God planned, before the world was created, to make it possible for men to be saved. There are a lot of reasons why he wants us to be rescued from the devil’s efforts to destroy us through our own bad choices. One of those reasons is the terrible result of disobedience.
• Because of sin, we lose our special relationship with God as the highest of his creation — the only one he intended to live with him eternally.
• Because of sin, men are forced to live in a “fallen world,” where evil not only exists but makes our existence here what many describe as hell on earth. It’s not hell, but it’s a long way from heaven!
• Because of sin, those who are not rescued from the clutches of the devil will exist forever with him — as well as his demonic angels — in an incomprehensible place called hell.
A careful look at the Biblical history of God’s dealing with men demonstrates that God’s way of salvation has always been the same. The specific details of his plan of salvation differ, depending on the time and situation. But the basis, the foundation, has always been the same.
• After rejecting Cain’s sacrifice, God told him how he could be saved: “Why are you angry, and why has your face fallen? If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door” (Genesis 4:6–7).
• Before God destroyed the earth by flood, he allowed Noah to preach to his neighbors to try to bring them to righteous living and salvation (2 Peter 2:5–6).
• God promised the patriarch Abram that through his “seed” (Christ), all people on earth would be blessed (Genesis 13:3).
• God’s consistent message to Israel and Judah throughout his dealings with them in the Old Testament was one of blessing versus cursing. If they obeyed God’s will, he promised to bless them. If they refused to abide by his laws, he warned they would be punished.
• When the Jews realized their murder of the son of God, they asked the apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” (Acts 2:37). They were then told they could be saved by turning from their rejection of God’s redeemer (repent) and be immersed in water. Then — and only then — their sins would be forgiven and they would receive the Holy Spirit.
Every story of conversion in the book of Acts, every inspired discussion of the way of salvation, reveals that men are saved in exactly the same way — “by grace . . . through faith” (Ephesians 2:8–9). Without God’s loving grace, nothing else matters. Without man’s obedient, faithful response to grace, men cannot know the salvation that God desires so much. God wants us to be saved so we can escape the eternal consequences of sin.
As we wait for the Lord’s return to go with him to our eternal home (1 Thessalonians 4:15-17; John 14:2–3), we can live here in faithful service to him, since “we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do” (Ephesians 2:10).
Are you saved? How do you know? Do you have God’s testimony through the Spirit that the blood of Jesus has been applied to you and has washed away your sins (Romans 8:16; 1 John 1:7)? You shouldn’t take anyone’s word for your salvation from sin other than God’s. Then you can be sure of your salvation and rejoice with God’s holy angels (Luke 15:7).