Why do I need Jesus?

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1Why do we need our commanding officers? We might ask this as a joke over a pint with our mates, but we know the answer. We need someone with the right training and experience giving the orders and leading the charge into battle. If it was just up to anyone to decide when we should fight, guard or retreat—there’s no knowing what mess we’d make of things.

It’s the same with Jesus. He’s in charge and He knows what’s best for each one of us. We like to call the shots and make our own decisions. But a lot of the time we end up thinking: I wish I hadn’t done that . . . Or if only I’d have known then what I know now . . .

We need Jesus to help us make smart choices, treat people well and please God. He knows exactly how to do this—far better than we do. Knowing Jesus doesn’t mean we’ll never mess up—but it does mean we always have the most trustworthy Commanding Officer on the scene for everything we’ll ever go through.

— Chris, an Our Daily Bread reader

2 If we had a deadly disease we would want someone to tell us so we could do something about it before it was too late! We would go to the doctor who could tell us what might be wrong, send us for tests, diagnose the problem, begin treatment and hopefully help cure us.

It’s a bit like this with us and Jesus. We have a big problem, a bit like a deadly disease—and only Jesus can cure us.

The Bible tells us that God is perfect and good in every way. Everything he does, everything he says, everything he makes and everything he thinks is perfect. Being perfect, God can’t allow bad, imperfect and hurtful stuff to exist. In fact, he has promised that one day he will remove everything that is wrong with the world.

The problem is that we are not perfect. So destroying everything that’s wrong with the world includes destroying us . . .

We have all gone through pain, disappointment, anger, frustration, injustice, regret, guilt and shame. We know this world is full of messed up people who hurt each other. But we can’t just blame everyone else for all the problems all the time. All of us have said nasty things, told little lies and done things we know we shouldn’t. These things are hurtful and harmful to others, get us into trouble and make us feel guilty. The Bible calls this sin. And God has promised to get rid of sin and everything that goes with it (which includes us!). Thankfully, he is being slow about bringing the world to end so that we have time to hear his incredible offer . . .

God loves us and wants to save us! So he gave us his son Jesus, the only person ever to live a perfect life. He took away our sin when he died in our place. He paid for everything we have done wrong so that we don’t have to. When he came back to life, he promised to give us his own perfection when we trust him. This means we can live with God in heaven—safe and secure forever.

So we need Jesus to cure us from the deadly disease called sin. Only he can save us and make us brand new and perfect. Without him, we’re due to be destroyed along with everything else that is imperfect.

— Gill, an Our Daily Bread reader

3A soldier once told me about how guilty he felt. He’d done some pretty bad stuff, and he carried around the shame of it every day. He just couldn’t stop feeling miserable.

“I can’t do this,” He said to me in frustration.

“Soldier, when you wash your hands in the sink, what happens to the dirty water?” I asked him.

“It goes down the plughole.”

“Does it come back up and make you dirty again?”

He shook his head. “That’s what it’s like to be forgiven by God,” I explained.

When God forgives us, he labels us as “not guilty”, forever. No one else in the world can make us clean like God can.

It doesn’t matter what kind of bad things we may have done, God sees us all in the same way: Yes, all have sinned; all fall short of God’s glorious ideal (Romans 3:23).

But God tells us we can wash off all the things we’ve done wrong (even the very worst things). Just like dirty water disappearing down a plughole. That’s why God sent Jesus to earth 2,000 years ago:

“Jesus died once for the sins of all us guilty sinners although he himself was innocent of any sin at any time, that he might bring us safely home to God.” —1 Peter 3:18

It’s like a drowning man being given a lifebelt. The moment he grabs the lifebelt, he’s no longer drowning. We are all drowning in the guilt and shame of what we have done wrong. But the moment we trust Jesus, he takes our guilt from us and makes us safe. He is our lifebelt!

This doesn’t mean we don’t have to own up for things we’ve done wrong. A man who steals will still have to serve his time in prison, even if he asks God for forgiveness and new life. And he will still leave prison with a criminal record. But God will call the man “not guilty” from the second he trusts Jesus to save him. And Jesus will bring that man “safely home” into heaven after he dies.

We’re promised that God throws all our criminal records out of heaven when we trust Jesus:

“Who dares accuse us whom God has chosen for his own? Will God? No! He is the one who has forgiven us and given us right standing with himself.” —Romans 8:33

And he is pleased to call us his own children, to be part of his perfect family forever:

“See how very much our heavenly Father loves us, for he allows us to be called his children—think of it—and we really are!” —1 John 3:1

The moment we ask Jesus to be our lifebelt, we are free from guilt: “we are already God’s children, right now”! (1 John 3:2).

— Mark, an Our Daily Bread reader

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