From what does Jesus save sinners? I fear many claim Christ as their Savior without an answer to this question. Perhaps they know enough to reply, “Hell, of course,” without fully grasping what hell is. Worse yet, they fall short in their understanding of God himself.
Many professing Christians believe God is loving, merciful, and virtuous, but they rarely identify him as holy and angry. He loves all sinners and proves himself willing to sweep our sins under the rug. Second chances are free and infinite. Hell is reserved for only the worst of humanity. Never mind that Adam plunged us all into eternal destruction by breaking a single commandment and eating one bite of fruit. God will always overlook our mistakes.
Then again, consider the following passage from Romans 5:
God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. (Romans 5:8, 9)
To answer my initial question, Jesus saves sinners from the wrath of God. The Lord is so perfectly holy that he cannot tolerate even one broken law. He must pour out his wrath on anyone who violates his righteous commandments. For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become guilty of all of it (Jas 2:10). There are no exceptions. All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Ro 3:23). None is righteous, no, not one (Ro 3:10). We are all guilty. Apart from Christ, we will all face God’s eternal wrath.
To be clear, God is also loving and merciful. His love runs so deep, in fact, that while we’re still sinners, Christ died for us (Ro 5:9). You’ll notice God does not merely sweep away our sins. Instead, he redirects the wrath meant for us to his Son. We are saved by Christ from the wrath of God the Father (Ro 5:10). His holiness demands that he punish someone—the guilty sinner or the righteous Substitute.
We will not waste time running to Christ for refuge if we genuinely understand this. We will not only say we love God but also fear him. And we will never make light of sin. We will hate it for what it’s done to our Savior and strive to kill it within ourselves.