What is salvation? Why would anyone need to be ‘saved’? And what are we saved from?
The simple explanation is that we need to be ‘saved’ from a life without God and the consequences of life without God, that is, death.
But there is another aspect to being saved: being saved for something.
Imagine you had a family heirloom, such as a wristwatch that was very valuable to you. You wouldn’t bring the watch out on a day-to-day basis to wear whilst working in the garden or fixing your bike… You would save the watch for a special occasion. You would look after it and treat it as something very precious to you.
The same can be said of our relationship with God. Not only do we need to be saved from something (death); we need to be saved for something – Life!
In the Bible, Jesus says, “I have come that they (people) may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” Now, abundant life isn’t about money, possessions, power or position. It is about the peace that comes from knowing Jesus personally and having a relationship with him. It is about being set free of all of the turmoil and rubbish that life throws at us and about being made completely clean from all of the wrong things that we have done in life.
So how do we go about being ‘saved’?
Well, all bikers know the joy and freedom of a nice, straight, open road. The path to salvation is just like that. We can use the illustration of a Roman road: very straight and direct. We would like to share a few verses with you from a part of the Bible known as the book of Romans (see what we did there!) that beautifully explains God’s salvation plan. We call it the “Roman Road to Salvation”.
Romans 3:23…for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.
The first thing we need to realise is that ALL of us have done things wrong in our lives. Come on, be honest – all of us have had thoughts, said words or done things that we are not proud of. Things that we know, are wrong, no matter how we may try to justify it them. The Bible calls this sin. This is what separates us from God – because God has NO sin. He is perfect.
We might like to think that we could try to earn salvation – that by doing, a few good deeds, raising money for charity, helping old ladies across the road, we might be able to cancel out our sins and be good enough to get into heaven. However, the Bible says in Isaiah 64, that our righteous acts – the best that we have to offer, in and of ourselves – are like filthy rags before God who is perfect and holy. The good things we do cannot save us from our sin.
Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death.
Because we have sinned, we can have no fellowship with God. As we said, God is perfect – we aren’t. And if we are separated from God in life, then we are separated from him in death. This is called ‘Hell’. Hell is not a place where we will have a party and a good old ‘knees-up’. Hell is a very real and extremely awful place. This is eternal death: punishment for the sins we have committed in this life. There are no rulers in Hell, only pain and suffering. And once we are there, it is too late to change our minds. If we want to be saved, we have to make that decision in this life.
Romans 5:8: “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
Romans 6:23: “the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
So surely the whole thing is hopeless? We fall short of the mark, simple as that!
Thankfully, no! You see, God loves you and he doesn’t want you to ‘earn’ eternal death. He wants to give you eternal life! He loves you SO much that he put on human form, in the person of Jesus, and he took all of the pain and punishment that we deserve.
Imagine standing before a judge in a courtroom and being convicted of a crime, maybe speeding (not a biker, surely!) And the judge hands you a £100 fine. He bangs his gavel, case dismissed – you are guilty and you have a fine to pay. But before you leave the courtroom, the judge steps out from behind the bench. Takes off his robes (becomes just like you) and gives you the £100 to pay your fine! Unlikely, yes? But this is exactly what Jesus did for you when he died for you.
Romans 10:9-10 “…if you confess 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 confess and are saved.”
So how do we receive this gift? Well, it is as simple as receiving any other gift! We hold out our hands and say “thank you”. The passage above says that we ‘confess with our mouths’ and ‘believe in our hearts’. This simply means that once we have understood that we have sinned, accepted that there is a consequence or ‘price’ to pay for our sin, and accepted that Jesus died to pay that price, then we speak this out to God (the Bible calls this ‘prayer’) and we ask him to forgive us. We accept the sacrifice that Jesus made for us and we take our first step on the highway to true freedom…
Below is just an example of a prayer that we can say to accept Jesus and begin that walk with him.
“Heavenly Father, have mercy on me, a sinner. I believe in you and that your word is true. I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of the living God and that he died on the cross so that I may now have forgiveness for my sins and receive eternal life. I know that without your Spirit in my heart my life is meaningless. I believe in my heart that you, Lord God, raised Jesus from the dead. Please forgive me for every sin I have ever committed and every wrong thought I have had in my heart. Jesus please come into my heart and life and be my Lord and Saviour today. I need God to be my Father and my friend.
I give you my life and ask you to take full control from this moment on.
I pray this in the name of Jesus Christ.
Tell us about it!
The Knights of Antioch would love to know if you have said this prayer. Feel free to get in touch if you have any questions about being ‘saved’ or would like any help taking those first steps on a new road. We are here to serve you!