Salvation is not (just) what Christ does. It’s what He is

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Christianity teaches that Christ is the Savior of the world (John 4:42). It teaches that Christ has died, offering Himself as a ransom for the sins of all people (1 Tim. 2:6). John has a particularly profound way of making the point:

If anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; and he is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.

1 John 2:1-2 New Revised Standard Version

I think it is important to meditate very closely on what John says here.


For most people, there is a distinction between what they do and who they are. For most people, you can’t limit their entire identity to their day job, so to speak! The manager of your favorite restaurant is not merely a restaurant manager. She might also be a wife, a mother, a fan of baseball, an amateur painter, and so on. Your father was a father and a husband, but he also had various hobbies and interests, in addition to being a person with a private life of his own. And I am not merely the administrator of this website! I am also a husband, a college professor, a fan of jazz music, a brother, a brother-in-law, a son, a cousin, a friend for many, and so on. For most people, there is a distinction between who they are and what they do. Most people cannot be summarized by merely describing what they do.

But if that is the case, wouldn’t the same also hold true for Christ? Unfortunately, many people think this is true. They will admit that Jesus is the Savior of the world, the ransom of all people, the advocate for sinners. But they will also include other things here. They will describe Christ as also being any number of other things. These people will say: Yes, Christ is the Savior, but He is also…

The problem with this way of thinking about Christ is that it makes us lose trust in Him. So long as I say “Christ is Savior, but…”, I am leaving open the possibility that He is not Savior for me. After all, I am a husband and a professor, but I am not a husband or professor to everyone! No one who is not my wife can expect me to be a husband to them. No one who is not my student can expect me to be a professor to them. Thus, if we say that Christ is Savior, but He is also …, we are leaving open the possibility that Christ is not a Savior to us. And this makes us lose trust in Him.

Why would this make us lose trust in Him? Because if we are honest with ourselves, we can all find things in us that would make us unworthy of Christ. We all have sins, shortcomings, failings, mistakes, grave errors that we have committed. We haven’t forgotten about them. Once we committed them, they remained permanently imprinted in our memories. We know there is nothing we can do to make them go away, to make it as if it never happened. Those words spoken cannot be taken back; that thing we did cannot be undone. And when we look into ourselves and find all these things in us, we despair! We realize that we have messed up. And when we see that we have these things “on our record,” so to speak, we can only cower in fear of the Judgment of Christ.


The way out of this situation is to think differently about Christ. We must no longer think about salvation as merely one more thing that Christ does. Rather, we must think that salvation is what Christ is. It is His very definition as a person that He is the Savior. Look at the passage once more:

He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.

1 John 2:2 New Revised Standard Version

Look at what John says! He does not say that Christ’s death was the atoning sacrifice for our sins. That would mean that atonement would be just one more thing that Christ does. It would leave open the possibility that Christ is more than just a Savior, and thus He may not be a Savior to us. Rather, John says that He, Christ Himself, the person, is the atoning sacrifice for the sins of the whole world. It’s as if he said: there is nothing more to the person of Jesus than to make atonement for sinners and to bring them to God (1 Pet. 3:18). This is the whole of His identity and the substance of the definition of His person.

So there is no room for despair! Salvation is not (just) what Christ does. It’s what He is! Christ is Himself salvation. He is your Savior and mine. He has died for our sins and made atonement for us. And He will bring us to God. Like the theologian Samuel Rutherford said, Christ cares more about us than about His own life, since He gave His life in order to have us. So we do not need to fear anything from Him. He loves us, makes atonement for our sins, and teaches us how to live like children of God, shining like stars in the darkness of the world (Phil. 2:14-15).

Welcome to “Christ is for everyone”!

Welcome to Christ is for everyone! My name is Dr. Steven Nemes and I have created this website in order to share the life-bringing teachings of Jesus Christ with everyone who will listen, whether Christian or not, religious or skeptic, atheist or unsure. You can read more about me here. You can contact me here. Let me briefly introduce what I am trying to do with this website.

Christ is for everyone! is about celebrating the goodness of life in the love of Christ. The teachings of Jesus Christ help us to understand ourselves, the world, and God so that we can see life as the most wonderful gift of all.


