle John’s words to his readers:
30And after he brought them out, he said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” 31They said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.”
1 John 5:11-13
11And the testimony is this, that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. 12He who has the Son has the life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have the life. 13These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know [not guess or wish or hope] that you have eternal life.
12But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name.
If you have believed in Jesus Christ to be forgiven of your sins, you can be assured of God’s forgiveness of your sin and of being made righteous by faith. You may even want to formalize it in a personal prayer to God. These words do not save you; your faith in Christ for forgiveness does. But you can express your faith to God in something like this:
Dear Heavenly Father,
I know that I am a sinner, separated from you. I know I deserve to go to hell because of my sin, and You would be just if You did. I also have come to understand that You love me and that You sent Your Son, Jesus Christ, to die in my place for my sin. I do not deserve to be saved from my sin, but because of Your grace and mercy, You have made a way for me to be saved. Today, I want You to know that I am not trying to earn my way into Your good favor. I cannot do so. Instead, I am placing my faith alone in Christ alone to be saved from my sin. I believe that He died on the cross for my sin, and that He was raised from the dead. I thank You for making me righteous before You today, because I am now in Christ. Thank You for forgiving me. Thank You for making me Your child! Help me to live my life as a tribute to all You have done for me.
Now that you are a child of God, you may have some doubts about your salvation.
Re-read 1 John 5:11-13 above, and know that you can be assured you are saved. In fact, another verse that gives that same assurance is found below:
24“Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life.
It is not “if” you will sin, but “when” you will sin again! God has given us His Holy Spirit who lives inside us to empower us not to sin, but there are times when we do not depend on His power, and we sin again. We do not lose our salvation, because we were made righteous positionally in Christ (Romans 8:1). But we can break our fellowship with God in much the same way that a wayward child can damage his or her relationship with a parent. They do not cease being a child when they have disobeyed, but they may have some repair work to do to make things right.
When we sin, we have to confess our sin (i.e., to say the same thing about sin that God does with the same heart that God has towards that sin):
1 John 1:9
9If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
Notice God is faithful to forgive us (i.e., to restore the fellowship of His child with Him). Our salvation was never in jeopardy, only the sweetness of our fellowship with Him.