I don’t like being told I need to be saved.
There. I said it.
For the non-Christian it may not seem like a big deal to make such statement. But for Christians it’s sacrilege to think we don’t need to be saved. Isn’t it the main purpose for why Jesus walked the earth and died on the cross? That’s what the famous John 3:16 Bible verse is all about.
It’s not so much that I don’t acknowledge I need or want Jesus to save me. It’s more that when I think of a Christian telling me I need to be saved I can’t help but think of the bad rap Christians have in the world. I think of a bullhorn yelling “Repent, be saved, or be damned” placard carrying right wing evangelical zealot. It’s not a pretty picture.
I get it that non-Christians a) don’t want to be told by hypocritical Christians that they need to be saved, and/or b) that their lives are just fine and don’t need to be saved, by Jesus or anyone else.
Personally, my life is pretty good. I’m a nice guy. I do good in this world. I try to help others. I can’t be so bad that I’d be going to hell, right? So, why would I need to be saved?
It’s a complicated issue. Salvation. I’ve spent a lot of years trying to understand salvation theology.
It’s easier to wrestle with when we think of it on a larger scale. Let’s think of humanity. Does it need saving? Absolutely. I doubt that many would argue against that point.
That’s what Jesus’ salvation is about. We’ve chosen to walk away from our creator, in a way, to be our own gods. We’ve chosen to live for ourselves rather than for our creator, for each other. We’ve made a mess of it all. Jesus came to bridge the gap between where we are and where we can be.
If we all chose to love one another and the world we were left to steward we wouldn’t need saving. Unfortunately, it’s clear by the state of things that we need saving. The way to save the world is to start on an individual basis. It begins with each person freely choosing to step towards a better way, Jesus’ way, then the larger collective begins to be rescued. Think of it as a large restoration project. That’s what this Jesus Saves stuff is about. Jesus’ better way includes still loving and respecting those who don’t choose his way. Everyone gets loved.
We tend to focus on the eternal part of being saved, of spending eternity with God in some glorious type of heaven. The reality is that God’s plan starts here on earth, with our saying yes to his better plan for this world. We get to start now. We can see results in this world, not just the next.
It’s too bad that for almost two thousand years we Christians have done such a bad job at executing God’s plan that we haven’t really moved forward. I’m not arguing that some of Jesus’s followers haven’t done amazing things over the ages, and still do today, I’m merely pointing out that the overall effect of how we live has not been positive. We’ve done too many horrible things in the name of God, and are still doing too many today. Our reputation speaks for itself. I don’t need to elaborate—we all get it.
That doesn’t mean for one moment that I give up, that we should give up. I want to be part of a movement of Jesus followers that presses forward regardless of the enormity of the challenge.
Do I believe in this Jesus Saves stuff? Absolutely. I believe we can do better. Join me.
You can read more from this One Skeptic’s Thoughts about God series by clicking here.