Jesus said that He came into the world so that His people might have “life in abundance” (John 10:10). He brings a joy that no one can take away (John 16:22) and a peace that the world cannot offer (John 14:27). He says that we are made free by knowing the truth (John 8:32). And yet so many people are without life, joy, peace, and freedom — even Christians who believe in Christ! Something has clearly gone wrong here. This raises the all-important question: How can we have this life, joy, peace, and freedom that Christ brings?

My conviction is this: If we are going to receive abundant life, permanent joy, incomparable peace, and liberating knowledge from Jesus, we have to change our ways of thinking about things. And this is in fact what Jesus Himself says. When He began His ministry, after being baptized by John in the Jordan River, He went around preaching the following message: “The times are fulfilled and the Kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe in the Good News!” (Mark 1:15) When Christ says “repent,” He does not merely mean that we have to set aside our sins and bad habits. He means that, but not only that. What He means in the fullest sense is this: Change your way of thinking! This is the sense of the Greek term (metanoeite) that Mark the Evangelist used in translating Christ’s preaching.

Thus, what Christ says is quite profound. If we are going to believe the Good News that He comes to bring, — if we are going to receive the life, joy, peace, and freedom that only this Good News can bring us, — then we are going to have to learn how to think differently about things. Indeed, I think we have to learn to think differently about everything: about ourselves, about the world, about God, and about Christ. Or, as the Apostle Paul wrote, we have to be “transformed by the renewing of our minds” (Rom. 12:2).


I have four goals with this webpage:

  • The exegetical goal: to teach people how to interpret the Bible in such a way that they can understand the Good News it brings.
  • The apologetic goal: to defend the teaching of Christ from the objections its critics bring against it.
  • The philosophical goal: to provide positive arguments and reasons for believing the teachings of Christ.
  • The spiritual goal: to cultivate a genuinely abundant, joyful, and peaceful Christian life in the world.

Everything I post will fit into at least one of these four categories. Maybe you want some help understanding what the Bible teaches and how it can be Good News. Or maybe you have encountered some arguments and criticisms against Christianity, and you want to know how to respond to them. Or maybe you are more interested in seeing whether a positive case can be made for what Christianity teaches. Or maybe you just want to cultivate a Christian life and find spiritual nourishment somewhere. Whatever your purpose may be, my goal is to provide you with what you are looking for.

Some of the posts will be for more advanced audiences, for people who are well-read in theology and philosophy. Others will be accessible to everyone, even those without a lot of specific education. In this way, I want to provide resources so that everyone can find abundant life, permanent joy, incomparable peace, and liberating knowledge in the teachings of Jesus Christ.

The most important goal of this project is the fourth one. By writing and sharing my thoughts and reflections with other people, I don’t mean to give the impression that I exist in a state of perfect life, joy, peace, and freedom. Far from it! By my writing and thinking, I am trying to achieve these things for myself and for others at the same time. In that sense, you can consider this website and its ministry as an invitation to accompany me on a journey into the teachings of Christ.

Most of the posts found on this website will also be available for listening on the Christ is for everyone! podcast.


What is the meaning of the name, “Christ is for everyone”? In fact, there are two meanings. First, what I mean to communicate is that Christ and His teachings are positive and life-bringing. Just as a good husband is “for” and not against his wife, just as good parents are “for” and not against their children, so also Christ is “for” everyone! He loves all people and wishes to bring them life, joy, and peace. Second, what I mean to communicate is that the message and Good News of Jesus Christ is relevant and accessible for absolutely everybody. No one is excluded, no one is left out, no one is disregarded by the loving teachings of Christ. And these two meanings are clearly related: the reason why no one is excluded is that Christ loves all people and wants life, joy, and peace for them all.


Because my goal with Christ is for everyone! is precisely to serve others, I have also added a “contact” form so that you can get in touch with me by email. Feel free to send me an email if:

  • you have a question you would like me to address on the blog;
  • you would like recommendations about resources for further study;
  • you have any other inquiry whatsoever!

If you find anything of value in what I write, please do share it with others! I am greatly looking forward to pursuing this work. May our Lord Jesus Christ grant all of us His abundant life, permanent joy, incomparable peace, and liberating knowledge in this life and the next.