The very popular catch phrase “Jesus Saves” can be found on bumper stickers, homemade signs at sporting events, and fashionable apparel. Sadly, few who see the phrase “Jesus saves” truly and fully understand what it means. The depth and scope of the concept of salvation is distressingly understood on both sides of the church door. The Bible declares that every human being who has ever lived has sinned (Ecclesiastes 7:20; Romans 3:23). To sin is to do something, whether, in thought, word, or deed, that contradicts God’s perfect and holy character. Because of our sin, we all deserve judgment from God (John 3:18, 36). God is perfectly just, so He cannot allow sin and evil to go unpunished. Those who are outside the body do not understand their need for salvation. Without the belief of a divine standard, humanity fails to recognize our sinfulness. Without seeing ourselves as sinners, we have no need for a Savior. But because we have sinned against an infinite God, either a finite person (us) must pay for our sins for an infinite amount of time, or an infinite Person (Jesus) must pay for our sins one time. Inside the church, we have a similar problem. We may understand what Jesus is saving us from, but we do not understand what he is saving us to or for.
Obviously salvation is not a cheap experience, nor is it a one-time or occasional thing. In the person of Jesus Christ, God sacrificed Himself on our behalf, paying the infinite and eternal penalty only He could pay (2 Corinthians 5:21; 1 John 2:2). While Jesus’ sacrifice was perfectly sufficient to pay for the sins of all humanity, Jesus only saves those who personally receive His most precious of gifts (John 1:12). But why not just let us die, why go through the trouble of saving such a lost people? What did He save us for?
When we choose God, we begin to discover the reason God saved us. He saved us from sin, to Himself, “That we…might serve him.” God does not save us so that we might serve ourselves. He does not save us for us to live rich meaningful lives unto ourselves. He does not save us and become a puppet for us to manipulate to get our every desire. God saves us so that we might do what we were created to do—serve him. We are saved to serve. Why we should want to serve God is an even more difficult question. Every Christian asked might have a different reason for serving God; different people are motivated by different things.
The Bible offers several motivations for our service. We want to serve God because “we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken” (Hebrews 12:28), because our service supplies “the needs of the Lord’s people” (2 Corinthians 9:12), because our service proves our faith and causes others to praise God (2 Corinthians 9:13), and because God sees and rewards our labor of love (Hebrews 6:10). Each of these is a good reason to serve God. If you want to want to serve God, the key is to get to know Him! When we truly know God, who is love (1 John 4:8), our natural response is a desire to love and serve Him in return.
We are saved to serve.