I don’t know if you believe in God or not, but let’s assume you either don’t believe in Him, or you have serious doubts. Do me a favor and — just for a moment — assume that God is real. Just pretend that He exists and that He is omnipotent. This means that God is ‘perfect.’ At the same time, we know that no human is perfect, so we are going to break God’s laws — we’re going to sin. Now, if God is perfect, and we are all sinners, then God cannot allow us into His presence. If He did, He would not be perfect. This is why those who believe in God say you and I need a Savior: someone to redeem our sins. Now, assume God loves you. In fact, assume God is love. Why would you need a savior if God is love and omnipotent? Couldn’t He just forgive everything you do simply because He loves you? No, He can’t! If He did, then He would not be love. Let me explain (this is important).
You see, if God is love, then He must also be justice. And since He is perfect, then He must also be perfect justice. By this I mean, if He is love, then He will always do what is best for us — even if it hurts. So, like our own parents, He will set rules for us to follow. At the same time, like our parents, God allows us to keep our free will, so He also sets punishments if we do not follow those rules. This way, if we break the rules, our punishment is our fault — not our parents’, or God’s. And since God is perfect justice, that means He will enforce those rules and punishments — no matter what. After all, what parent who truly loves their children simply lets their children do whatever they want?
Unfortunately for many of us, human parents are incapable of perfect love. Whether it is because they don’t know better, are too tired, too busy or just don’t care, many human parents do not enforce their rules (if they even set any at all). Instead, they find it easier to ‘forgive’ their children who break their rules without making them pay the penalty for having done so. As a result, their children never learn to accept the consequences of their actions. This is why they never learn to control their own actions: they never learn self-discipline. We’ve all seen the result of such parentage, and it usually ends in ruin for the spoiled child. A perfect, omnipotent God of love would never allow this to happen to His children. Not only would He set rules for them, He will enforce them without fail so they could learn to discipline themselves.
Breaking God’s rules is called sin. God is perfect, so He cannot be in the presence of sin. If He did, it would be like He was a sheriff who was ignoring someone standing next to him who had broken the law. A sheriff has a duty to arrest law-breakers, and God has a duty to punish sinners. This means, when we sin, God has to banish us from His presence. He loves us, so He does not want to do this. It’s just that, while God is love, He is also perfect justice. This means He will enforce His laws. Luckily — because God is love — He provided a way for someone who breaks His law to be forgiven. This is also part of God’s law. It is known as redemption. So, if someone redeems you after you break His law, God will allow you back into His presence. But there’s a catch.
In ancient times, the legal system was based on redemption: paying the victim back for the cost of whatever damage you caused. If you killed someone, you paid with your life. Otherwise, you paid the value of what you took or destroyed and, if you couldn’t pay, you went to jail. If you were sent to jail, you stayed there until your debt was paid. When your debt was paid, it was said to have been redeemed. So, being redeemed meant that someone else had to pay your debt because you couldn’t do it yourself.
Now, God is perfect and we are not. That means nothing we can do will ever reach His level, so there is no way we can redeem ourselves. No work of human hands will ever be ‘good’ enough to redeem ourselves. Even if it were, you still couldn’t redeem yourself. To allow you to pay for your own debts would mean God would have to break His own law and God cannot do that because He is perfect justice. Remember, once you break God’s law, you can never come back into His presence on your own, so you would still need someone who had not broken God’s law to pay Him for your debt (sin). That means, once you sin, you are condemned to suffer the consequences. In this case, that means, once you break His law — and we all do — unless someone who has not broken the law redeems you, you will be eternally separated from God!
That is why you need a redeemer — a savior!