Imagine that you are in a canoe headed for a huge waterfall. The current is so strong that the oars are useless. You know that sharp jagged rocks are at the bottom of the falls in which your canoe is about plunge. Death is certain, so you breathe a final prayer to God. Just as you are about to go over the edge, you see an overhanging tree branch and a man is on the branch dangling a rope for you to grab. Hope springs in your heart. You are saved from certain death!
What does salvation mean? Salvation means being saved from certain death. It’s in the Bible, “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 6:23, NKJ). Jesus is the man offering the rope of salvation, and we are the ones doomed to die.
How did mankind get the death sentence? When Jesus created the world, it was perfect with no sin. It’s in the Bible, “Then God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good “(Genesis 1:31, NKJ). It would have stayed perfect if man had not disobeyed God. “And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, “Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die” (Genesis 2:16, NKJ). The next chapter tells the sad story of how Adam and Eve both ate the fruit. “She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate” (Genesis 3:6, NKJ).The death sentence was passed down on the whole human race because their disobedience.
Why should I die? I didn’t eat the fruit! Selfishness and greed were passed down from generation to generation. “All have sinned.” (Romans 3:23, TLB).
What is sin? “Sin is transgression (breaking) of the law” (1 John 3:4, NIV). That means sin is disobeying God’s Ten Commandments.
Why does breaking God’s law cause me to die? It’s in the Bible, “But your iniquities have separated you from your God” (Isaiah 59:2, NIV). Remember, God created man. Without God, we could not breathe. It’s in the Bible, ”The Spirit of God has made me, And the breath of the Almighty gives me life” (Job 33:4, NKJV).
Is there anybody who can help me so I won’t have to die? The good news is YES! We do have a Savior! The Bible says, "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16, NKJV). Jesus took our place and died for man’s sin.
How do I get salvation? God offers us salvation through Jesus. It’s in the Bible, “And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Him Jesus (meaning ‘Savior’), for He will save His people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21, NKJV). ”Salvation is found in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved" (Acts 4:12, NIV).
If I do enough good things, will God give me salvation? No, salvation is a gift that cannot be earned. It’s in the Bible, “Because of His kindness, you have been saved through trusting Christ. And even trusting is not of yourselves; it too is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good we have done, so none of us can take any credit for it.” (Ephesians 2:8, 9, TLB). Remember a gift is something someone else gives to you. You can’t buy it, or do anything to deserve it. By believing and trusting in Jesus because He died for your sins on the cross, you can have the gift of eternal life!
What does repenting of my sins and turning from them have to do with salvation? Receiving salvation is a powerful, personal response to the gospel including repentance for sin. It’s in the Bible, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:38, NKJV). When we receive Jesus as our Savior from sin, we will want to be like Him. We will want to please Him by confessing our sins, asking Him for forgiveness, and turning away from our sins to live a new life by His grace and power.
When I receive Jesus as my Savior, does that make me different? Yes! It’s in the Bible, “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name” (John 1:12, NKJV).
If I have received salvation, will I have eternal life? We receive eternal life as we have a personal relationship with God. “And this is the way to have eternal life – by knowing You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, the one You sent to earth!” (John 17:3, TLB).