Why Would God Save Us?

Answering people’s questions is an important task in the apologetics enterprise. But defending the Christian faith often involves first explaining what historic Christianity teaches. This is why today’s Christian apologists need to recognize that the field of apologetics was seen historically as a branch of theology. Thus, skilled apologists must demonstrate a grasp of theology, doctrine, and history.

Recently I received a question from a Christian who was struggling with an aspect of Christian theology. His question focuses on the heart of Christianity. Many of us have asked this question, so I hope his query and my response will help you also.

The question: 

Sorry for this simple question, but it really challenges my faith and I can’t find a satisfying answer anywhere. . . .From a Christian perspective: “Why would God save us just because we believe in Jesus as our Savior?” What makes a believer so special in the eyes of God that he grants them eternal life rather than eternal damnation?

My response:

I appreciated the reader’s question because it allows us to get to the heart of the gospel. We can begin by examining what the apostle Paul wrote in Titus 3:4-7:

4But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, 5he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, 6whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.

The root of the New Testament Greek word for “faith” (pisteuo: verb; pistis:noun) is “trust.” A believer in Christ places his or her “confident trust” in Jesus as Lord and Savior. The nonbeliever has no faith in Christ and thus is not trusting in Jesus as Lord and Savior. Believing in Christ means that the person has been adopted into the family of God. The nonbeliever stands outside of God’s family because of his or her unbelief. The Christian believer is not special in himself or herself but is a sinner just like nonbelievers. The “specialness” is found in God’s loving grace and mercy extended to the person through the life, death, and resurrection of Christ.

What the believer does that the nonbeliever does not is merely to “trust” in God’s promises concerning the Gospel of Jesus Christ. With faith (trust) comes forgiveness, adoption, and eternal life via God’s amazing love. Without faith (trust) comes divine judgment, separation, and eternal damnation via God’s justice. Love isn’t possible without being conjoined with the attribute of justice.

So a person is saved by grace (unmerited favor), through faith (trust), in Jesus Christ (his life, death, and resurrection), but not by works (not by their own merit). Nobody earns salvation but instead receives it by trusting God who lovingly provides salvation by his grace and mercy.

Summary

So why would God save us? God saves people who confess their sin and ask for his forgiveness and trust that Jesus Christ’s life, death, and resurrection make them right with God. Salvation comes because of God’s loving grace and mercy and is received through faith (trust) in Jesus Christ. A Christian’s good works are the fruit, not the root, of salvation (Ephesians 2:8-10).

Resources

Reflections: Your Turn 

Why is it important for the Christian to know that God loves them?

  One thought on “Why Would God Save Us?

  1. July 2, 2019 at 3:00 pm

    Why indeed, and from what? Try this…
    We are created as immortal spirit beings with free will. We find ourselves in charge of mortal bodies and acting as members of a human society. We are not pre-programmed except in terms of the will to live and the body’s desire for food, rest, and procreation.

    We enter this life not knowing our Creator’s principles and character. The task is to learn them, and at least not damage our fellow travelers. Our parents should begin the learning for us, and all parents are aware they have to train and teach infants not to be totally self-centered. Most succeed, some fail. That is the beginning of building a responsible, ethical immortal soul.

    Faith in Jesus and adherence to His teachings makes us worth saving; worthy of God’s trust in our next level of existence. We are saved from an existence in the company of those who reject Jesus’ teaching. And what of them? Scripture says the offer of salvation has an expiration date. Until then I would think that true free will might mean that unbelievers, upon death, only get set back and made to repeat the last grade.

    Salvation is only at the individual level. Saving a people or a nation is another matter – there is precedent for God’s letting them collapse after a certain level of faithlessness.

  2. ethos6
    July 7, 2019 at 8:56 pm

    Thanks for this post, Kenneth. I appreciate the topic as it is one I also wrestle with.

    I can grasp (enough to be saved, anyway), the mechanics of *how* God saves me (by grace through faith in Jesus).

    But *why* he saves me–what animates his immeasurable kindness and mercy toward me is a question emanating from another quarter altogether. The Titus verse quoted above (especially v7) is so fitting and reveals something in the heart of God that I can’t understand, but joyfully and gratefully receive through faith.

    • July 7, 2019 at 9:49 pm

      Thanks, Ethos6.

      Ken Samples

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