The Problem With "Jesus Saved You From Your Sins

The problem with “Jesus Saved You From Your Sins”

Last week I posted a blog about why I dislike people quoting Romans 3:23 out of context.

The fact that we have all memorised this verse and not the next verse should be alarming.

It amazed me was how many people left comments trying to argue that we need to tell people about their sins and that they are going to Hell.

To me, this highlights a much deeper problem in Christianity.

It is one that permeates every area of our lives.

We think Jesus came to save us from sin.

But He didn’t.

Now hear me right – He did save us from our sins. He did away with all sin, past, present and future for all mankind once and for all.

However…

That was not His goal. It was merely a stepping stone to His ultimate purpose.

He didn’t come to save us from sin or from Hell. He came to bring us into relationship with God.

For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit, (1 Peter 3:18 ESV)

The problem we’re creating

Focusing on a gospel that stops us from sinning or gets us out of Hell has some drastically negative repercussions:

If we believe Jesus came to save us from sin we first need to convince people they are sinners before they can be saved. (as a side – what makes this harder is they are often much better people than the Christians telling them this!)

If we believe Jesus came to save us from Hell we need to first convince people they are going there.

However – when we believe Jesus came to bring us into relationship with the Father all we have to do is tell people the good news:

“God loves you and wants to have relationship with you. He’s done everything needed through His Son, Jesus Christ to make this possible. Do you want that?”

It’s not about how messed up they are – it’s about how good God is!

Does Jesus save you from your sins? Yes.

Does Jesus save you from Hell? Yes.

But those are byproducts of Him bringing you into relationship. They are not the core message of the Gospel.

When we make the cross about the peripheral things (sin & hell) we distort the message of the Gospel we preach.

Let’s focus on the main thing!

Did you know in the 19 sermons in Acts not one promises Heaven or warns of a future Hell.

That’s pretty crazy! We’d consider the Apostles to be terrible evangelists by today’s standards!

Are these things a reality?

Of course! But…

We don’t need to preach bad news for the good news to be effective!

The light exists regardless of darkness.

You don’t need a Hell to want to live in Heaven for eternity!

Let’s stop being so fixated with darkness, sin and Hell!

We need to re-centre the Gospel we are preaching around relationship with God.

If we do, everything else will take care of itself when we do.

Including our evangelism.

What about you?

When salvation revolves around sin rather than around relationship it has way more knock-on effects than the ones I’ve described above.

So what are some of the ways you can see this has affected you in the past?

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22 Comments

  1. Phil, thank you for speaking the truth in love. Paul clearly states this in 2 Corinthians 5:18-21 HCSB
    Everything is from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: That is, in Christ, God was reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed the message of reconciliation to us. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, certain that God is appealing through us. We plead on Christ’s behalf, “Be reconciled to God.” He made the One who did not know sin to be sin for us, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

    • A wonderful passage Jim – really hammers home that in it all the focus for the Father was always “I want to be made one with my creation”!

      Thanks for sharing!

  2. Hi Phil,
    You are such an inspiration to me. I have been steeped in the religious spirit and rules for most of my life. Hell fire, brimstone sermons and sin focused sermons. Thank you for speaking the truth and setting people free.
    Blessings, Cathy Maas

    • I had too Cathy – it’s fun being on the other side and a real privilege we have to proclaim the good news we are now partaking in!

  3. Thanks Phil, as Chris Vallotton would say, That’s a good word right there! Even more than all the other topics that is so crucial to our understanding. It sure takes the pressure off of preaching the good news. (or preaching the bad news before we peach the good news). Thank you so much for articulating that for us.
    Kelly

  4. I have witnessed quite a few people pushed away from Jesus by “shock and awe evangelism.” When I tried to suggest relational evangelism, I understood why people didn’t want anything to do with Jesus. They are affectionately known as the “judgement and condemnation nation.”

