I wouldn’t need salvation if it weren’t for Adam and Eve. Jesus would not have had to die and be resurrected. No one else would have to die. War, famine, illness and so on…gone- Actually not gone because they would never have existed. You may argue that “neither would you Tom.” I’m not sure about that. Let’s stay on topic.
I have been having conversations recently about why did Jesus have to die?
Says I: “Jesus died to pay for our sins.”
Says I: “We are not capable of providing a perfect sacrifice to show God that we put him first in our lives, so a perfect sacrifice was necessary and God came down to earth as a man to be that perfect sacrifice. That’s Jesus, God and man, sacrificed for our sins.”
They: “I don’t get it.”
Says I: “Ok. You see, man started out in a perfect place, Eden, with a direct relationship with God. They messed it up by not loving and respecting God. They basically broke up with God. We’re just like them. We break up with God and we are broken. For those of us seeking to come home to God we are looking for a way.”
They: “So what’s that mean- Jesus dies and then we die and that’s the way to heaven?”
Says I: “Kinda. Back up a second. Mankind did not start off dying. We died because we broke up with God and so we stepped out of perfection, Eden. Outside of perfection is pain and death. Mankind who seek God and want to return have been trying to show God that they love him and want to come back to him, but they keep messing it up, just like Adam and Eve. Once we were given choice by God in his creation of us, we always mess things up because we always choose ourselves instead of God.”
They: “My ex-wife’s like that.”
Says I: “Yeah. Anyway. For a long time God tried to show us the way back home by teaching mankind how. He taught the ideas of obedience, demonstrating love and worship through sacrifices, he gave rules to make it clearer for us. Mankind messed those up. God showed us then what real obedience and perfect sacrifice look like. He gave the best of what he had, his son, to us. Now we know what perfect sacrifice looks like and perfect obedience. Not only do we have the perfect example, we have the road map to salvation.”
They: “What’s salvation? I don’t think that I need any sacrifice to go to heaven or whatever comes after this. I’m a good person, so I figure I go to heaven.”
Says I: “Do you want to bet eternity on that?
They: “Thanks- so that’s the thing, I choose Jesus and I go to heaven or I don’t go because I didn’t choose Jesus. Seems pretty unfair.”
Says I: “Well, the answer is that Jesus is a choice for heaven, no Jesus means no heaven. Simple reason - without complete obedience and sacrifice you don’t get to go home. You can’t get to heaven because you can’t show God true obedience and putting God first in your life by demonstrating perfect sacrifice. Jesus did it for us. He is our surrogate for perfect obedience and perfect sacrifice. We are redeemed by him. We sign up with him and all he taught including that we can’t do it without him and we go to heaven. It also means repenting because you can’t ride both roads to heaven. You have to admit you break up with God all the time, you are sorry you do it and you are asking for forgiveness. It has to be honest and you have to work hard to be better. You will never be even close to perfect, but with Jesus, you will have his obedience and sacrifice to bring you home. (John 11:25-26)
They: “That’s a lot to get your head wrapped around.”
Says I: “I know, I just wrote it all and I am having to get my head wrapped around it again.”
They: “You’re saying I am just a convenient character serving as an amalgam of others so you can write all of this? Like the movies that say "Inspired by Actual Events."
Says I: “Guilty.”
This idea of salvation is one I have to return to often. I believe that helping people understand the need for salvation is almost harder than teaching people about Jesus. I could be completely wrong for you, but it’s real for me. The conversation I wrote is real, although it is the combination of many conversations about Jesus and salvation. I’m just learning how to talk about these things with other people.
Adam and Eve messed everything up. I can’t sue them, partly because I can’t bring them to court. The other reason is that I would have messed everything up as well if I were in their shoes. I mess everything up and I am in MY SHOES. What should I do, sue myself? Sin, Jesus, sacrifice, salvation. That’s my short outline for answering the ‘why’s?”