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Man's Need For Salvation

All mankind is born with the nature of sin and
cannot cleanse himself. We all need a Savior.
Salvation comes only through Jesus Christ.

By Ken Raggio

A study About Why We Need To Be Saved - from Romans 3

"For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God," Romans 3:23.

Secular men generally ignore the subject of the salvation of the soul.

"The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned," I Corinthians 2:14.

There are a number of intellectual and psychological hurdles that a godless mind must surmount before admitting the need for salvation: These three are perhaps the most difficult:>

1. The Human Soul Is Eternal

If the soul is not eternal, then there is no need for concern over salvation. If death means the annihilation of the individual, then there is no cause to be concerned about one's eternal destiny. Before realizing the need of salvation, a person must admit the eternality of the soul.

2. Heaven And Hell Are Inescapable Realities

Without the hope of spending eternity in the presence of God or the threat of being punished with eternal separation and condemnation, there is little reason to consider the need for salvation. Jesus taught the doctrines of Heaven and Hell more than any other Bible voice. If Jesus Christ is to be believed, then so are the doctrines of Heaven and Hell.

3. Every Person Will Give Account For His Life Before God, The Righteous Judge

The wicked and the righteous will be forever separated. Thereafter, each will face either eternal damnation and separation from God or eternal salvation in the presence of God and the holy angels.

With these three things in mind, we will consider "Man's Need of Salvation," with particular focus on several verses from Romans chapter 3. The scriptures have repeatedly demonstrated that when men do only what is right in their own eyes and neglect the call of God unto a higher way of living, they are destined for a tragic ending. Whatever prevents a man from admitting his need for salvation, whether it be foolish pride, blasphemous mockery, or ignorant denial, only the Truth can make him free.

SALVATION: Deliverance from Impending Death

Anyone of us should appreciate any efforts another person might show to save, preserve, rescue or deliver us from any danger or jeopardy.

If an emergency rescue team flies a helicopter into a blinding snow-storm in search of a lost mountain climber and successfully retrieves him from a perilous precipice, those efforts are considered heroic. Our efforts to declare the saving Gospel of Jesus Christ should be considered far more heroic in eternal terms. Now, let's take a look at the fundamental truths about our sinfulness.


It is natural for men to mock and ridicule truths that they are unwilling to embrace. They profane the name of Jesus; they make trite and meaningless references to Hell and demean and denigrate others who hold Biblical beliefs as sacred. They castigate those who attempt to draw their attention to the need for salvation.

American philosopher Eric Hoffer cynically observed that "The savior who wants to turn men into angels is as much a hater of human nature as the totalitarian despot who wants to turn them into puppets." If these observations are true, then we are slave masters and manipulators who desire to deliver men from their sinful plight to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Actually, quite the contrary is true. "Let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins,"(James 5:20).

True salvation is not an oppression. It is a deliverance. Sin is a terrible bond-master, and its consequences are horrific.

Hoffer's statement reflects an almost universal attitude suggesting that natural man is inherently good and has no need of a savior.

The notion that man is inherently good, however, is patently wrong. Jeremiah 17:9 says, "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?"

A. All Are Under Sin

Paul compared Jews with Gentiles and insisted that both were equally sinful.

"What then? are we better than they? No, in no wise: for we have before proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin," Romans 3:9.

After 1400 years of subjection to the Law of Moses, Israel demonstrated unequivocally that the law could not change their sinful nature.

In Hebrews 7:19, Paul asserted that "the law made nothing perfect." Paul compensated for the law's failure by explaining that "the bringing in of a better hope did (make perfect); by the which we draw nigh unto God."

What is that "better hope"? It is the "hope of righteousness by faith" mentioned in Galatians 5:5-6, "For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love."

Legalistic behavioral modification does not and cannot save us. Salvation comes by a gracious act of God as a response to our faith in and compliance with the Gospel message.

B. There Is None Righteous

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

Righteousness is simply doing right. By deduction, we must conclude that nobody consistently does right from within himself.

God's righteousness has to be superimposed over our wills. Death to self is the prerequisite to manifesting the righteousness of God.

John the Baptist said, "He must increase, but I must decrease," (John 3:30). That is the prescription for all our spiritual success. Our will must be effectively subdued, and His will must be implemented faithfully.

Astonishingly, men would rather attempt to outwit the judgments of God than to "straighten up and fly right." They deceive themselves with lies and excuses, believing they will somehow escape God's wrath.

    "Because ye have said, We have made a covenant with death, and with hell are we at agreement; when the overflowing scourge shall pass through, it shall not come unto us: for we have made lies our refuge, and under falsehood have we hid ourselves:

    Judgment also will I lay to the line, and righteousness to the plummet: and the hail shall sweep away the refuge of lies, and the waters shall overflow the hiding place.

    And your covenant with death shall be disannulled, and your agreement with hell shall not stand; when the overflowing scourge shall pass through, then ye shall be trodden down by it." Isaiah 28:15-18.

You can be sure your sins will find you out. There is no protection from the judgments of God apart from genuine obedience to His will. From the earliest days, God's laws demanded us to confess our guilt.

