Saved from what?
The answer is, Death. It is an accepted fact that everyone eventually dies. Some, perhaps, die sooner than others.
Yet, most people have a lingering hope that death is not the end of life altogether. Some believe that this ‘after-life’ is freely available for all regardless of any conditions; some say it is freely available to all through the name of Jesus Christ; some say it is available only through Jesus Christ and is restricted according to certain pre-defined conditions; while others say that it can be achieved through some non-Christian belief such as Buddhism. Still others say that death is death, and that it is the extinction of life on a permanent basis.
For them, there is no saving, or salvation, from death. Various theories and propositions exist in this respect, and people actively support their respective beliefs. So one might conclude that one theory is as good as another. So why not live the best life you can, and then hope for salvation when you die. After all, if you’ve done your best, the “Great God up above” will surely take your effort into account and reward you suitably.
The subject, however, is a vital one, and we would be most unwise if we neglected to give the matter at least some serious examination. To do this, let us consider the evidence presented in the Bible, for although the Bible is considered by many to be relegated to the archives of fable and mythology, and left on the shelf to gather dust, yet to others it is a book that is unique, in that its claim to be the Word of God is recognised. So let us consider, first of all, exactly what it is that we wish to be saved from, and when we have done this, we will be in the position to see what can be done to save us from the position that we have inherited. I say inherited because that is how the Bible describes our current position in relation to death. But let us go back to the beginning of time:
“In the beginning, God created the heaven and the earth.” Gen 1:1
The first chapter of the Bible tells us of this beginning, and informs us that God created the universe, and also created the various life-forms on it.
“And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold it was very good.” Gen 1:31
And that included everything: all planets and stars, all plants, all land animals, all birds, all marine life, and human life — all was classed as very good.
The second chapter of Genesis revisits the creation scene, but with more detail on the creation of the first human couple. The third chapter tells us how things began to go wrong . This was not through any mal-creation on God’s part, but on the blatant disregard of the human pair to God’s commands that he had left with the first man, Adam. Both Adam and Eve (his created wife) openly flouted the instruction of their Creator.
The reaction of their Creator was sharp and clear:
“To Adam he said, ‘Because you listened to your wife and ate from the tree about which I commanded you,
“You must not eat of it”,
‘Cursed is the ground because of you;
through painful toil you will eat of it all the days of your life.
It will produce thorns and thistles for you,
and you will eat the plants of the field.
By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground,
since from it you were taken;
for dust you are and to dust you will return.’ ” Gen 3:17–19
A sentence of death. This should not have come as a surprise to Adam, for God had already warned him what would happen should he choose to disobey the command of God.
“And the Lord God commanded the man, ‘You are free to eat from any tree of the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die.’ ” Gen 2:16,17
This statement of God became a reality in Adam. He was sentenced to death. As a New Testament writer puts it:
“Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned — .” Romans 5:12
Another New Testament writer, James, has this to say:
“- each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.
“Don’t be deceived, my dear brothers.” James 1:14–16