How Does Jesus Save?

In my humble opinion, one of the most important and yet neglected verses in all of Scripture is John 17:3.  In this verse, Jesus actually defines what eternal life is.  He says that eternal life is to know the One True God and Jesus Christ whom He has sent.  There are two key things Jesus says here that I think we usually miss when we think about eternal life, about heaven.

First, He says that the essence of eternal life is a relationship with Him.  Eternal life is all about knowing the One, True God.  It’s all about knowing His perfect love.  There isn’t anything else in addition to this.  There isn’t anything that needs to be added—this is infinitely more than enough.  It’s not like there is something else waiting for us in heaven, some other kind of reward. 

When I was a kid, I loved baseball.  So when people talked about heaven and eternity, the image that came to my mind—even though the movie hadn’t come out yet—was something like the Field of Dreams.  In my mind, getting to play baseball all day long—all eternity long—was paradise.  What could be better than this?  Well, according to Jesus, there is something better.  Knowing His transcendent love in all its perfection is infinitely better!

Second, since eternal life is all about knowing Him, Jesus is saying that it is something we can begin to experience NOW.  To be sure, He isn’t saying we can experience it in all its perfection, the infinite magnitude we will know in eternity.  But, through a relationship with Him, we do get a tiny, finite glimpse into it.  We do get a foretaste of heaven.

Last week, I talked about how Jesus is the One Invincible Savior history has known.  Of course, the question that immediately comes to mind when talking about Him as savior is: How does Jesus save us?  That’s a huge question.  The answer the Church gives is that Jesus saves us from sin and death; in other words, from eternal separation from God, from condemnation to Hell.  I’ve tried to tackle elements of how this works in previous blogs and will certainly address other elements of it in future blogs.  And I believe with all my heart that this is true, that this is how I needed to be saved and, indeed, was saved. 

However, in this blog, I want to quickly share how I experienced His salvation, how I came to experience the eternal life Jesus promises in my own life.  I came to faith purely through an intellectual quest.  I needed to see to believe.  But once I saw the evidence that the God of Jesus Christ was the One, True God, THE Truth, Ultimate Reality itself, the thing that blew me away most about Christianity was that the God of the Universe, the Lord of all eternity, actually pays attention to us.  That He actually loves us.  That He loves us unconditionally.  That He loves me unconditionally.

This changed everything.  It utterly transformed my life.  I haven’t been the same since. 

But, I wasn’t riddled with shame and guilt.  I knew I made mistakes.  I knew I was a broken human being.  I knew I was a “sinner”.  But, I wasn’t feeling crushed or even burdened by the weight of my sin.  So, I didn’t feel some kind of major weight being lifted off my soul.

And I wasn’t plagued by feelings of emptiness or loneliness.  I had plenty of friends.  I didn’t feel like my life was missing anything.  However, when I came to believe in Him and experienced His unconditional love, I realized that all my life I had been experiencing what some philosophers have termed “cosmic loneliness”.  I realized that, deep down, I had been longing for His transcendent love all along.  I had been longing most for a perfect love, an infinite love, that only He could give. 

This is how I came to know eternal life.  This is how He saved me.  Or at least the main way I experienced it.  No matter what I do, no matter where I go, no matter what happens, I know He loves me unconditionally and that I am never alone.  I know that nothing, especially not death, can separate me from His love.  And nothing, absolutely nothing, is better than this!

So, how has He saved you?  Or do you think this whole idea of salvation is nonsense; that there’s nothing you need saving from?  I’d love to hear your stories, experiences, or thoughts!  You can go to the “Contact E.J.” page of the Raising Jesus website and leave your comments there.  I pray that you will experience the eternal life Jesus promises, now and forevermore.

About Me

E.J. Sweeney is a true skeptic. He needs to see to believe. Hard Evidence. Compelling Proof. Solid Logic. This is what he believes in. In college, he encountered questions that the superficial faith he was raised on couldn’t handle. So he began a quest for Truth, a quest for the answers to life’s ultimate questions.

EJ Sweeney

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