"And it shall be, when he shall be guilty in one of these things, that he shall confess that he hath sinned in that thing: And he shall bring his trespass offering unto the LORD for his sin which he hath sinned, " Leviticus 5:5-6.

More significant than exposing our guilt, the Law was designed to extract our confession of guilt.

C. None Understandeth (Romans 3:11)

The eternal precepts of God are hidden at the start. "It is the glory of God to conceal a thing, but the honour of kings is to search out a matter," Proverbs 25:2.

We have already mentioned that "the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned," I Corinthians 2:14.

All the world dwells in spiritual darkness until the light of Jesus Christ shines upon them. Isaiah prophesied the birth of Jesus Christ, saying, "The people which sat in darkness saw great light; and to them which sat in the region and shadow of death light is sprung up," Matthew 4:16.

John said, "In him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not. That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world," John 1:4,5,9.

Jesus lamented the spiritual blindness and deafness of the masses, speaking to them in parables. But He delighted in His disciples' grasp of eternal truths, saying, "blessed are your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they hear. For verily I say unto you, That many prophets and righteous men have desired to see those things which ye see, and have not seen them; and to hear those things which ye hear, and have not heard them.” Matthew 13:16-17.

The Apostle Paul recognized that the Gospel was a revelation of the "hidden wisdom of God" in 1 Corinthians 2:7, "But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory:"

D. None Seeketh God (Romans 3:11)

The consciousness of sin causes people to shun the presence of the Lord.

When Adam and Eve sinned, they immediately wanted to hide themselves.

Just like bugs scatter across a kitchen floor when the light comes on, evil men run to hide from the light of God. Instead of seeking after God, they characteristically attempt to hide from Him.

"And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God,” John 3:19-21.

If there is to be any hope of our salvation, we must reverse the natural tendency to flee from God, and set out deliberately to SEEK God. That is one of the first signs that a man is tending toward righteousness.

The Wisdom of God is Hidden Treasure

"And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart,” Jeremiah 29:13.

"Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near: Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon," Isaiah 55:6-7.

II. THE RESULTS OF SIN (Romans 3:17-20

Ever since Adam and Eve committed the first act of sin in the Garden of Eden, man has existed in a depraved state. His dominion on earth has been usurped by Satan. His righteousness is as filthy rags.

His prognosis is terminal: "The soul that sinneth, it shall die," Ezekiel 18:20. Without a miraculous New Birth, he is hopeless.

A. Unprofitable Man (Romans 3:12-17

William Booth, founder of the Salvation Army, said in 1890, "To get a man soundly saved it is not enough to put on him a pair of new breeches, to give him regular work, or even to give him a University education. These things are all outside a man, and if the inside remains unchanged you have wasted your labour. You must in some way or other graft upon the man's nature a new nature, which has in it the element of the Divine."

No matter how you scrub and clean a man, he remains inherently a sinner.

We are unprofitable by virtue of the fact that God has an enormous investment in us - so large that we could never repay Him for everything He has done in our behalf.

Jesus taught, "When ye shall have done all those things which are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants: we have done that which was our duty to do," Luke 17:10.

Multitudes of people today believe that they can be justified in the sight of God by performing certain acts of goodness.

The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume XIII, published in 1912, said that a man could be justified "by reason of a PERFECT ACT OF CHARITY elicited by a well disposed sinner or by virtue of the Sacrament either of Baptism or of Penance." On one hand, baptism and penance in the Catholic Church was indicated as a means to justification. On the other hand, this catechism clearly insisted that justification could be had without baptism or repentance if "a perfect act of charity" was performed by "a well disposed sinner."

Tragically, this philosophy has an enormous following in modern society. We must reject and renounce such false teachings because they are gross deceptions that damn men's souls.

No works of goodness will save us. Only obedience to the Gospel plan of salvation can save our souls.

B. No Fear of God (Romans 3:18)

David portrayed the wicked very well in Psalm 36.

"The transgression of the wicked saith within my heart, that there is no fear of God before his eyes. For he flattereth himself in his own eyes, until his iniquity be found to be hateful. The words of his mouth are iniquity and deceit: he hath left off to be wise, and to do good. He deviseth mischief upon his bed; he setteth himself in a way that is not good; he abhorreth not evil."

John Bunyan, author of Pilgrim's Progress, said, "Christian, let God's distinguishing love to you be a motive to you to fear Him greatly. Remember that this fear of the Lord is His treasure, a choice jewel."

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom and knowledge. The fear of the Lord is to hate evil. The fear of the Lord prolongeth days and is a fountain of life.

C. All Guilty (Romans 3:19)

Romans 3:19 explains the real reason why the Old Testament Church (Israel) was forced to serve under the Law:

"Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God."

The principal reason God administered the Law to Israel was to show them the absolute sinfulness and guilt of human nature (that ALL THE WORLD may become guilty before God.)

Nobody ever attained perfection by the Law, because "whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all," James 2:10.

Any failure whatsoever constitutes total failure under the Law. Therefore, no one has ever been saved under the Law. Only by the grace of God are we "saved through faith, and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God," Ephesians 2:8.

