What is salvation? Why did Jesus Christ have to die in order to save us? And from what are we actually saved? Answers to these questions are the foundations of the Christian faith, and our eternal destiny entirely lies in knowing the answers.
First off, it is necessary to read the Old Testament, particularly the books of Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, and Deuteronomy, in order to understand why Jesus had to die for us, why the sacrifice was needed, why Jesus' death and resurrection is the foundation of Christianity, and why it is the most important thing we need to know in order to receive salvation. It is actually necessary to read the entire Bible to know about the main teachings of the Holy Scriptures and how everything fits together. I know it can be a daunting task at first to read the whole book, but after having read it seven times using a different version each time, I find it to be the most interesting book there ever is, and I don't think I'll ever get tired of studying it!
Here, I will outline the basic facts of the Gospel to help you better understand the teachings of Christianity, and why it is important to know these truths in order to embrace an everlasting life of sheer bliss and fellowship with our Heavenly Father, Jehovah God Almighty.
First Man, First Rule, First Sin, First Penalty
• God, whose personal name is Jehovah (Yahweh), created two people--Adam and Eve--who were perfect and sinless. Back then, God established that death will be the penalty of sin.
a) Sin is an offense we commit against God, just as a crime is an offense we commit against one another. Many crimes are actually sins, too, because God doesn't want us to treat one another badly. When we treat one another in a bad way, we are actually sinning against God.
b) Death is a state of non-existence. It is like the state before you were born. So when you die, you don't know anything.
• Jehovah gave Adam and Eve--and all humans after them--a precious gift called "free will." That means we have the absolute freedom to make decisions for ourselves on our own. If God hadn't given us free will, we would be robots, doing the will of God, not our will.
Along with free will, Jehovah established one simple rule for Adam and Eve. That command was to not eat from only one tree, out of the numerous fruit trees in the Garden of Eden where they lived. Again, this was the only law the people had. If they kept it, they would live forever; if they didn't keep it, Jehovah told them that they would certainly die.
• Unfortunately, Adam and Eve sinned by eating from the tree, so God punished them with death. Everyone else after them all sinned, so everyone dies. So "through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin; and so death passed unto all men, for that all sinned." (Romans 5:12, American Standard Version)
• How could eating a fruit earn such a heavy punishment? Some feel that Adam and Eve received a punishment that was way out of proportion to their sin. Was their punishment really too harsh?
No, what they got was justified. God did not punish them for eating the fruit; He punished them because they deliberately did not follow His simple command. No matter what the rule was, it was a rule, and a rule should be adhered to, most especially when it comes from God.
God had made a perfect Earth that needed care from perfect people. When Adam and Eve disobeyed an order that should have been easy to follow, they proved that the planet could not be entrusted to their care. If they could not be trusted over a small thing, how could they be trusted with big things?
Also, we need to keep in mind that God specifically told Adam and Eve that they would certainly die if they disobeyed Him. To not punish them the way He warned would make Him a liar. God promises both blessings and curses; He always keeps His word according to what He promises. Enforcing promised disciplines is how He can get His messages and orders taken seriously.
(Excerpted from Do You Love Jehovah? by Shirley Cheng)
Solution for a Sinning World
• Jehovah is a holy God; He cannot live among a sinful world, so sins separate us from Him. We cannot have fellowship with Him as long as we are sinning.
• Jehovah doesn't like everyone to die. His purpose for the Earth was to fill it with happy people who could have fellowship with Him for eternity. Therefore, He has a solution...
• That solution is Jesus Christ, who died in order to wash away our sins, so we can saved into eternal life with God.
• As soon as Adam and Eve sinned, Jehovah mentioned His plan for salvation through Jesus; the mysterious plan wouldn't be revealed till many years later.
After the devil used the serpent to deceive Eve, Jehovah said to the snake, "I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed: he shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel." (Genesis 3:15) Who will be the seed of the woman? What does bruising the head mean? And how would this plan stop the fall of the human race, undo the effects of sin and death, and fulfill God's purpose?
Two millennia ago, this designated seed was born into our world. He was bruised on the heel, died, and on the third day, was raised up. Through his death, he has redeemed the hope for an everlasting life for all of us. Now, it is merely a matter of time before he will return to bruise the seed of the serpent on the head, a wound from which he will never survive. Along with his eternal destruction, any poisonous works Satan has ever planted will be consumed once and for all, and no more evil fruits will bloom again.
The seed of the woman is Jehovah's own beloved Son, Jesus Christ. Faith in the Christ is the only path to Jehovah and the only way to salvation; having faith in him will save us from our sins and bring us to our new home.
Why Did Jesus Have to Die for Us?
• It is necessary for Jesus to die and shed blood in order to save us. But why? And why particularly Jesus, and not anyone else?
Excerpt from Do You Love Jehovah:
How could Jesus' blood wash away our sins? To understand this, we need to know how God's system of the sacrifice works. The books of Exodus and Leviticus in the Bible extensively talk about sacrificing livestock, such as cattle and sheep, to cleanse the people of their sins so God could forgive them. Animals used in the sacrifice must be without any defects, and priests must perform specific steps during the sacrifice, including pouring out their blood upon the altar for atonement.
