With the beginning of Lent on Ash Wednesday, the church around the world entered into season where we walk with the Lord Jesus Christ to His death on the cross. To Christians, Christ’s death and subsequent resurrection from the dead 3 days later form the core of our belief and our hope of eternal life. It is through His sufferings and substitutionary death that He fully paid the price for our sins and deliberate rebellion against God, the Father and His just commandments. The proof of this is His bodily resurrection from the dead.
In the book of Acts the apostle Peter proclaims. “And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” (4:12) The New Testament clearly teaches as an absolute and universal truth that salvation is available through the Lord Jesus Christ and Him alone.
One of the Greek words for salvation is sōzō. It is a fun little word that packs a whole lot of truth. In part sōzō means to save, keep from harm, heal, make whole, deliver, preserve, rescue, and to bring safely through. Who would have thought such a small word could hold so much meaning?
Many Christians fail to realize both the price that was paid and what actually is a part of the salvation Christ purchased. Jesus was tortured both prior to being crucified and while He hung on the cross. The Persians invented crucifixion but it was the Romans that perfected it. To die on a cross meant hours of purposed agony and intense pain. We have sanitized it to make it palatable to our modern sensibilities. Ultimately, Jesus’ heart ruptured and He died. He finished the work He had come to do.
Every person’s greatest need, whether they realize it or not, is for the forgiveness of sins so that they may inherit eternal life. We cannot work our way into heaven and we do not deserve it. Jesus Christ paid our sin debt so that “whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16)
Christ’s saving work could have stopped there but God had so much more for us. Through Jesus, we can experience physical healing; deliverance from addictions to things like alcohol, drugs and pornography; mental wholeness and restoration.
Our past can be redeemed. We no longer have to be held hostage by circumstances and people who have hurt us so badly. We can be truly free because of Christ’s finished work!
The Psalmist declares, “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. “ (Psalm 23:4) Every day I can trust the He is with me, encouraging and protecting me, and bringing me safely through the trials and tests of life.
There is an old chorus that reads in part, “He is all I need, He is all I need, Jesus is all I need.” This Lent, may we all remember that truth as we walk with Him through His sufferings and trials. And as we celebrate with Him the joy of His resurrection.