The phrase “Jesus died to save you from your sins” isn’t in the Bible. 

You hear this phrase nearly everywhere you go, particularly in the southern United States.  “Jesus died to save me from my sins.”    Have you ever stopped to ask yourself, “What does it really mean?”   If we ever need to be rescued, or saved from any danger, then the threat must be imminent or near at hand.   We live with sin every day.  Personal sins and failures bother some of us enough that we try our best to avoid them, but some people seem to enjoy frequent indulgence.  What is so dangerous about sin?  Are our sins out to get us?  It is true that some improper “high risk” excesses such as uncontrolled substance abuse, promiscuity or violent criminal living could end your life sooner than you might want.  But each day we all deal with regular run of the mill weaknesses and failures that are common to everyone: out right lying as well as “white” lies, unfaithfulness to a friend or spouse, losing control of anger, saying hurtful things we wish we hadn’t, lust, theft, deception…to name a few.    These “normal” sins don’t seem to do much harm to our life’s longevity.  What is the real danger?  Why does anyone think Jesus had to die to save me from my sins?

Jesus didn’t die to save you from your sins.

“Jesus died to save you from your sins” is an inaccurate statement.  It could be, and probably has been misleading to many people. IT IS TRUE that we all sin.

As it is written: "There is none righteous, no, not one.” (Romans 3:10)*

For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.  (Romans 3:23)

Even the Apostle Paul struggled with daily sin.

I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate.  Now if I do what I do not want, I agree with the law, that [the law] is good.  So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me.  For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out.  For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. (Romans 7:15-19 ESV) edited for clarity

What defines a sin?  What makes anything right or wrong?

What is sin?  Sin is any lack of conformity to, or transgression of, the law of God. (Westminster Shorter Catechism)

Whoever commits sin also commits lawlessness, and sin is lawlessness. (1 John 3:4)

So then, anyone who breaks the law of God commits sin.  Anyone who lies, (bears false witness), anyone who steals, anyone who covets (envy), anyone who commits adultery, anyone who murders, any one who does not respect mother or father, anyone who values anything more than God (that’s idolatry), anyone who violates His Sabbath rest.

That sums up the law of God.  We usually call them “The Ten Commandments.”  (Exodus 20:1-17 or Deuteronomy 5:6-21)

Once Jesus was asked which law of God was the greatest.

Jesus said to him, " 'You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.'  "This is the first and great commandment.  "And the second is like it: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.'  "On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets."       Matthew 22:37-40

It sounds like He left something out.  He didn’t leave a thing out.  He summed up the first half of the commandments that teach us how to love and worship God.  Then He summed up the rest of the commandments that teach us how to love and respect our neighbors.

The law of God is important to God and it’s important to us.  If we break any one of them, ever, then we’ve sinned against, or offended a holy and righteous God.  When we sin we offend God.  We are guilty law breakers and we are condemned by our crimes.   Therefore we are worthy of His punishment forever.  The consequences of our sin places us in the path of God’s certain wrath.

Now you may respond by saying that you’re not such a bad person.  You haven’t murdered anyone, you’re honest, you try to do something for the poor, especially at Christmas time and you try your best to be good to everyone you meet.  You are to be commended!  But that isn’t good enough.

Suppose you lived until you were 70 years old, and you passed away.  Just suppose you met St. Peter and he asked you, “Why should I allow you to enter the Lord’s Heaven?”  Your reply, of course, might be some statement about how good and sincere you’ve tried to be all your life.

Then suppose St. Peter, looked into your record and said something like this; “My friend, I’ve no doubt you’ve tried your best, but what I see here on your record is quite alarming.  There are thousands of lies, though you may call them “fibs” they are still lies.  If I were to forgive some of them and count only two per day since you were 12 years old, well…then…you would still have 42,340 sins on your record.  And that is being quite gracious because the lies you told during your teen years are bountiful.  And, I am not even counting the times you cheated or lusted, or lost your temper without cause.  There are just too many sins  on your account.”

Your response might be, “Don’t my good deeds balance out the bad?”

St. Peter would reply, “I am sorry…no they don’t.  One violation of God’s law is enough to condemn you to eternal fire.  Don’t you remember how strict God was to Adam and Eve?  If you are to gain God’s Heaven there one of only two things that you must have. You must have a spotless, sinless record, OR you must have someone who has been perfect and sinless pay the sin debt for you.”

"The soul who sins shall die.” Ezekiel 18:20

“For the wages of sin is death,” Romans 6:23a

If Jesus didn’t die to save us from our sins, what did His death accomplish? 

Jesus LIVED a perfect sinless life.  He never broke any law of God or man.  That is why His earthly life was so important.   No ordinary man or woman can possibly offer anything to God that would make our offenses right.  Any effort offered would be with dirty offensive hands.  God’s holy righteousness could not accept a contaminated offering.  Jesus Christ, God’s only Son, was sent to offer His own life as a perfect substitute for the sinner.

"For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.  For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.  He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. John 3:16-18

Jesus died to save us from God’s wrath.  He died in your place.  He took upon Himself the punishment you deserve.  He stood in your place, and received the wrath that was meant for law breakers. 

“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 6:23

When anyone says that they believe in Jesus Christ, just belief that He lived and was a good person, or teacher isn’t enough to receive God’s eternal grace.   You must understand and accept the fact that you are a sinner without hope, fully incapable to do anything to earn merit or favor from God.  You must make confession of this to God, and you must understand and believe that He has died in your place, and His death pays the debt for all of your sins.

“For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” Romans 10:10

“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God,

not a result of works, so that no one may boast.” (Ephesians 2:8 ESV)

If you’ve never accepted Christ as your Savior, you may do so right now.  Pray to Him and confess?  Ask forgiveness and He will pardon!  The prayer below is offered as a guide if you’ve never prayed before.  Use your own words if you are able, but by all means pray right now?

"Heavenly Father, have mercy on me, a sinner. I believe in you and that your word is true. I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of the living God and that he died on the cross so that I may now have forgiveness for all my sins and the gift of eternal life. I know that without you in my heart my life is meaningless.

I believe in my heart that you, Lord God, raised Him from the dead. Please Jesus forgive me, for every sin I have ever committed or done in my heart, please Lord Jesus forgive me and come into my heart as my personal Lord and Savior today. I need you to be my Father and my friend.

I give you my life and ask you to take full control from this moment on; I pray this in the name of Jesus Christ.  Amen.”

If you were able to make this prayer, we at Countryside Presbyterian Church would like to hear from you.  Would you send us a brief email so that we may pray for you?  We’d love to invite you visit our church.  Our Pastor and members can help you answer any questions you might have, and we all wish to encourage you and help you follow the Lord. 



* Unless it is otherwise noted, all scripture texts are from the New King James.