    • Yup it’s amazing that we can’t see that “turn or burn” is just simply much less effective than “God loves you and if you want to hang out he’s waiting”

  5. Hi Phil! For too long the church has been focusing on sin, instead of the person of Grace, no wonder so many are more sin conscience rather than Christ conscience. When we focus on our relationship with Jesus he fills all our needs and we automatically stop looking for ways to fill our legitimate desires in illegitimate ways. Also telling people that God wants a relationship makes evangelism so much easier!! Great post!

    • Yes – I’ve found I enjoy evangelism so much more now… but not only that I see way more fruit! Thanks for sharing Willem!

  6. Hey Phil,

    Thanks for writing this! I think we’ve done the world a disservice on focusing too much on Heaven and forgetting about the age to come.

    You mentioned that there’s no warnings in the sermons in Acts. I’m confused about this.
    In Acts 2, Peter tells them to: ” 40 And with many other words he bore witness and continued to exhort them, saying, “Save yourselves from this crooked generation.”” What does Peter mean in Acts 3 by quoting Moses saying: “23 And it shall be that every soul who does not listen to that prophet shall be destroyed from the people.’”. Isn’t that a clear warning of destruction?

    Sure, the word “hell” isn’t used. I think Peter has something in mind other than that, but it’s certainly a clear warning of judgment, right?

    I think Paul also does this when standing before Felix in Acts 24: “25 And as he reasoned about righteousness and self-control and the coming judgment, Felix was alarmed and said, “Go away for the present. When I get an opportunity I will summon you.””

  7. Loved your post, and the previous one you spoke of. For me the revelation of love and grace should take away the focus on sin, fear, and condemnation. I think I shock some believers when I say, I don’t pay any attention to satan, demons, or sin. I focus on who He says we are, and the wonderful relationship we share with Him. Life is much more joyful!

  8. This is so simply and well put, Phil. Ephesians 1 tells us that God’s purpose was our ‘adoption as sons’! If we are just looking for our sins to be dealt with, as an end in itself, we are left with the worry of whether we have repented enough, believed enough, lived well enough, etc, to cover all our sins… and then what about the new sins we did today…? Oh dear! When we know that our sin was taken care of ‘from before the foundation of the world’, and was never a problem to the Father, Son and Spirit, the burden rolls off our backs. We are forgiven in Christ before Adam sinned! After living there for 50+ years, praise God He found me and pulled me out of the religious quagmire!

  9. I honestly believe we were made to be in a relationship with God and Jesus came to restore that relationship. However we are sinners. Every sermon in acts calls for repentance of sins. We have something we all need to be saved from. With out a clear understanding of my sin I don’t need a savior. Every sermon in acts makes that clear.

    • Craig – again this comes down to sin being the focus of the gospel though.

      Sin isn’t want causes the relationship to fall apart – the broken relationship causes sin.

      We aren’t saved from sin… we are saved from separation from God… when we become one with God sin and a sin-free lifestyle take care of themselves as we move forward with Him.

      I just don’t read this focus on sins in the book of Acts that you seem to see – plenty of repentance but not what you are talking about when you refer to “repentance of sins”.

      You can check out these resources for more on my thoughts on repentance:

      Short 23 minute Podcast: Most Christians Don’t Know What Repentance Is, Do You? – http://phildrysdale.com/2013/11/006-most-christians-dont-know-what-repentance-is-do-you-podcast/
      Short 4 minute Video: True Repentance – http://phildrysdale.com/2012/03/true-repentance/

  10. Gotta love those people with the attitude, “I am trying to get you to Hell, so you can go to Heaven! Why is that so hard to understand?”

    • Exactly! God loves you unconditionally but if you say no He’ll burn you in Hell for eternity as punishment… seems simple enough :)

  11. Jesus is answer today again around the world for alot trouble in life with sin and the devol who hate mankind to destroy and kill, but the lord are ou redeemer and he gave us forgiveness in his blood and must bigest problem has been loosely.thank you to the lord even today we are free indeed,thanks and bless and pray,keijo sweden

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