Why is the pouring out of blood necessary? What is important about blood? Jehovah answered this question in the Bible: "For the life of the flesh is in the blood; and I have given it to you upon the altar to make atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that maketh atonement by reason of the life." (Leviticus 17:11) Blood is the life, so when you pour out the life of a perfect sacrifice, you cleanse your own life.
Hence, in order to wash away the sins of a great multitude, God chose His Son, who is absolutely flawless; no other man who has ever lived could be perfect enough for the job. Ultimately, the life--Jesus' blood--was poured out as a ransom to redeem our own blood.
The sacrifice for salvation had to be perfect for another reason. In Jehovah's perfect justice system, the restitution had to be of equal value as the original: "He that smiteth a beast mortally shall make it good, life for life. And if a man cause a blemish in his neighbor; as he hath done, so shall it be done to him: breach for breach, eye for eye, tooth for tooth; as he hath caused a blemish in a man, so shall it be rendered unto him." (Leviticus 24:18-20) So when Adam was a perfect human being, another perfect human being had to be sacrificed to set things right.
Even so, after an explanation of God's sacrificial system, you still may not comprehend it fully; you may find it too extreme for God to have sacrificed Jesus, and to me, it was. But as mere creations, do we have the capacity to completely understand Jehovah and His ways? Jehovah Himself best said it: "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts." (Isaiah 55:8-9)
Salvation, What It's All About
• Jesus' sacrifice doesn't automatically ensure us salvation. Each person has to personally respond to it by 1) repenting and 2) accepting Jesus as Savior and Master.
• Each individual's positive response has to remain for their lifetime. Otherwise, they will lose this gift.
• Salvation is only through Jesus, not through anyone else, nor through doing good works only, nor through any church or denomination. Denominations are manmade. We should never focus on the manmade, but God-made.
• Remember, "The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance." (II Peter 3:9, KJV)
• Jesus' sacrifice for us is the most important thing he has done for us. This is the only way we can receive an eternal life with Jehovah, just as He had planned long ago. Nothing else, no miracles, no healing, can provide this salvation gift for us. This is why believing that Jesus died for us is the most important element of Christianity. We cannot be saved by any other way.
• However, everyone still dies as usual. But the difference is that everyone will be resurrected on Jehovah's appointed day. Those who have made Jesus Savior and Master of their lives will live forever; those who do not will enter the second death, which is eternal death, known by many as "hell."
• We are saved the moment we 1) repent of anything bad we've ever done and 2) accept Jesus as Savior. Accepting Jesus as Savior means that we have accepted his teachings and diligently applied them to our lives. Simply believing in Jesus does not give us salvation. If belief is all that's needed, then Satan can be saved, too!
• The saved will live in the Kingdom of God. What is the Kingdom of God? It is a Kingdom that will be fully established upon Earth, governed by Jehovah and Jesus from Heaven. It is a Kingdom that will rule for eternity, putting an end to all human governments. Inhabitants of this Kingdom will never grow old, get sick, or die. It is a Kingdom of perfect holiness, love, peace, and joy.
• Jehovah God is the King of His Kingdom, which will be entrusted to Jesus as King for one thousand years. Jesus said that he is the way, the life, the truth, and that no one can go to God without going through him. If we cannot connect with God, we surely cannot enter His Kingdom. So when we can have connection with God only through His Son, it means we can enter the Kingdom only through Jesus. No one can enter the Kingdom without accepting Jesus as Savior. He is the "way" to salvation. He is our eternal "life." He is the "truth" that will lead us to God and God's Kingdom. Jesus is "Yahooshua" in Hebrew, which means "Jehovah Is Salvation." "Christ" means "the Appointed One." So Jesus is the one appointed by God to provide us salvation, while salvation ultimately comes from Jehovah.
Need Further Info? Have Questions?
Do you now know why Jesus Christ had to die for us? If you have any questions about what I've shared here, please don't hesitate to contact me via my site http://www.shirleycheng.com I'm always here to help!
Shirley Cheng (b. 1983), a blind and physically disabled award-winning author (with twenty book awards, including nine Parent to Parent Adding Wisdom Awards), motivational speaker, self-empowerment expert, poet, author of nine books (including "Do You Love Jehovah? God Almighty's Infinite Love & Wisdom to Propel You to Greatness"), contributor to nineteen, and a parental rights advocate, has had severe juvenile rheumatoid arthritis since infancy. Owing to years of hospitalization, she received no education until age eleven. Back then, she knew only her ABCs and very simple English; other than that, her book knowledge was non-existent. However, after only about 180 days of special education in elementary school, she mastered grade level in all areas and entered a regular sixth grade class in middle school. Unfortunately, Shirley lost her eyesight at the age of seventeen. After a successful eye surgery, she hopes to earn multiple science doctorates from Harvard University. Visit http://www.shirleycheng.com for more inspiration.