The Need for Salvation: What is the Gospel?

Have you ever been saved? You were near death, but someone jumped to your rescue and literally saved you? Once when I was a little boy, I jumped into a swimming pool at a family party. All of the other kids were doing it, and it looked like so much fun. There was just one small problem…I didn’t know how to swim. Naturally, what seemed to be a great idea soon became a nightmare for me and my family. I began to flail my arms in an attempt to swim, but despite my best efforts, I couldn’t save myself. Thankfully, my uncle Eddie noticed my struggle and jumped into the pool to save me.

Recently, I heard a story on the news about a ten-year-old boy dying because he saved his little sister who fell through a frozen pond. The boy sacrificed everything he had to save his sister. I’ve seen videos of good Samaritans placing their own lives in danger by lifting vehicles that were on fire in order to save individuals trapped underneath. I could go on and on about people who should have died but didn’t because someone was willing to sacrifice for them in order to save them. What about you?

Time Out #1:

  1. Can you think of a time you should have died, but someone saved you? If so, share this experience with your family.
  2. Can you think of a time you saved someone else’s life? If so, share this experience with your family.

Whether or not we’ve have had a near-death experience, most of us would agree, the thought of death is a scary reality. We are fascinated with videos, movies, books, and articles where lives are saved, a hero is named, and health is restored. That’s what we like. It feels good for everyone to win when it comes to life and death. Death isn’t a fun topic.

However, here’s the reality: we will all die, and we will all die spiritually unless something drastically changes.

The Bible tells us that, “the wages of sin is death…” (Romans 6:23 ESV) and “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). Our sin has produced a great divide between God and us. Isaiah 59:2 says, “…your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God…” This curse on humanity, that has plagued each person worse than every global pandemic, began with the sin of Adam and spread to all humankind (Romans 5:12–14). All of us, present and past, are without hope in this world (Ephesians 2:1–3, 12; 1 Peter 2:10). Nothing we can say or do helps this reality: we are sinners deserving of death.

Our story doesn’t end here.

Ephesians 2:4–5 says, “But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ–by grace you have been saved.” Further, Romans 6:23, the verse we started with, finishes with great news! Paul says, “…but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Did you hear that? Those in Christ have been saved, and, because of God’s great love and mercy, have been brought back to life from death. There is a savior for all of us, and His name is Jesus.

The curse of sin on humankind has a cure, and that cure is Christ. John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” God sent Jesus to take our sins and unrighteousness. Like the little boy who sacrificed his own life to save his sister, Jesus gave up His own life in order to save us. Paul explains this in 2 Corinthians 5:21 saying, “For our sake he [God] made him [Jesus] to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” This is beautiful. This is love. This is the good news!

But what do we do now? What are we to do with this information? How do I become a part of God’s saving grace? How do I get into Christ?

Over the next six lessons were are going to take a look at six different salvation stories in the Bible. By doing this, we will learn from God’s word what one must do to be saved. In these stories, we will see God’s consistency and His expectations directly and indirectly. We will be able to determine how someone should respond to His great love and mercy. It is my prayer that as we study God’s word together, our hearts will seek the truth in God’s word concerning His love, grace, and salvation, and that we will respond appropriately.

Time Out #2:

  1. What is the good news? Consider 1 Corinthians 15:1–11.
  2. How would you describe to a friend what God through Jesus has done for you?
  3. Why is it important to look to God’s word for instructions in how to respond to His gift of salvation? Consider 2 Peter 1:3; 2 Timothy 3:16–17.

I want us to come full circle as we end this first lesson on salvation. The first question I asked was, “Can you think of a time you should have died, but someone saved you?” I do not know whether or not you shared an experience with those around you when you first heard this question, but I want you to consider this question from a spiritual point of view this time.

Can you think of a time you should have died, but someone saved you?

If you can answer “YES!” I’d encourage you to share your salvation story. What spiritual strength and encouragement we all receive when we hear how God has worked in each of our lives! If you answered “no,” I want to urge you to take courage and understand that the good news of Jesus is for you! God has “…granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness…” (2 Peter 1:3). If we will listen, seek, and trust what He has revealed to us in Christ, salvation will be our story to share, too!

Becoming New in Christ: A Blessing and Responsibility

Transformed: Living Sacrifice

Grown by God: Self-Control

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