Why should I get Saved?
Ultimately I must deal with this question by appealing to your sense of reason. While I could recount the experiences I had in the Supernatural that, even apart from the Bible, proved beyond doubt to me, personally, of the reality of an afterlife, you have no way to know how real those experiences were or were not, or whether Im being truthful or making up stories. So let me suggest that you merely stop and consider whether the ideas expressed in the Bible of Heaven, Hell and an afterlife are true. If they arent, it makes no difference, does it? But if they are true, then only an idiot would choose the consequences of spending eternity in whatever place is so bad that Jesus Christ was willing to go to the Cross to provide Mankind a way to avoid it.
So, youll first have to decide whether or not you do believe there is an existence after death. Most people do believe that, and probably you do as well. If you didnt--if you really believed there were absolutely no consequences that follow your earthly actions--what would stop you from living a totally hedonistic life, giving in to every thought or whim with no concern other than getting caught and punished by Society? Soviet dictator Josef Stalin is a good example of a Godless man who had the power to live free of any restraint and thus leave an imprint of his existence in literally the entire world. How much better would Russia--and the entire world--have been if Stalin had acted with the understanding that there would be a consequence for his actions after his death?
But Im a good person, you might say. I dont hurt anyone. Why would I need to get Saved?
Well, its great that youre a good person--but by what standard of measurement are you rating yourself? God, who is a perfect being, sets the standards of what Good and Evil really are. In Gods eyes the only standard of Good is an unlimited love, compassion and willingness to sacrifice oneself for others, even those who dont deserve it. Evil, one might say, is anything short of that unlimited love, compassion and sacrifice. And any thought or action done out of a selfish motive that results in even the slightest harm to another causes the one who commits it to fall short of Gods standard of what Good actually is.
Have you ever known a perfectionist? Many artists who are perfectionists. Great sculptors and painters, for example, have been known to destroy nearly complete works because of one slight mistake. God is somewhat similar--He cannot be satisfied with less than absolute perfection.
Well, nobodys perfect!
Thats true. But the problem is, God--Himself being perfect--cannot coexist with imperfection of any sort. Thus, when the Devil rebelled against Gods rulership of Heaven, he was cast out of Heaven and the presence of God, and temporarily fell to Earth, where he succeeded in corrupting humanity through the sin of Adam, causing Adams descendants to fall from a perfect state of being into a state of imperfection like himself. Mankind thus began to experience what we know as physical death. But, even worse than that, Mankind also experienced spiritual death. Its hard for us to understand it, but this spiritual death forced the same separation between God and Man as there was between the Devil and God. Where before humans could function perfectly in reflecting the unconditional love and unselfishness as God had, they now had imprinted upon their beings the influence of the Devils selfishness. After that, living naturally in a state of absolute Good and purity was impossible. If a man even wanted to maintain Gods standard of perfection he now had to do it through his own efforts and willpower. As Im sure you will agree, this was and is impossible. And since mankind was created as an immortal being, upon death the immortal essence of a person continued on in its existence. But since the Devil had caused the very spiritual essence of a person to be tainted with imperfection, ones spirit could not cross into the spiritual realm of Heaven where God dwells. Instead, an imperfect spirit could only exist outside of the direct presence of God. And, unfortunately for the Devil and much of humanity, the only place left for an immortal spirit to dwell apart from God is what we call Hell. It wasnt that God wanted to send anyone to Hell, but somehow, in a way we cannot comprehend, imperfection cannot remain in the presence of God and must be separated from Him. In His mercy, God set about to redeem mankind. But the only way would be for mankind to return to a state of flawless perfection as he had in the beginning.
First, through Moses in the Old Testament, God provided sets of rules and regulations which, if followed, would theoretically earn a place in Heaven for a person who observed all these ordinances without failing in them. The problem, then and now, is that we flawed humans are incapable of following the rules well enough to earn the prize they offer. God showed this from the beginning by the institution of animal sacrifice in Old Testament times to cover the sins of those who failed to perfectly keep the laws of Moses. These sacrifices were meant to symbolize the fact that Jesus Christ would have to give himself up as the ultimate sacrifice for the sins of humanity, doing away with the penalty for sin once and for all.
And do you know what? We should be glad that Gods standard is absolute perfection. Were it anything short of that, Jesus Christ wouldnt have had to come and live a perfect life in mankinds place; we'd be stuck, having to do the best we could to obtain and stay in a state of perfection acceptable to God.
However, imagine for a moment that there was some standard of righteous living that could get us into Heaven. Just how high a standard would it be, and how could we know for certain that we had never failed to reach that standard? What if the standard were to live a life as good as Mother Teresas? Could you live a life as selflessly devoted to helping others as she did?
If it was a lesser standard, how much less would it be? Could Bill Clinton make it in? If not, why not? But thankfully, since Gods standard is perfection, none of us, including Mother Teresa or Bill Clinton, are expected to reach that!
Really, when you come right down to it, there could only be two possible standards: Either a standard so high nobody gets in; or a standard so low everyone gets in. We might think a low standard good for everyone would be great, but think about it--should Hitler go to Heaven along with the Jews he murdered? Should God welcome a Christ-denying Satanist, an atheist who hates the idea of God, or a serial killer into the same Heaven as those who love and honor Him? Would you populate your Heaven with Tim McVeighs and Billy Grahams at the same time?
The Bible tells us that there will come a time when all Christians, through the power of God, will be resurrected from the dead and in an instant be imbued with a perfect sense of goodness and purity that will allow them to live forever in Gods presence. This transformation can only happen to those who consciously desire it and follow Jesus Christ, looking forward to that day. Those who reject Christ cant undergo this change into a state of perfection, thus they can never look forward to eternity in Heaven since the prerequisite for this is to accept Jesus Christ during this life.
Its because mankind cannot regain perfection on his own that Jesus Christ took human form and lived. Because of the failure of the first man, Adam, all his human descendants were born imperfect and by this were automatically consigned to eternal separation from God. But Jesus Christ came to earth in the form of a human man and lived a perfect life, meeting all of Gods criteria given through Moses for eternally dwelling in His presence after death. Having done that Jesus had the right to pass on the benefits of His perfect life to his descendants in the same way Adams curse automatically has fallen upon all of us. Jesus thus offers us the benefit of that life as a free gift if we will only accept it, in a sense adopting us and granting us all the inherited benefits of His perfect life, including eternal life in the presence of God. The 5th chapter of the book of Romans in the New Testament explains it this way:
King James Bible
New Jerusalem Bible
...Death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adams transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come.
...For if through the offense of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many.
...For if by one mans offense death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ. Therefore as by the offense of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life. For as by one mans disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.
...Nonetheless death reigned over all from Adam to Moses, even over those whose sin was not the breaking of a commandment, as Adams was. He prefigured the one who was to come....
...If death came to many through the offense of one man, how much greater an effect the grace of God has had, coming to so many, and so plentifully as a free gift through the one man, Jesus Christ!
...It was by one mans offense that death came to reign over all, but how much greater the reign in life of those who receive the fullness of grace and the gift of saving justice, through the one man, Jesus Christ! One mans offense brought condemnation on all humanity; and one mans good act has brought justification and life to all humanity.
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