Why Do I Need to Be Saved?
No doubt you have your own specific reasons for why you need to be saved: Things you have messed up or messed up things about yourself that you just can’t fix. Or maybe you’ve seen that the bridge is out a little further down the road. Here are reasons why everyone needs to be saved.
Reason #1: Conscience and Moral Failure
Every honest person knows deep down that they are not living up to their own moral standards, much less the ones that God requires. We all have the moral law within us in the form of conscience, God's homing beacon, leading us to seek the One who gave it to us. Conscience is also a warning light, alerting us to the ways in which we are failing to live as we should. Try as we might we cannot keep our lives within the moral boundaries at all times. We know that this is wrong and that it is without excuse in general terms however much we may seek to find excuses for specific failings.
Let's call this our moral failure. We really do need someone to help us live as the truly good people which we could be and can’t help but believe that we should be. What went wrong? Why can't we fix it? Why is there no one around who can fix us? Sure, you can put a patch on it by trying harder, or you can deny the problem and pretend that you're fine. Still, you know that something is not right.
"Why do I need to be saved?" This is the first reason: so that we can live on earth as we were meant to live. But this problem—the problem of our moral failure—only gets worse when we consider what it means to come to the end of our life without a solution for it. How do you face death with the nagging awareness of your moral failures troubling your conscience?
Reason #2: The Inevitability of Death
The path of life invariably leads towards death. This gloomy fact is universal. We tend to bury our heads on this one, but let's face the facts for a moment. You are going to die one day. This cannot be avoided. What's next? Are you ready for that?
There are four main possibilities that people have imagined which nicely bypass the problem created by our moral failure.
1) The Big Sleep. Death is the end of existence. Nothing continues except the memory of you and some of the things you set in motion. Best case scenario? You "live on" in other people's memories for a while, until they too enter the sleep of unconscious termination. But at least you don't have to worry about answering for your misdeeds. There may be no dream of eternal bliss, but neither would there be the nightmare of endless torment. If this fantasy were true...
2) The Lobotomy. Life is a cycle and you will be recycled, though all your memories will be removed. You don't really die. You are “reincarnated” in another body—so that's a plus. Also there is no hell-like future torment you need to fear for living the present life with on-going moral failures. You won't even remember this life in your next life! So whatever future version of you is fated to suffer for your failures in this life, well, that's not really your problem, is it? Your problem is working through the suffering of the present life coming to you from failures of the previous one which some other (forgotten) version of you loused up.
3) The Sucker’s Bet. There is a heaven of endless perfection for you to enjoy. Everyone is going to go there! In fact all paths lead to God and heaven. So don’t worry, be happy. There is no hell to fear, no sins you have to avoid. God loves everyone too much to allow anyone to suffer for sin. This belief sounds too good to be true and it is. It is a foolish shot in the dark, since you have to bet against your own conscience which tells you that right will be rewarded and wrong won’t be. Conscience never lies. Don’t play against the odds on this one—they’re way too long.
4) Mindless Bliss. You merge with the vast ocean of God's consciousness. This may sound pretty good on the surface. You don't get punished for any of your moral failures, misdeeds or bad attitudes. But you do have to give up being a real person. Instead of being the unique symphony of ever shifting thought, emotion and action (which you are in this life when the internal orchestra is in tune), you become a single note going on into the endless reaches of time. You as an individual—as an actual person—entirely cease to exist. You have been swallowed up by the Eternal Mind. Good for the Mind, too bad for you.
"That's OK," you may be thinking. "I could handle that." (No you couldn't. There would be no you left to deal with it one way or the other, but let's don't pause to debate this.) "What I can't handle is the thought of being punished, of having to answer to some maybe not-so-friendly God for having messed up my life." That possibility is exactly why we need to be looking for a savior—now!
What if there really is a fifth possibility at the end of this life? What if there really is a God we will have to face? What if the guilt we wish we didn't feel is a warning from conscience that our moral failure is going to have to be answered for one day? What if there is a God who really does care how we chose to live our lives? What if there really is a place or time of punishment and a place or time of reward hidden on the other side of the veil of death? Shouldn't you be prepared for that—just in case?
5) Heaven and Hell. Life on earth is very short compared to whatever life after earth will be. Where do you want to spend the endless years? How do you want to spend them? Will you be gloriously aflame with holy love or will you be wretchedly burning in the infernal fires? You can gamble on one of the first four possibilities being right and hope you luck out, but what if you don't?
