– We need to be saved because we are totally lost in sin. It’s not that we need to save ourselves—we cannot do so—but that we need to be saved. The Bible teaches the total depravity of the human race; that is, every aspect of our being has been corrupted by sin. “There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands; there is no one who seeks God. All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one” (Romans 3:10–12). We need the Good Shepherd to seek out the lost sheep and bring them home, rejoicing (see Luke 15:3–6).

– We need to be saved because we are under God’s wrath. We are “by nature deserving of wrath” (Ephesians 2:3). Without salvation, we stand condemned: “Whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son” (John 3:18). We need Jesus Christ, the Righteous One, to propitiate the wrath of God and receive our judgment.

– We need to be saved because we are in danger of hell. After death comes judgment (Hebrews 9:27), and, if we die without God’s salvation, we will meet the same fate as the rich man who lifted up his eyes “in Hades, being in torment” (Luke 16:23, ESV). We need a Savior to rescue us from a fate literally worse than death.

– We need to be saved because we are spiritually dead. Before salvation, we are “dead in [our] sins” (Colossians 2:13). Dead people can do nothing for themselves. We need resurrection. We need the life-giving power of Christ, who alone can conquer death.

– We need to be saved because our hearts are hardened by evil. “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?” (Jeremiah 17:9). The unsaved “are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts” (Ephesians 4:18). We need a supernatural work of the Holy Spirit to fix our hearts and align them with God’s will.

– We need to be saved because we are enslaved to sin and Satan. “Jews and Gentiles alike are all under the power of sin” (Romans 3:9). In our natural state, we are held in Satan’s snare and bound by his will (2 Timothy 2:26). We need a Redeemer to liberate us. In Christ we “have been set free from sin” (Romans 6:18).

– We need to be saved because we are at odds with God. “The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. Those who are in the realm of the flesh cannot please God” (Romans 8:7–8). We need Jesus, the Prince of Peace, to reconcile us to God and bring us into the family of God as adopted sons and daughters.

When Jesus told Nicodemus, “You must be born again,” He spoke of necessity (John 3:7). Being saved—receiving the new birth—is not just a nice idea or a divine suggestion. It is the deepest need of the human soul: “You must be born again.”