The Bible tells us that “God so loved the world”—you and me—”that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). God loved you so much that He gave Jesus, who suffered and died for the sins of all humankind. “In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent His only Son into the world, so that we might live through Him” (1 John 4:9). Jesus is the manifestation of the love of God.

Some people ask, “Why can’t you just leave Jesus out of it? Why do you have to use that name? Why can’t you just say God and speak of God only? Then we could accept it much easier, if you wouldn’t insist on using the name of Jesus.”

If Jesus really is God’s Son, and God has chosen Jesus to reveal Himself to the world and to show His love, then God Himself has insisted on it. Jesus Himself said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me” (John 14:6).

None of us can really grasp how great and marvelous and wonderful God our Father is, so far beyond the mind of man, for He and His Spirit surpass the whole universe. But He has stooped to send us His Son, Jesus Christ, to show us what He Himself is like. This, then, is the most important will of God for every person: to recognize Jesus as the Son of God and believe in Him as Lord and Savior and receive His love, manifested in His death on the cross when He took the punishment demanded by God’s perfect laws for our sins, so that we could be forgiven and saved.

Why do we need to be forgiven? Because we are all sinners. The Bible says that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23), and “the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ, His Son” (Romans 6:23).

Salvation by grace

We must first confess that we know we’re sinners. But we could be tempted to say, “I’m pretty good. God will surely give me credit for being pretty good, at least a lot better than many others.” That’s not enough, because you can’t go to heaven unless you’re perfect, and nobody is perfect.

It is impossible for us to be perfect or to keep God’s perfect laws in the Bible and the Ten Commandments. Only Jesus is perfect, and that’s why He could pay the price of our sins through His death, and God could forgive us, because Jesus took our punishment for us. We could never earn it. We have all sinned, we all need God’s love and mercy to be saved, and we find that love and mercy in Jesus Christ.

We cannot save ourselves by our own works, our own goodness, our own attempts to keep God’s laws and to love Him, or our own endeavors to find and follow His truth. Salvation is a gift of God performed by a transformation of our lives when we accept His truth in the love of His Son Jesus by the work of His Holy Spirit.

No amount of church attendance or prayers or anything else is going to save us; only Jesus saves. “Nor is there salvation in any other: for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12 NKJV).

Only Jesus can free us from sin and its power and its condemnation. “For if we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). No matter what you’ve done!

Spiritual rebirth

Jesus said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God” (John 3:3). When you receive Jesus as your Savior, you are spiritually born again and become a “new creation” in Christ Jesus. “The old has passed away and the new has come” (2 Corinthians 5:17).

Once you have received Jesus, He will never cast you out (John 6:37). “I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand” (John 10:28). Salvation is forever. Once you are “born again” as His child, you will always be His child. You can’t be unborn. You can’t lose your salvation. “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life” (John 3:36).

Of course, we have to work to pattern our lives according to God’s will and His Word, and follow the example Jesus set for us of loving God and loving others. But you can’t keep yourself saved. Jesus did that once and forever, and His gift is eternal life! Grace plus faith plus nothing. That’s salvation!

New life, new you

When you receive Jesus, your whole life will be changed, and there will be a transformation. You may actually feel different and think differently and experience greater peace and joy than ever before. The “old you” has passed away and there is a whole “new you,” much better and happier than ever before.

Jesus’ entrance into your life not only renews and purifies and regenerates your spirit, but it also renews your mind, breaking old connections and reflexes, and gradually rebuilding and rewiring you into a person with an utterly different outlook on life.

Jesus promised that if you believe in Him and receive Him, He will come in. “Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved” (Acts 16:31). May you experience His love and salvation—now and forever!