What would life be like if Jesus hadn’t saved us? Everything would be different. If he had come to earth, preached for a few years, and then returned to heaven, it wouldn’t have helped us at all. Take Mark 1:15 as an example. “Repent and believe in the gospel.” For starters, if Jesus was just a preacher, we would have listened to him and then moved on to the next guy. But even if we hadn’t, we wouldn’t have been able to follow through on his preaching. Repent and believe? Oh, we can certainly repent. We have all sorts of things to repent about. But without Jesus’s salvation, there would be no opportunity for belief – for faith.
The good news is, Jesus did save us. That changes everything. He came to earth, lived as a fragile human being, suffered, died, was buried, descended into hell, and rose again – all for us. Not only when Jesus was on the cross were we on his mind. We were on his mind for his entire earthly life. He knew exactly how his every move would affect us, and he did everything purposefully for us. Jesus sacrificed himself to provide for us the opportunity to have both: to repent AND believe. But it took sacrifice AND provision to get us there, and he knew that. He knew what it would require to give us saving faith, but he did it anyway. Without Jesus to be our AND, we would be stuck. With Jesus as our AND, we are saved.