How often do you hear the phrase “I’m a good person, so why do I need saving?” Another one that I hear is “I’m no worse than anybody else.” There are many misconceptions that the unbelieving world has, and each one is eternally fatal. To a Christian who follows the command of Jesus to spread the Gospel, this can be frustrating, but there are answers. It takes some study, but Scripture gives us the facts we need to be a strong witness.
“But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear” (1 Peter 3:15).
You may not know every verse that supplies answers, but if you study your Bible, then you’ll be able to find the answers. Let’s take a look at a few of the things we may need to have an answer for.
“I’m a good person.” Each of us thinks ourselves to be pretty good. I, for one, have never robbed a bank or murdered anybody. Have you? Most of us haven’t, but that only means we’re “good” in the eyes of our fellow man.
There was a young man who ran to Jesus to ask Him about salvation. “And when he was gone forth into the way, there came one running, and kneeled to him, and asked him, Good Master, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life? And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? There is none good but one, that is, God” (Mark 10:17-18).
If ever anybody was good, it was Jesus. He was God incarnate, so since He said there is none good but God, He was by God’s standards good…perfect in all ways.
God is the standard of perfection, but most of us excuse or justify our own shortcomings. Jesus answered this man by asking him about the Ten Commandments.
“Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Defraud not, Honour thy father and mother” (Mark 10:19).
These commandments are ones that regard our relationship with other people. The man who ran to Jesus was proud of the fact that he had followed these commands since he was young. So, what’s the problem? He sounds like a good person. The trouble is that this man put idols ahead of God. The man loved his money more than he loved God. More than likely, he also had looked at a woman in lust, and probably got angry with other people sometimes.
“Then Jesus beholding him loved him, ad said unto him, One thing thou lackest: go thy way, and sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me” (Mark 10:21).
Did Jesus mean that this man had to do works in order to gain eternal life? You cannot be good enough, nor can you do enough good works to earn salvation. So, a good person needs salvation through faith in Christ, just like everybody else.
Another statement many people make is “I’m no worse than the next guy.” That’s true of me. I try not to lie or gossip, but there are times when I might bend the truth a bit. Oh, and I only lose my temper when I have a good reason. Everybody does. The problem is, other people aren’t the standard of perfection we look to. It’s God’s standards we need to strive to attain. Jesus gave a long sermon that made this point clear.
“For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:20).
Scribes and Pharisees were seen by many people in Jesus’ day as the standard of perfection. They certainly saw themselves as the standard of perfection. Jesus didn’t see it that way. He said that anger was the same as murder and that thinking lustful thoughts was the same as actually committing adultery. You may be as good as other people, but that’s not good enough to spend eternity with God.
“For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).
I’ve sinned, you’ve sinned, and that person whom you need to have answers for has sinned. Admit you’re a sinner and that you found grace and forgiveness in the eyes of the Lord, and the person you’re witnessing to can find that same grace and forgiveness.
“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9).
Another error the unbeliever makes is thinking that “All religions are the same.” Well, in a sense they are. Religion means works. For instance, Catholics think if they sin, they can go to a priest who tells them to do certain things to be forgiven. That’s wrong. Works will not bring salvation. Some religions believe that they have to knock on doors and convert people to their cult. How many doors do they have to knock on? Nobody knows. What about the Muslims who just might get rewarded by their demon god who wants them to shed blood in order to maybe go to that wonderful place filled with multiple virgin women for their pleasure? I’ve never been able to figure out how Muslim women are rewarded for shedding blood.
Christianity isn’t a religion. Christianity is faith in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. It’s a way of life, not a set of rules.
“Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (John 14:6).
There is only one path to follow that brings eternal life… faith in Jesus.
“When I die, I die.” There’s another falsehood that I hear. Scripture has a lot to say about the afterlife. Heaven is real, but so is eternal damnation in the burning lake of fire. We get a glimpse into the “great beyond” in the words of Jesus. Today we use the word Hell to describe the place where people who are damned await judgment. Prior to the cross it was a place of waiting with two sides… the abode of the dead. One side was Abraham’s Bosom, and the other side was Torments. Jesus told about a rich man who had everything he could ever want, but there was a beggar named Lazarus who was very ill and needy. This rich man put his riches above the needs of others, and he loved his riches more than God.
“And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried; and in hell he lift up his eyes being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom” (Luke 16:22-23).
Parables are stories that make a moral point and use un-named characters, but this narrative has a name. Many scholars believe that these were two people, and Jesus used the example of their destinations to warn others. The rich man knew he deserved to be punished, but his desire to warn his family to change their ways added to his torment. He will suffer in Torments until the day that he stands before the Great White Throne of God and his “good works” are judged. This is what awaits everyone who dies in their sin.
“And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death” (Revelation 20:14).
On the other hand, Lazarus was in Abraham’s Bosom after he died. A place of comfort and peace. His eternity is very different than the rich man’s eternity. There is life after death… eternal life with God, or eternal damnation in the lake of fire. The choice has to be made now.
The answer to all these arguments, and many more, is that there’s a very good reason you need a Savior. Forgiveness of sin. Nobody can stand in the presence of God Almighty with sin standing in the way. You can’t be good enough and you can’t be better than the next guy. The only way to have eternal life in Heaven with God is to place your faith in Jesus Christ and His finished work on the cross. You are a sinner. Admit it. Repent of your sin and let the blood of Jesus cleanse you.
“Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; to declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus” (Romans 3:24-26).
Our own self-righteousness is not good enough. You have to have faith in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. There is no other way.
The decision to accept Christ’s sacrifice to take your sins away must be made while you are on this side of death. Once that last breath is taken, there’s no second chance. There is no such thing as reincarnation. Salvation isn’t complicated.
“That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved” (Romans 10:9).
You have to believe in your heart what you confess with your mouth. Eternity is a long time to be thinking “Oops.”
If you have made that decision, and now want to share the Gospel with the unsaved, then get out there and witness. While you witness, study your Bible so that you have answers.
“Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15).
Study and apply God’s word to your life. Then you can answer the question from a friend or loved one who asks you, “Why do I need a savior”?
God bless you all,
Ron and Nathele Graham’s previous commentaries archived at https://www.raptureready.com/featured/graham/graham.html
All original scripture is “theopneustos” – God breathed.
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