Some words have a sense of horror to them, just by saying them. The word “lost” is such a word. Any way you think of someone being lost brings fear and agony to life. It is no wonder that God chose that word to describe our situation when we are living in sin and away from him. We are like the sheep that wandered away from the shepherd and the herd. We are like the coin that the woman lost and had to search to find. We are like the boy who took his father’s inheritance and left for the far country to waste it all in godless living. We are like the older son who was lost while still at home because of a lousy, selfish and hypocritical heart. It then is natural that God would use the word “salvation” to describe one who has been found and brought home to the Lord and is living in a right relationship with him. Every person is born into this world as an innocent one. Jesus said to the disciples that the greatest among them was a little child and unless they were converted and became like that child they couldn’t enter the kingdom in Matthew 18:1-3. In the very next chapter of Matthew some parents were trying to bring their small children to Jesus that he might lay his hands on them and bless them, but the apostles thought that was a waste of Jesus time so they tried to stop them. Jesus said to them to allow the little children to come to him and don’t forbid them for of such is the kingdom of heaven. In Romans 7:9 Paul described the process by which one who is born innocent becomes lost and in need of salvation. “Once I was alive apart from the law; but when the commandment came, sin sprang to life and I died.” All of us reach a time in life when we become conscience of our sin and realize we need something. We become accountable then to God for our sin and are lost. Then we need a savior. We need Jesus.
In Hebrews 7:23-25 God led the writer of Hebrews to say, “Now there have been many of those priests, since death prevented them from continuing in office; but because Jesus lives forever, he has a permanent priesthood. Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them.” He is laying down the huge contrast between how things were under the Old Law or Old Covenant and living under the New Covenant. There priest were set up as Aaron’s descendants from the tribe of Levi. They were men of weaknesses who had to offer a sacrifice first for their own sins and then for the sins of the people. If that priesthood had been without fault then there would have been no need for another priesthood after the order of Melchizedek. But God promised through David a thousand years before Christ came into the world that God would set up a priesthood after the order of Melchizedek and now it has happened. In verse 12 he said, “For when the priesthood is changed, the law must be changed also.”
With Jesus as the great high priest, amazing things are now available that were never available under the Old Law. Now there is no danger of going to make my offering to God only to learn the old priest I loved and had a great relationship with, has died. Jesus has died for our sins and was raised for our justification and now reigns at the right hand of the Father as king of kings and lord or lords. Because he lives forever, he is able to save completely those who come to God through him. Salvation under the Old Covenant was given in anticipation of what Jesus would do on the cross later. Now our salvation is based on what he did on that cross and in his resurrection from the dead. Our salvation from sin isn’t based on our doing everything right. It isn’t based on our being perfect. It is based on our coming to God through Jesus. Remember him saying, “I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6) Later Peter would say in Acts 4:12 “Neither is there salvation in any other for there is no other name given under heaven by which we must be saved.” Coming to God is open to everyone. Jesus died for all people (Hebrews 2:9). He gave the commission for his disciples to go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. “He who believes and is baptized shall be saved. He who does not believe will be condemned.” God longs to save all people. He isn’t willing for any to perish but for all to be saved (2 Peter 3:9). But he leaves the choice up to us. The way is open to all but it is the one and only way to God for salvation. We must go through Jesus Christ to be saved.
You may be thinking, “But Leon, aren’t there lots of good people in the world who believe in God but don’t believe in Jesus as His unique son? Don’t you think they will also be saved since they believe in the same God we do who follow Christ?” Truthfully, it doesn’t make an ounce of difference what I believe or what you believe. What I know is that God said one must come through Jesus to get to God for salvation. In Ephesians 1:3 God had Paul to write that all spiritual blessings in the heavenly realms are in Christ. It is always extremely dangerous and extremely foolish to believe anything that is the opposite of what God tells us in His word.
Why then is it the case that we must come to God through Jesus to be completely saved? His answer is “because he always lives to intercede for them.” Paul said it this way, “There is one God and one mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus.” (I Timothy 2:5). As the mediator Jesus made the way. He cleared the road to get us to God. As the interceder he pleads our cause to the Father all the time. He is always there interceding for you if you are coming to God through him. Look closely at these words from the pen of Paul in Galatians 3:26-29 “So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.” What a savior! What a salvation! Don’t miss it!