D. No Flesh Justified (Romans 3:20)

Jesus condemned the Pharisees for their elaborate outward, albeit false shows of righteousness. "Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men's bones, and of all uncleanness," Matthew 23:27.

No flesh can glory in the presence of God. (See I Corinthians 1:29).


We have stated previously that righteousness means "right doing."

The contrast between the Old Testament laws and New Testament grace reveals that the "right way" is not by keeping the ceremonies and rituals of law, but by a clean heart making an humble approach to God by faith in Jesus Christ.

Denominational Christianity has made popular the "Roman Road to Salvation." In it, key scriptures are taken from the book of Romans.

“For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God,” 3:23.

“But God commendeth His love toward us in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us,” 5:8.

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

“That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on Him shall not be ashamed,” 10:9-11.

“For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved!” 10:13.

One of the most important statements in these verses is found in chapter 10, verse 10,

"For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness."

Even as Abraham was the "father of the faithful," Paul explained that "Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness," Romans 4:3. Abraham's faith and obedience toward God was counted to be righteousness. So to us, the scripture says, "But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness," Romans 4:5.

Make no mistake about it. Faith that counts for righteousness is far more than a state of mind. Faith is more than mental ascendancy. It is more than "easy believism.

James said that faith without works is dead. He challenged the reader to "shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works,” James 2:18.

That concept is especially applicable to Romans 10:13. "Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved."

The actual fulfillment of that verse takes place when a person calls on the name of Jesus Christ as he is baptized in water - buried with Christ in baptism.

The works of faith include obedience to all the Gospel plan.

Peter enumerated the most critical components on the day of Pentecost in Acts 2:38. "Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost."

Paul also stipulated a life of holiness as well: "Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord,” Hebrews 12:14.

The blood of Jesus, the waters of baptism in Jesus' name, the infilling of the Holy Ghost, and the sanctified life are all absolutely essential components within the plan of salvation, and we must be certain that all have been applied.

A. Price of Redemption (Romans 3:21-25)

The work of redemption is multi-fold. Someone must make an atonement for sin and damnation. Someone must inform the multitudes that the way has been prepared. And someone must empower and enable the converts to live and walk in the life of holiness and righteousness.

There can be no doubt that Jesus Christ alone really fulfilled all these requirements as our Teacher, our King, and our Priest.

1. As teacher, He declared the Truth, the Light and the Way.
2. As king, He empowered His subjects to follow His commandments.
3. As priest, He "being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him; Called of God an high priest after the order of Melchisedec," Hebrews 5:9-10.

B. Privilege to Proclaim (Romans 3:25-26)

Twice, in verses 25 and 26 the phrase "to declare His righteousness" appears. Once we have become the recipients of the good graces of the Lord Jesus Christ, we become a debtor to the Gospel, to "declare His righteousness" far and wide. Freely we have received, and freely we must give.

The Baton is Passed to each Believer

Freely ye have received; Freely give.

It is incumbent upon every believer to help propagate the good news of redemption. In fact, Jesus commanded it. "And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned. And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues;" Mark 16:15-17.

C. Power to Live (Romans 3:27-31)

Once we grasp the magnificent precepts of justification by faith and salvation by grace, we can face the challenges of godly living, "being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ," Philippians 1:6.

A Fascinating Story

Years ago in England, a convicted burglar who had served a seven year sentence, and his Judge who sat on the Supreme Court of England "coincidentally" attended the same evangelistic crusade. When the minister gave his appeal to those who would follow Christ, both the burglar and the judge found themselves side by side at the altar. The minister did not think that they were aware of one another's presence as they were kneeling.

Later, the Judge inquired of the minister. "Did you notice who was kneeling beside me at the communion rail this morning?"

The pastor replied, "Yes, but I didn't know that you noticed."

The two walked along in silence for a moment, and then the judge said, "What a miracle of grace."

The pastor nodded in agreement. "Yes, what a miracle of grace."

Then the judge said, "But to whom do you refer?"

And the pastor said, "Why, to the conversion of that convict."

The judge said, "But I was not referring to him. I was thinking of myself."

The pastor, surprised, replied, "You were thinking of yourself? I don't understand?"

"Yes," said the judge, "It did not cost that burglar much to get converted when he came out of jail. He had nothing but a history of crime behind him, and when he saw Jesus as his Savior he knew that there was salvation and hope and joy for him. And he knew how much he needed that help.

But look at me. I was taught from my earliest infancy to live as a gentleman; that my word was to be my bond; that I was to go to church, say my prayers, take Communion and so on. I went through Oxford, took my degrees, was called to the bar and eventually became a judge. Pastor, nothing but the grace of God could have caused ME to admit that I was a sinner on the same level as that burglar. It took much more grace to forgive ME for all my pride and self-deception, to get me to admit that I was no better in the eyes of God than that convict I sent to prison."

A popular Christian song declares, "People need the Lord." Everybody, great and small, rich and poor, free and bond, needs a Savior.

Jesus came first to the lost sheep of Israel. "He came unto his own, and his own received him not. But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God," John 1:11-13.

We have every reason to rejoice today, because we know that whosoever will may come and drink of the waters of life freely.

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