A savior would be pointless if there was nothing we needed to be saved from. When we tell people that Jesus died to save them, it seems irrelevant until we’ve conveyed the reality of the danger they’d be saved from. And, as we’ve covered in previous posts in this series, that means understanding and believing that we’ve all sinned against God, that a penalty is owed for that sin, and that we are all incapable of paying the penalty and instead are destined for punishment in a literal, eternal Hell.
Once that bad news is understood, the door is wide open for the good news. Because we could not pay the penalty, Jesus died for us.
Jesus was sinless (Hebrews 4:15), but when He went to the cross He carried our sins Himself, and was punished for them (Isaiah 53:5; II Corinthians 5:21).
As He died on the cross, in our place, He shed His blood, which is important because the Bible tells us that “according to the law almost all things are purified with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no remission” (Hebrews 9:22, NKJV). And Jesus said that His blood was shed for the remission—forgiveness—of sin (Matthew 26:28).
As Stanford points out in his Handbook of Personal Evangelism, “Christ made a complete payment for all sin and offers His righteousness.”
Essentially, He earned us God’s forgiveness, when we all needed it and not one of us could obtain it. He died in our place, paid our penalty, and offers us forgiveness as a free gift if (and only if) we will trust in Him alone and completely to make us right with God.
As an appendix to this series, below is a great 10 minute explanation of the Gospel that has been published in video form by Way of Life Literature.
The Gospel of Jesus Christ from Way of Life on Vimeo.