Question: "What does it mean that Jesus is the Savior?"
Answer: In most superhero movies, the hero must intervene in a dangerous situation to rescue a powerless victim. At the end, the victim might exclaim, with all the force of a well-worn cliché, “You’re my hero!” In this moment, the grateful person is acknowledging that the hero has, potentially with great sacrifice, rescued him or her from mortal danger. Christians mean much the same thing when they refer to Jesus as the Savior, but on a much grander scale. In the Bible, the word Savior simply means “someone who saves someone else.” In the Old Testament, God is frequently referred to as the Savior, rescuing His people from all kinds of danger (Deuteronomy 32:15; 1 Chronicles 16:35; Psalm 18:46; 38:22). What does Jesus rescue us from? And what does He rescue us for?
To understand Jesus’ role as Savior, we must understand our own desperate situation. Humans have sinned against God, rebelling, and voluntarily separating themselves from the God of life (Romans 3:23; 5:12). Sin produces death, and so everything in our world is now dying (Romans 6:23; James 1:15). Because God is holy, He will punish sin, leading to eternal separation from Him (Matthew 10:28). Without Jesus, humans are helplessly enslaved by sin and cannot ever achieve holiness on their own (Romans 3:9–20). We were born on a one-way track to hell, rightly condemned for our sin (Ephesians 2:1–3).
That is where Jesus steps in. Being God, Jesus is perfect and never sinned. He lived a perfectly righteous life, and therefore did not deserve to die (2 Corinthians 5:21). However, He chose to die a horrific death on the cross for us, paying the price for our sin (Romans 6:23; 1 Peter 2:24; 1 John 2:2). Then He rose again three days later, establishing His victory, and He is coming back soon to remove evil from the world completely. Because of His death and resurrection, anyone who trusts in Him can have eternal life. To the person who trusts in Him, Jesus Christ becomes the Savior.
If you are a human being, you needed rescuing. Jesus came to save you. He saves us from sin by forgiving our sins (Luke 19:10; Acts 10:42–43; 1 Timothy 1:15). He saves us from God’s righteous punishment by justifying us with His blood (Romans 5:9). He saves us from death by giving us eternal life. He saves us from the degradation of the world by separating, empowering, and sanctifying us (Titus 3:3–8). He saves us from the devil, who deceives the world (1 John 3:8). For all these reasons and more, Jesus is rightfully worshiped as the Savior of the world (John 4:42; 1 John 4:14).
Jesus did not simply save us from something, He saved us for something. He saved us for a relationship with God, who loves us (John 3:16–18; Romans 5:10). By saving us from our sins, Jesus made reconciliation with God possible, allowing us to approach God as our heavenly Father (2 Corinthians 5:18–21; Hebrews 4:16). By His grace, and not by our works, we are saved for an eternity with God, worshiping Him, enjoying Him, and being loved by Him forever (Ephesians 2:5–10).
Jesus’ death and resurrection make all these things possible, demonstrating that He is the Savior of the world. But is He YOUR Savior? God makes it clear that we can only be saved by trusting in His Son (John 14:6). No other person, philosophy, or work can reconcile us to our holy Creator. When we submit to the truth of Jesus, confessing our sin and trusting Him, we receive eternal life, an intimate relationship with God, and grace to cover all our sins, past, present, and future. If you have not trusted Jesus as your Savior, come to Him today. He is gracious, regardless of your past (1 Timothy 3:3–5). Believe in Him and trust Him for salvation. What are you waiting for?