Saved From What?
Dr. R. C. Sproul once told a story about being approached by a young man while walking down the street. The stranger ran up to him and asked, with obvious urgency and fervor, “Are you saved?” Dr. Sproul responded (somewhat tongue-in-cheek), “Saved from what?” Yet this simple question led to an embarrassed silence. The stranger hadn’t given that question any thought, so he just stood there speechless. He didn’t know the answer.
The question “saved from what?” is at the heart of Christianity. It’s one of the most important questions you could ever ask. How would you respond? What are you saved from? It’s well worth your time to stop reading for a moment and think about your answer.
If you’ve grown up in the church or been a Christian for any length of time, you might respond by saying that Jesus saves you from sin or from hell. And if one of those is your answer, you’re right! Jesus does indeed save us from sin (Rom 6:11) and hell (Rom 8:1), but is that all there is to salvation? Or does it go deeper than that?
In a sense, we’re actually saved from God Himself. The reason why sin is so disgusting and horrible is because the One we have sinned against is so holy and pure. The reason why hell is described as infinite, eternal punishment is because the One we have sinned against is infinite and eternal. Every sin is treason on an cosmic scale and deserves to be punished forever. God can’t sweep our sin under the rug. If God ignored our sin and let us go free, He would be unjust, much like a judge would be unjust to release a convicted felon. In addition, we can make no appeal to a higher court. We sit condemned by the Judge of all the earth (Gen 18:25).
This means that, in order for us to be saved, God must save us from Himself. God takes the initiative to satisfy His own justice. As Paul explains in Rom 3:25-26, God pours out the punishment we deserved on His own Son instead. As a result, God can be both just (He has fully punished our sin) and our justifier (He can declare us righteous in His sight). This is the wonder and beauty of the gospel! We are saved from God by God.