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January 23, 2018, 11:21 AM

Why do I need a Savior?



Over the next few weeks I will be answering three very important questions in this blog. What makes these questions important is because they deal with one of the most important doctrines, salvation.  I will let scripture answer the why of salvation, the who of salvation, and the how of salvation.

We begin with question number 1: Why do I need a Savior? Ephesians 2:1-5 answers that question for us, but before we read I want to put chapter 2 in context by sharing the highlights of Ephesian 1. Ephesians 1 reveals that God desires a relationship with us; He wants us to be in his family. The awesome part about being in this family is that God has provided a way for us to be adopted into His family through Jesus Christ. It is through Jesus Christ one can be redeemed from sin and given eternal life. Paul also reveals that the Holy Spirit enters into our lives as a sign of our adoption into the family of God. That is part of our spiritual inheritance spoken of in Ephesians 1:11. That leads us to Ephesians 2:1-5. As you read the passage, keep in mind that he is talking to Christians, which is why Paul is speaking in the past tense. He’s reminding them of why they needed a Savior and in return, it answers our question of “Why do I need a Savior?”

In the first three verses, Paul gives us a clear picture of what a life is like without Jesus Christ and in return it helps us to see why we need a Savior. The first reason we need a Savior is:

1. Without Jesus Christ we are dead. V. 1

If you were to ask a believer why they need a savior, many would answer with: “I have sinned, so I need a Savior who can forgive my sins and take away the punishment I deserve.” While that statement is true, according to Ephesians 2:1 it just doesn’t go far enough. V. 1 “And you were dead in the trespasses and sins…” In the Bible there are two words used for death. One speaks of a “physical death” where the spirit separates from the body but, that’s not the word used here. The other speaks of a “spiritual death,” where a person is separated from God and that is the word used in Ephesians 2:1. He is reminding us that the reason we need a Savior is because we are spiritually dead, causing us to be separated from God.

Why are we born separated from God? Paul uses two words that give the reason why we are born spiritually dead and separated from God. 1. Trespasses = False step.  It means to take a false step, go off a path, slip, or fall. As used here it is a picture of us wandering from the right path, whether that occurs as a result of inattention or a deliberate act. 2. Sins = Missing the mark. This word comes from an archery term which means missing the mark. As used here it is a picture of us failing to hit the target of God’s standard for our lives.

Since we’re spiritually dead, and there is not a thing we can do about it on our own, we’re decaying spiritually. Spiritually speaking we are rotting away because of our trespasses and sins and we are completely helpless to do anything about our condition. Now, this is not a pretty picture. But, there is more:

2. Without Jesus Christ we are slaves. V. 2-3b

The second characteristic of our life apart from God is that we really don’t have any control over our lives. Our lives are controlled by three powerful forces that we can’t break free from on our own: A. World. V. 2a “…you once walked, following the course of this world.” Paul is describing here a life that regularly conforms to the ways of this world. He is describing a person whose behavior is determined by the influences of the world. He is describing someone who has become a slave to the things of the world. Without Jesus Christ in our lives, we are in slavery to a worldview that totally and completely goes against God’s plan for our lives. This, in return, leaves us with a problem.  What is that problem?  Without Jesus Christ we are incapable of freeing ourselves from the ways of the world. Now, if that was the only force that controlled our lives, that would be bad enough, but there are two additional powers that also control those lives without Christ.

B. Satan. V. 2b “…following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience…” First off, we need to understand what Paul means by the “power of the air”. Paul was obviously familiar with the Jewish concept of the heavens of his day (2 Corinthians 12:2). According to the Jewish concept of the heavens, there were three levels: • The air – the atmosphere in which human life takes place here on the earth. • The universe beyond the earth where the other stars and planets are located. • The third heaven, which is beyond our human vision, is the place where God resides (2 Corinthians 12:2). So, the “power of the air” is just another word for the earth where mankind makes his home and according to this verse, there is a ruler/prince, who has some power over this “first heaven”. Now, there is no doubt that Paul is writing about Satan.

Now, fortunately for those of us who are believers, Jesus already defeated Satan on the cross. But Even though he is already defeated, Satan does not just leave us alone, he just changes his tactics and he continues to make his influence felt. But, before a believer had Jesus in their lives, they were completely powerless to battle that influence. In fact, the literal interpretation of this passage is that the prince of the power of the air is the spirit who is at work in the “sons of disobedience”.

