Why do I need to be saved?

As I was talking with a friend in a brewery one day, he asked me, "Christians talk about being 'saved' and that confuses me. I mean, saved from what?" Considering all the recent statistics on how many people don't even have one Christian friend, this doesn't surprise me at all. Some people know more about Christianity from watching the news or educational TV than they know from actually reading the Bible or talking with a Christian in person.

Among Christians, people often speak of being "saved". I think that being "saved" is one of terms that Christians also just assume everybody understands. Well, it's not. That carries a big question mark when it’s said around people and it isn’t as universally understood as it was when North America was much more populated by Christians. 

The hope that I have is that people would actually discover what it means to be “saved” from the people who are the specialists…ie. Christians. The way that Christians, especially Lutheran Christians, try to view things is through the teachings of the Bible. This means taking into account all the writings contained in the authoritative writings of our faith. That being said, if you don't believe what the Bible says to be true, perhaps that's yet another question to address...just not here and now. 

So, the Bible teaches in many places that mankind is sinful by nature, or has "original sin". That means that no matter what you do, no matter where or to whom you were born to...we are all sinners. In fact, In Psalm 51, it says, "Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me." So, we are sinful from conception. 

Why do I need to be saved?

For starters, we have to look at what sin is and what it does to us. The short answer to the question would be, “because all humans are captive to sin.” However, it is more complex an issue than that. 

By being sinners, we are by nature, “Enemies" of God (Rom. 5:10, 7:22-23, Col. 1:21). We are bound to sin like a conscripted soldier in an army without choice, like a servant is bound to a ruthless and narcissistic master. The even bigger problem is that this is what we are in our rawest form, it is our corrupted root, much like genetic code that writes many of our traits…so, we don’t even know or understand the nature of our “enslavement”. 

In this state, we may long for a better way, a better life, or more control. We may experience an unsettled feeling about how we think life should be but never will. The reality is that these thoughts, feelings, intuitions are merely a byproduct of our captivity…they are despair. “Despair” is the opposite of hope. We need to be saved because of our inability to save ourselves through anything we can do. 

The despair is overcome by the one who comes to turn our very existence into a freed existence. Freedom to have hope, freedom to have joy, peace, love, contentment, and confidence. While the prison holds us in the despair, the Savior frees us to see beyond our own small, dark, cold prison…to see the even greater reality that was written into humanity before it was corrupted. 

Instead of talking about Christians, perhaps we should be considering “Jesus followers”. After all, it’s not Christianity that saves, it’s the Christ, it’s Jesus.
 

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