A Chinese listener asked: The lyrics in “The Internationale” sang, “There has never been a savior.” And the Gospel of John chapter 4 verse 42 says, “we know that this man really is the Savior of the world.” I wonder if Jesus is the “savior”?
Moses: my opinion is that what you are asking is a social issue; in terms of social change and the evolution of the state system, is there a hero who can turn the tide. From the ancient society to the slave society four thousand years ago, from feudal society to capitalist society and socialist society, each era has both positive and negative important figures. But no person can influence the history of humankind. Therefore, from the perspective of social system, none of human beings is the savior, that means there is no savior who can save the worldly society.
The translation of this phrase in John 4:42 “we know that this man really is the Savior of the world.” is inaccurate in Chinese. From the meaning of the original text, it should be translated as the Savior of the mankind. This “world” is used in the well-known verse of John 3:16: “God loves the world”, not “God loves the world (in Chinese as including worldly things).” Therefore, the Lord Jesus is the Savior of human beings, not the great thinker or hero who reforms society or saves the worldly systems.
The Bible and objective facts tell us that everyone has a sinful nature of selfishness. A person can do good deeds in a certain period of time, get people’s recognition and love; but in another period may involve in immoral things, criminal or degenerate. Even if people do not commit crimes in behavior, they may have the thoughts of hatred, jealousy, fornication, greed, and deception in their hearts. As a result, everyone is a sinner (on human sinful nature, please read article: the human sinful nature and contents of sins). When we learn the teachings and testimonies of the Lord Jesus, we may understand that the Savior should teach sinners how to confess and repent, how to get a new life by born again with the help of Jesus Truth and the Holy Spirit, how to continuously renew life in Jesus and pursue the Holy life by crucifying the sinful nature on the cross.
However, people who are brainwashed by evolution and atheism, as well as by various religious superstitions, find it difficult to believe in the Lord Jesus. Coupled with natural desires, physical passions, and pride, you may regard the sinful actions defined by the Bible as humanity or reasonable. At the same time, no social system and any religious beliefs and moral philosophy can liberate people from their sinful nature. Only the truth of Jesus, that is not religion, can show us an eternal life. The Lord Jesus was not the savior, nor did he want to be the savior that people were expecting (the Jewish people expected Jesus to revive the kingdom of Israel). He used His sacrificed precious blood through the self-denial on the cross to abolish the sacrifice of the old testament, and became a redemption for our sins. He was resurrected the third day after his burial, and gave us hope for eternal life. Therefore, the Lord Jesus works with the visible truth of Jesus (the Lord’s teachings and His exemplary testimony in the Bible) and the Holy Spirit for that our spirit can feel and get the divine help for confessing our sins and being regenerated our life for salvation. Then we may continue to get help in the Lord Jesus from the work of Jesus’ truth and the Holy Spirit, so that we may purify our lives, to experience the blessing of abundant life, and glorify God’s holy name with the good fruits of the new life in the Lord!
I hope my explanation can inspire and help you. Thank you again for your letter, and I look forward to continuing to answer your questions. May God give you a new life forever!