To have a relationship with Jesus, we also need to understand the biblical truth that “the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23). “Wages” are payment for what we do. So, the payment or result of our sin is “death”—this is speaking of spiritual death, eternal separation from God in the place the Bible calls hell.
To have a relationship with Jesus, we also need to grasp a third truth—and this is a wonderful one: God loves us in spite of our sins, and He sent His Son Jesus Christ to die for us, as our Substitute. “God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners” (Romans 5:8, NLT). He didn’t wait for us to clean up our act or somehow overcome our sin (an impossibility); rather, He sacrificed Himself for us while we were still estranged from Him. He chose to take the punishment that we deserved. He took our place!
Then, we need to admit that there’s absolutely nothing we can do to save ourselves or to contribute to our salvation. On the basis of Christ’s sacrifice, God forgives our sins by grace, that is, by an undeserved blessing. “It is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast” (Ephesians 2:8–9). The Lord Jesus has already done all the work (John 19:30), and He did it perfectly! Salvation is not about what we can do but about what Christ has done.