Now, the “sons of disobedience” is speaking of those who are without Christ, but who are they sons too? They are sons to the “prince of the power of the air.” This is a reminder that there are only two families in this world. There’s God’s family and there’s Satan’s family. What we need to understand, whether we like or not, we are all born into the wrong family. We are born into Satan’s family and we are a slave to Satan as long as we are a slave to sin. But, when you become a Christian, you change families. Satan disowns us and God adopts us (Ephesians 1:5). But, until that happens you are still in the wrong family.

Here is what we need to keep in mind. As a son of disobedience there is nothing you can do, in your own strength or good works, to get out from under the influence of Satan. To get out of Satan’s family, it can only be done through Jesus Christ. So a lost person is controlled by the world, by Satan, but there is also a third force that controls a lost person’s life.

C. Sinful nature. V. 3 “Among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind…” The word which the ESV translates “flesh” is literally the word “sinful nature”. This reveals that Paul is not referring to our physical bodies, but rather to the sin nature that we are born with when we enter this world. Every person who comes into this world enters it with this sin nature. No one must teach us how to sin because every person is born with this sin nature, thanks to Adam and Eve. So, just like the world and Satan, this sin nature, or flesh, controls our lives until Christ enters into our lives. Without God’s help, there is no way that we can ever live lives that are pleasing to God, because our very nature prevents us from doing so. So, apart from God, a lost person is dead, a lost person is a slave, and also…

3. Without Jesus Christ we are bound for hell. V. 3c

The end of v. 3 captures this when it says, “and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.” What Paul is saying is that for the lost person, who is spiritually dead and has allowed themselves to be enslaved by the world, Satan, and their sinful nature, the result for them is for God’s wrath to be poured out upon them. What that means is that a person lost in their sins is deserving of the divine judgment of God, which is eternal separation from God in Hell. For those who do not respond to the grace and mercy of God, there is a future judgment to be faced and at that time, a person lost in their sins will experience the wrath of God and will be separated from Him for eternity in a place of eternal suffering called Hell.

So, where does all this leave us? Well, let’s recap. Because of sin we are:

Spiritually Dead—The spiritually dead have within them no ability to respond to God. Unless someone raises them to life, they can never know the God who made them.

Enslaved—Because of sin we are slaves to this world, to Satan, and to our own sinful nature.

Separated from God—Sin has created a massive gap between God and us. We were made to know God, but our sin keeps us separated from God.

Helpless—This is the natural result. A person who is dead, enslaved, and separated from God is helpless with no hope within himself. Any help must come from somewhere else and that is where the good news comes into play. In fact, it is great news!

4. With Jesus Christ there is Hope! V. 4-5

Even though the first few verses are discouraging, God immediately turns our attention to v. 4-5 and we quickly see that this is also one of the most exciting messages because it helps us realize that there is hope. This is made clear in v. 4-5 as it states, “But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved.” There is hope because it shows us what God, through grace and mercy, wants to do in our lives. He wants to reach down into our lives and deliver us from death to life. He wants to free us from being enslaved to the world, to Satan and to our own sinful nature. He wants to deliver us from the wrath that we deserve. He wants to rescue us from Hell and the awesome part of it is that God has provided a way for these things to happen through His Son Jesus Christ and He offers these things to us, not because we deserve it, but because of His grace and mercy.

Do you agree with God’s description of your desperate condition? If so, you are an excellent candidate for salvation. If you do not agree, nothing else I say will matter one way or the other. But the reality is that we must face the truth about our own condition and why we need a Savior. Until we do, we can never be saved. Please Lord, help us to see ourselves as we really are, and may it cause us to run to your cross, which is our only hope for salvation.

If you are reading this and you see your need for the Savior, Jesus Christ, please email me at travis@fbcblanchard.org so we can talk.  I promise you, the decision to repent of one’s sin, to believe in what Jesus Christ did on the cross for your sin, and to surrender your heart and life to Him will be the greatest decision you will ever make.  It is a decision that will have an eternal impact on your life.

By His Grace,

Pastor Travis