Is salvation really all that important?

The Christian message is full of the word “salvation,” but why do we need saving in the first place? Saving from what, pray tell?

Well, that’s what the gospel is supposed to explain. And hopefully it rings true, because there are things the gospel talks about that in reality we already know. We know, for instance, that something is terribly wrong with us that we seem to have no power over. Look at the world with all its problems that we can never permanently solve. We’d love to solve them, but we can’t. We can’t end poverty, war, disease, child abuse or power crazy tyrants. It’s so frustrating, to the point that Paul cried out, “Wretched man that I am, who will deliver me from this body of death?” And isn’t that our thought too after watching the News on TV: “What a wretched world this is; how can we ever sort it out?”

The gospel actually confirms, then, what we already know, that we are a mess, and a powerless mess at that, because evil persists no matter what we throw at it. But the gospel also confirms something else we already know, that there is a lot of GOOD in us as well. We dream of a better world, and we work hard to make it better. We love peace. We love family. We love helping out in the community. We love seeing children safe and successful. We jump in to help in emergencies and disasters, and we sacrifice our time, money, and even our lives for the sake of others. And the gospel brings all this out too, that God made us good, and there’s still a great deal of good in us longing to make life on this planet better.

And we recognize this in ourselves, that we are an exasperating mixture of good and bad, and if only we could get the bad part out of us, we could make this planet a great place to live for everyone.

Well, that’s exactly what the gospel means by “salvation,” that God dealt with the bad part in us. In Romans 8:3 (The Message), “God went for the jugular when he sent his own Son. He didn’t deal with the problem as something remote and unimportant. In his Son, Jesus, he personally took on the human condition in order to set it right once and for all.”

God dealt with the bad in us through his Son, and now through the Spirit he makes possible the good he put in us too. Both parts make up the word “salvation.” And that makes salvation important, because imagine our world with both parts complete.


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