The Son of God came to earth and had to put up with a material life until his death about 33 years later. He tolerated our weak bodies, he put up with the years of childhood and youth, he suffered through the illnesses of humanity and he then allowed the people that he had created to abuse him to the point of death. He did it all out of love for us, to save us from our sins. Jesus died to save sinners. This is the gospel story.
There are many things that are important to Christians that have negligible importance next to that fact: Jesus died to save sinners.
- Jesus didn’t die for trinitarian, reformed, Arminian or other human-thought-up doctrines.
- Jesus didn’t die for the Baptist, Pentecostal, Anglican or any denomination.
- Jesus didn’t die for Protestantism or Catholicism.
- Jesus didn’t die for church buildings or church programs.
- Jesus didn’t die so that we would be materially prosperous.
- Jesus didn’t die for America, or for any country.
- Jesus didn’t die for any political party or ideology of government.
- Jesus didn’t die for justice to be done on this earth.
- Jesus didn’t die for the environment.
- Jesus didn’t die for human rights.
These are just ten ways that Satan divides us. There are many more.
Love for any of the things of this world, even those things seemingly good, is eternally irrelevant and is a distraction. Jesus died to save sinners. The lost come to salvation through the gospel; the story of his sacrifice and provision of grace.
Main point: Jesus died to save sinners and salvation comes through the gospel. Now that he is gone from us, only the gospel is vital.
So what? If it has changed you, please treat it in the way that it matters. Please do your part to proclaim it to this world that so desperately needs it.
Could it be said that Jesus died on the cross for God’s glory? I feel like that’s may be taking it a step back, and definitely has the downstream effect of us being saved (Hallelujah!!). And I think our being saved, and our lives following that change, give glory to God as well.
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So important to remember that Jesus unites to the Father’s glory in a polarized world.
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it’s interesting you post this at this time. I’m preparing to discuss this subject at our upcoming Sunday school class. My quick response is that your conclusion is too limited. We cannot boil (reduce) down the most significant act in history to such simple terms. Limiting the response to say He died just to save sinners leads, I believe, to the spread of a Kingdom of Salvation instead of the Kingdom of God. My long-time mentor Dr Dan Fountain used to lament the fact that pastors in the DRCongo, where he served for 35 years, used to come to him and express their thanks to the missionaries that brought the good news of Jesus to Africa but they wanted to know why they didn’t hear the whole story! Meaning they were told about the Kingdom of Salvation (just get ’em saved, in the seats and giving a tithe (which in the US amounts to around 2% of “Christians” income), and that’s all there is to it) but did not hear about the full story; the Kingdom of God. The former certainly fits our Western, self-centered/hyper-individualistic culture very well since it’s all just about the individual getting saved. But it has also led to an anemic church which shys away from addressing the works of Satan. Ralph Winter once said “The principle concern of the Bible is God and his name. The destruction of his will is the problem. Now, we have turned that around into the saving of ourselves, once people are saved, that’s enough right there.” Yes He came so that sinful humans could be reconciled to the God of the universe but that’s just the beginning. We are saved so that we can become part of His army that is meant to address the evil work of Satan. We are saved so that we become involved (that’s why we are to put on the full armor of God, Eph 6) in not only the cosmic battle that is raging but also the earthly battle that rages around us. The destruction of His creation, child sex-trafficking and other forms of modern day slavery, systemic injustices, and the list goes on. Yes Jesus died to save sinners but it was so that we could then discern our calling and become part of the battle in order to bring honor to His name among all peoples.
I’m so sorry that you were not able to make this reply until this point. I hope that many people will still see it. I agree with it, wholeheartedly. I don’t see your point to be in contradiction to mine at all. I didn’t say, as you quoted me, that Jesus JUST came to save sinners, implying that that was it. Actually, this blog was designed to point out those things that Satan uses to divide us so that we put our eyes on those issues rather than putting them on the lost of the world.
Jesus said that he came to destroy the work of the devil. His vision was fixed on the cross for his whole life because he came to die for sinners. But, your point, rightly influenced by Dan Fountain and Ralph Winters, is that, as Jesus walked resolutely to the cross to die for sinners, he treated every person, mostly the marginalized, with respect and healed them. This is the physical side of building God’s kingdom.
So, putting your point and my point together, I would say that, if contemporary Christians could please look past these smokescreens being thrown up from Satan they would recognize the two priorities of the Church: 1. Take the gospel to all nations, 2. Care for the needy. i.e. Preach and Heal
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Mike, any additional thoughts are also welcome.
sorry to have mis-quoted you Charles. But I felt the overall emphasis, if read quickly, as most people are wont to do these days, was that His death on the cross was simply (as complicated as it actually is though) to save sinners. We have been plagued with this limited understanding of the Christian faith for too long. Interestingly I am in the middle of reading through John McKnights chapter 4 from “The King Jesus Gospel” which gets at this point. McKnight talks about his growing up in the “evangelical” church hearing mostly of Pauls kingdom of salvation (largely based on Romans) but then in seminary as he studied more about what Jesus preached it was all about the kingdom of God/Heaven. I’m looking forward to finishing these reads. There is also a CT article from John McKnight from DEC3, 2010 in which he talks this. I think we are in agreement on these points though I would perhaps express it differently. But then you are the published author my friend and I am not. Preach, teach, disciple, deliver and health! (this is what Jesus did as expressed in chapter 1 of Mark)
sorry, didn’t mean to write “heal” at the end, not health. Was trying to point out that in the 1st chapter of Mark, in rapid succession, Jesus began His ministry by preaching (repent and believe, the Kingdom of God is at hand) he passed along the Sea of Galilee and began His ministry of discipleship with his first followers, went to the synagogue and began teaching, while there delivered a man of a demon, then that evening went to Simon’s house and healed his mother-in-law of a fever. In addition, that evening conducted the first recorded short-term healthcare outreach in recorded history!