Salvation Without Jesus?

By Jim Barringer

Can a person be saved without Jesus?

The short answer is: no. To give a more in-depth answer, I’d like to pose two more questions. First, what is the problem: why do we need salvation at all? Second, what is the solution: how do we achieve salvation?

The answer to the first question is simple. We need salvation because God has said that only perfect people can get into heaven, and not a one of us is perfect. Each of us has rebelled against God, mistreated other people, taken advantage of people, lied, cheated, etc. We’re not perfect. We do the best we can but it’s just not good enough. Every day we add more to the list of things we’ve done wrong. If God were to judge us for those things, he would find us guilty, because we are. And the punishment he has specified for messing up is death.

The answer to the second question is both simple and complicated. How can we possibly be saved? Well, if God has said that only perfect people will make it to heaven, then we need to become perfect. However, none of us can be perfect in our own strength. We’ve tried it in our own strength, and all we’ve done is build an impressive list of things we’ve done wrong. This is where God comes in, because God can make us perfect.

He came to earth as a man named Jesus, lived a sinless life, and then allowed himself to be put to death. Remember, death is the punishment for sin, so Jesus, who was sinless, did not deserve death. But he accepted it anyway, and in so doing, he took the punishment that we deserve. When we accept Jesus as our savior, God takes away from us all the sins that we’ve ever done, and allows Jesus’ death to pay for our sins. Not only does God take away all our sins, he gives us credit for the perfect life that Jesus lived. In God’s eyes, we are now perfect! That means we’re free to enter heaven.

If the punishment for sin is death, then there are only two possibilities. Either you pay the punishment yourself, which means eternal death in hell, or Jesus pays the punishment for you, which means you are righteous in God’s eyes and can go to heaven. There is no middle ground! There is no provision for “good people” to go to heaven. There is only sinners and those who are perfect. If anyone dies without his sins being removed from him, he is not perfect and cannot enter heaven.

This may sound mean or unfair on God’s part, but it could not be less so! The world would have you believe that you have to “be a good person” to go to heaven. What a tremendous burden! How difficult it must be to have to earn your way to heaven! God’s way is so much easier: all you have to do is admit that you’re a sinner (because you are) and that you need his forgiveness (because you do). Tell him you want him to be your savior and your God, and he will come put himself in the driver’s seat of your life. That’s all it takes! You don’t have to earn it, it’s a free gift! Why would you want it to be any other way?

If you have never had that conversation with God, I urge you to take care of it this very day. There’s no need to live another minute with your own mistakes and failures hanging over your head. If you don’t know how, I will be happy to tell you. But please, for God’s sake and yours, get it squared away now!

Jim Barringer is a 26-year-old writer, musician, and teacher serving at The Church of Life (.com) in Orlando, FL. More of his work can be found at facebook.com/jmbarringer and ExtantMagazine.com. This work may be reprinted for any purpose so long as this bio and statement of copyright is included.

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