Jesus’ Death on the Cross Doesn't Save You—Here's What Does!

Much of what we hear today about salvation focuses on the cross. It’s no wonder that we fail to grasp the deeper meaning of the resurrection.
Andrew Farley
Jesus’ Death on the Cross Doesn't Save You—Here's What Does!

Adapted from the new bestselling book “Twisted Scripture: 45 Lies Christians Have Been Told” by Andrew Farley

For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. (Romans 5:10, NASB)

If someone asked you what the resurrection means to you personally, what would you say? Perhaps that it shows God’s power over death? But by the time of Jesus’s crucifixion, God had already displayed His power over death through many healings and miracles, including the raising of Lazarus from the dead.

So the resurrection of Jesus is more than simply a display of God’s power.

Much of what we hear today about salvation focuses on the cross. It’s no wonder that we fail to grasp the deeper meaning of the resurrection. Before salvation, we had two problems: sins and spiritual death. The sins we committed were merely a symptom of our core problem, our spiritual death.

So we had two problems, and God had two solutions for us. First, Jesus’s death and the blood that He shed washed away our sins, once for all. Yes, the cross brought us forgiveness. But without the resurrection we would still be in Adam, spiritually dead. So it’s the resurrection of Christ that solves the second problem, bringing us new life—His life (Romans 5:10).

In short, we are forgiven by His death and saved by His resurrection life!

This is why 1 Peter 3:21 says a spiritual baptism into the resurrection of Christ is what saves us. This is why Jesus called us “children of the resurrection” (Luke 20:36). This is why Paul tells the Corinthians that the resurrection is the backbone of Christianity:

For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised; and if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins. (1 Corinthians 15:16–17)

Without Christ’s resurrection, we would still be dead. Because of the resurrection, we have been made alive. We are no longer in our sins. Now, we are in Christ. Through the cross, God took away our sins. Through the resurrection, God gave us new life in Him.

Christ Is Our Life!

Jesus said, “After a little while the world will no longer see Me, but you will see Me; because I live, you will live also” (John 14:19). Our new spiritual life is Christ’s life. Because He lives, we live. We are in Christ, and He is in us. His life is our life.

Colossians 3:3–4 makes it even clearer: “For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory.” Christ is not merely a part of our life. He is our life.

We’re saved because Jesus lives, and we will be saved as long as Jesus lives. The author of Hebrews puts it this way:

"Therefore He is able also to save forever those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.” (Hebrews 7:25)

Notice that the length of our salvation is entirely dependent upon the length of Jesus’s life. We’re saved by having His life, and His life is eternal. So eternal life is not some gift package awaiting us in Heaven. Eternal life is the life lost in the garden of Eden and regained through Jesus.

Eternal life is not our life made longer. It’s not our life made better. Eternal life is Christ’s life. It’s the resurrection life of Jesus Christ that saves us.

Salvation is a Person!

Salvation is not a “thing.” It’s not a ticket to Heaven with your name on it. It’s not merely your name being written in the Book of Life. No, salvation is a Person—the resurrected Christ literally dwelling within you.

Yes, Christ died to give us forgiveness of our sins. But in receiving Christ we get so much more—His resurrection life! As a result, we are now born of God (1 John 5:4), and we have become partakers of His divine nature:

For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust. (2 Peter 1:4)

*From the new bestselling book Twisted Scripture: 45 Lies Christians Have Been Told by Andrew Farley. Get Your Copy Here to begin untangling more lies!

Photo Credit: GettyImages/leolintang


Originally published May 20, 2019.