A robust majority of all the people ever born on the planet have displayed a belief in the afterlife and carried a hearty suspicion that it is a place of reward, one way or the other. Where did they get that? From religion? No, certainly not! If religion is of human origin (as it is alleged that all are), then the common themes of religion are our ideas, not aberrant notions foisted upon us. We need look no further than ourselves to discover the true origin of beliefs about the afterlife. The “majority view” got it the same place we get it—from the sense of a moral law within our hearts and the fact of an awesome creation surrounding us.
The Enlightenment philosopher Immanuel Kant was hardly an ardent follower of the Christian faith, though he drew heavily on many of its principles. At the conclusion of his Critique of Practical Reason he famously wrote:
Two things fill the mind with ever new and increasing admiration and awe, the more often and steadily we reflect upon them: the starry heavens above me and the moral law within me.
We get our ideas of the afterlife as a place of reward and punishment from the inward sense of a moral law requiring the operations of an overseeing justice. We experience no conflict in wanting it applied to others; conscience, however, insists that it applies to us as well. And it is conscience, no less than the starry heavens, which points us to something or to Someone far bigger than ourselves, to which or to Whom we are ultimately accountable.
"Why do I need to be saved?" This is the second reason: Facing God's judgment and coming out on the side of reward, rather than punishment. We are going to need to have some help standing up to close scrutiny! This brings us to the third reason we need to be saved.
Reason #3: We Are Separated from God
If there is a way to be saved (and there is) then it could hardly be considered complete if it only satisfied reasons #1 and #2 above. Unquestionably, we need to be saved/helped so that we can live more fully the life we are meant to live in this life and yes, we need to be saved/rescued so that we can live in the place of reward and blessing in the next life.
This still leaves out the ultimate reason why we need to be saved: We are separated from the One who created us! We are cut off from even knowing the greatest Being in the universe.
The truly astonishing thing about this immense tragedy is how “normal” it seems to us to be severed from our Creator. We don't know His Name, we can't see His Face, we can't sense His Presence, we can't hear His Voice, we can't feel His Heart, we can't enjoy His Company. Unless God chooses to open those lost pathways of communication and communion for us, there is nothing we can do to reinstate them.
Try as we might, unaided by God, we cannot penetrate the vast "cloud of unknowing" that surrounds the great Mystery of who God is. We need to be re-connected with our God! If the Christian religion is truly God-given (as we believe that it is) then "the God that we don't know" just happens to be the most loving, most joyful, most exciting, most beautiful Person imaginable.
"Why do I need to be saved?" This is the third reason: Not to know the Lord is the worst possible form of ignorance and loss you could ever experience in this life. Dear God save us from not knowing You!
That, my friend, is exactly what He wants to do...
God, I have to be honest with You. I don’t know You, but deep down I really do believe that this world has a Creator and deep down I know that I am not living with a completely clear conscience. All three of these reasons for seeking You apply to me! I don’t want to have to face You at the end of my life with my moral failures hanging over me. I don’t want to take a chance on those other “possible endings”—my heart is telling me that the Christian view of heaven and hell is the right one. And I don’t want to go on living separated from You, if there is a way that we can be reunited. Please, calm my fears and increase my desire to know You that I may seek You with my whole heart. Reveal Yourself to me in ways that I can sense and understand. Help me want what You want and make me willing to surrender everything to You.
On to the Next Question!
Who "qualifies" for salvation? There is always a catch, but in this case what will “hook” you is how entirely pre-qualified you already are. Without a doubt you are exactly the kind of person our God is looking for! This isn’t flattery or even a wild guess, just playing the odds, as you will soon see…
Scriptures and Foot Notes
 See all of Romans 7 for Paul’s profound insights into the moral struggle everyone faces: For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. Romans 7:22-23
 The Biblical term for that “something” which is not right about us is sin. The scriptures say that we are all riddled with it: For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. Romans 3:22-23
 Back in my pre-Christian days I did have an experience of what seemed like memories of past lives in the context of a supernatural encounter. However, later—when the demons that entered me then were cast out—I realized where the memories had come from. Demons never forget the lives they have indwelt and they have been around a very long time. This part of my story is told in Rescued from Hell: An Odyssey of Deception and Discovery available along with my other books at Amazon.com.
 And just as it is appointed for [all] men once to die, and after that the [certain] judgment. Hebrews 9:27 AMP
 The Bible “pulls no punches” where the penalty for our moral failings is concerned: For the wages of sin is death. Romans 6:23
 We are fully expected to “read the signs” left for us in the world around us and these signs are sufficient to point us to God: For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Romans 1:18-21
 Kant, Immanuel. Critique of Practical Reason (1788) 5:161.33–6; tr. Guyer 1992, 1. This statement was chosen by his friends for Kant’s tombstone.
 Acts 17:26-27; previously cited, p. 6.
 For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God; for it is written, "As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God." So then each of us will give an account of himself to God. Romans 14:10-12