Home   e-Library       中文 
e-Library Home |  Browse By Category |  Study the Bible    
Salvation According to Jesus (I): From Destruction


         For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. (Jn 3:17)

Jesus’ desire for us is to be saved. When we have no immediate need or worry in life, salvation may be a foreign concept. “What do I need to be saved from? I have everything I need.” But for those deep in the throes of human suffering, a different question arises: “Where was God’s desire to save me when I suffered the horrible pain of this tragedy in my life?”

At times, it seems God can’t win no matter what. If God loves us, we don’t need Him. “I didn’t ask for you, God. I’m happy where I am.” If God doesn’t love us enough, according to our standard, we question God, “Why didn’t you love me more?”

Today, many are blind to God’s love. People look everywhere for love—to complete and fulfill them—but are often left disappointed. Jesus Himself said that, in the last days, the “love of many will grow cold” (Mt 24:12). People can live with so much pain and guilt (at times lavishly medicated with a self-destructive lifestyle); yet, they still may not want to believe they need saving. Some, perhaps, can’t believe anyone would care enough to save them. Others might gladly accept “salvation,” but only on their own terms or by using their own efforts. Sometimes, however, we have to hit “rock bottom” in life to realize we do need someone to save us.

It’s hard to save a person that doesn’t want to be saved. Most people today believe in the path they are on. If they didn’t, they wouldn’t be on it. It’s hard to convince people of the need to change direction. Like a drug addict, who can’t see the need to change course but is desperately in need of intervention, many today are chained to the status quo. Change requires faith—trust in what we can’t always confirm with our eyes. So change is difficult, if not impossible, until we open our heart.


When our heart is open to change and we realize our need for salvation, we may wonder what exactly we’re being saved from. Jesus gave us an answer in John 3:16:

         “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son [Jesus], that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”

Jesus desires to save us from perishing and to bring us into everlasting life. We may have heard people say, “No one lives forever” and “You only live once.” Both statements are true. But let’s look at the subtleties involved. The basic message is: “Life is short, live it up and enjoy yourself.” If the world had a religion crossing language, ethnicity, and culture, this could be the primary creed: “Eat, drink, and be merry because tomorrow we die” (1 Cor 15:32).

When self-enjoyment and selfish ambition become our primary creed, ethics really just become roadblocks and obstacles. Morality and moral standards become quaint notions of an age gone by. Some people will do whatever it takes to get ahead, and don’t care who they have to step on in the process. This is what it means to gain the whole world but lose our soul (Mt 16:26).

Now think: If everyone wants to gain the whole world, but they have already lost their soul, then what is really left to gain? Jesus said only a fool would exchange his soul for material gain and the promise of comfort (Lk 12:15-21).

So the question, “What are we being saved from?” finds at least one answer: we’re being saved from ourselves. The most dangerous animal in this world is not a lion, a great white, or some ferocious, now extinct, dinosaur. Humans trump them all in their ability to lie, steal, kill, and destroy. Some people build their life, their empires, around lies.

In the U.S. alone, estimates show well over 50 million babies have been aborted. It has become a sacred right to destroy life while others profit from a culture of death. Compare that statistic to the 6 million Jews executed during World War II. Today, we have enough weapons of mass destruction to destroy ourselves and the entire planet multiple times over. Humanity is concerned about climate change and carbon dioxide gases; meanwhile, large multinational corporations legally spray toxic chemicals over much of our food supply. Small children, in some nations are starving, yet others throw away enough food to feed nations. The darkness of the human heart often complicates even simple solutions to the problems we face. Do we need the statistics of those whose nations have been destroyed in war or those mercilessly tortured and killed, in the name of war, to admit that humanity does, at a very basic level, need salvation?

         “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it?” (Jer 17:9)

Despite the evil and depravity in man, Jesus came to save humanity from the seed of its own destruction. Jesus taught us that sin leads to judgment (Lk 13:1-5; Mt 10:14-15). Jesus also spoke of a real place of eternal judgment we should avoid—hell.[1]


Many people don’t like to believe there is a place of everlasting punishment. We believe in social justice. We believe in the death sentence. We want murderous criminals incarcerated for life. We may even blame God for genocide under our sense of justice. But we avoid thinking about the reality of a place of eternal justice. So we come up with theories that humanity is nothing more than mindless matter—products of random chance. We build our own codes of conduct to fit our needs. We assuage our consciences, saying, “A good God wouldn’t create a place of eternal torment and punishment.” But the reality is, we enjoy moving the standards to our own liking. We insist on our justice but we deny God the exercise of His.

What exactly is hell? Scripture says those who don’t know God “shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power…” (2 Thess 1:9). This is a powerful description. It tells us that the “hell” Jesus wants to save us from is actually a separation from God’s presence and glory. Everlasting destruction, in the spiritual sense, is the eternal shattering of our soul because we’ve been cut off from the very presence of our Creator. Sadly, it appears that those who don’t believe in God will one day get exactly what they want—they’ll have nothing to do with God.

People who don’t know God will find it hard to fathom what this separation from God might entail for them. Because as bad as our lives may be here on earth, we still enjoy a lot of good. An impoverished man still has enough taste to enjoy a simple piece of bread. A poor child still has enough sight to enjoy waking up to the warmth and light of the sun upon her eyes. A desperately ill woman can still find a sense of peace and comfort from a small act of love.

The Bible says, “God is love” (1 Jn 4:8). He is the source and essence of love. When we see love in those around us, we see God’s character in humanity. In man, we find the indelible mark of the divine image in which we were created (Col 3:10, 14). It was never obliterated from humankind, despite our fallen nature; yet, like an antique car fallen into so much filth and disrepair it has become useless, humanity must be renewed in God’s image through Christ. No living person on earth right now has been completely cut off from God’s love, presence, or glory (cf. Mt 6:44-45). But hell is a different story.

Only a fool, who enjoys light everyday, would say, “Light? Who needs light?” He says this because he’s never experienced a day in his life completely devoid of light. We may not realize it, but the presence and glory of our Creator is just as essential to our life as the light of the sun is essential to our life on earth.

          “Then the king said to the servants, ‘Bind him hand and foot, take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’” (Mt 22:13)


Today, we don’t need to live apart from God’s love and grace. A person who has been offered a bright lamp no longer has to live life in the dark.

Throughout His time on earth, Jesus often stretched out His hand to heal those who were hurting. Jesus comforted those who were lonely; He gave sight to the blind, strength to the weary, hope to those without hope. He offered forgiveness to those who did not deserve it but needed it. Ultimately, Jesus sacrificially gave His life, His blood, to pay the penalty of our transgressions (Jn 1:29).

Poor choices and decisions in our life can often have a devastating impact. Our hope for you is that you will realize the need for salvation in your life; Jesus came to save you from a course of destruction, and He wants to give you an opportunity, to step away from such a path, by putting your trust in His offer of salvation.

There are many other important teachings of Christ concerning salvation. If you’d like to receive more information concerning your path to salvation in Christ, please get in touch with a True Jesus Church near you. Amen.


[1] Mt 5:22, 29-30; 8:12; 22:13; 23:33; 25:41, 46