Salvation: Why Necessary?

By David Barron


Sin is defined as an act committed "either by omitting to do what God's law requires or by doing what it forbids."[1] When God created the first man Adam there was no sin, though the prospect for it did exist. God laid before Adam a simple command, instructing him to eat from all but a single tree in the garden. To disobey would produce sin and a grave penalty would accompany that sin.


Genesis 2:16 And Jehovah God commanded the man, saying, Eating you may eat of every tree in the garden; 17 but of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil you may not eat, for in the day that you eat of it, dying you shall die.


Why God would create this tree has stumbled some, for if man was perfect, why would God provide for him the opportunity to stumble and fall into the miserable state we find ourselves in today? The answer is choice. Without the ability to choose to serve God we would be nothing more than mindless robots, forced into a routine without choice or the ability to think independently. By providing this tree and the simple command not to eat from it, Jehovah granted Adam the ability to decide his life course for himself.


Eventually Adam chose to partake of the tree, choosing sin and turning away from God (Gen. 3:6). With this action Adam began the process of dying. His body began to age and deteriorate so that in time he paid the ultimate price. Thousands of years later the apostle Paul related this consequence, saying, "the wages of sin is death" (Rom. 6:23).


As our father, Adam has provided for us all that we are. Our makeup can be traced back to him, including our sinful nature (Rom. 5:12). Despite our best efforts this cannot be escape. Sinning, we too are deserving of death, yet God has not abandoned those who sin unwillingly due to imperfection.


John 3:16 "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.


God's plan for redemption centered on sending his Son. This one, Jesus, born without a biological father, did not inherit sin as the rest of mankind. Neither did he fall into sin as did Adam (Heb. 4:15). Without sin he was not deserving of death, yet having been put to death, he took our sins upon himself, paying the price of death on our behalf.


Hebrews 9:28 so Christ also, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time for salvation without reference to sin, to those who eagerly await Him.


The penalty for sin being death, whether there is but one sin or countless sins the penalty remains the same. As a perfect man on earth, Jesus was able to carry the load of as many sinners as he so desired, for through his death he paid the penalty for the full weight of those sins. His servants, believing in him, have had the penalty of death paid for them. As Christians, we now die only from inherited imperfect, no longer because God considers us deserving of death (Rom. 8:1-4).


[1] Illustrated Dictionary of the Bible, Edited by Herbert Lockyer, with F.F. Bruce and R.K. Harrison (Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1986), 994.