Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Christ Died That We Might Live For Him

I made a commitment this year to take some time, during lent, to reflect on the reasons why Jesus came to die. The Easter Story, as it's so often told is a great reminder of how God, in his infinite love, mercy and grace sent his Son to die on the cross as the atonement for man's sin and to restore for humanity a right relationship with God. However, as I'm reading, 50 Reasons Jesus Came to Die, what I've been reminded of is that there was so much more at work in Christ's death than we often give credit for.

The ministry of reconciliation (2 Cor. 5:18-19) is so much deeper than God restoring a right relationship with humanity. In the past, when I've reflected on why Jesus came...I would find myself getting caught in the pattern of thinking that it was about us...that Jesus came to get us back. Certainly this is a piece of what Jesus was accomplishing during his ministry and by his death and Resurrection...but that is all it is...just one piece. When sin entered the world, through Adam and Eve's disobedience, something much greater than man's relationship with God was lost. The most significant thing that was lost when man fell was the fact that God's creation no longer bore the reflection of God's glory and his holiness. The echoes of sin stretched far beyond Adam and Eve...and while sin entered the world through one man, all of creation was subjected to the futility of sin. (Romans 8:20-21)

When God created us, he did so with the intention that we would be an image of his glory. Adam and Eve (along with all creation) were perfect reflections of God's glory. They weren't glorious in and of themselves, but they were an echo of God's glory...pointing back to God's glory, for God's glory. When a painter paints a picture the painter's creation is a reflection of the painter's talents. The more marvelous, unique and wonderful the painting, the more the painter is esteemed for their talents. So it is with God's creation. We were created to be both a perfect and physical image of God's glory. When sin entered the world, that perfect image of God (seen in his creation) was destroyed. The only way God's glory could be restored was if the destructive nature of sin could be conquered, and righteousness could once again be seen in God's creation. I know it may sound strange, but Jesus died to restore his own glory. A glory which was lost by man's sin.

“Christ died that we might live for him” does not mean “that we might help him.” “[God is not] served by human hands, as though he needed anything” (Acts 17:25). Neither is Christ: “The Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45). What Christ died for is not that we might help him, but that we might see and savor him as infinitely valuable. He died to wean us from [sin's] poisonous pleasures and enthrall us with the pleasures of his beauty. In this way we are loved, and he is honored. These are not competing aims. They are one. | John Piper - 50 Reasons Why Jesus Came to Die (pg. 83 - see attached)

My prayer in all of this is that each of us will make efforts in our individual lives...during this time of reflection leading up to Easter...to think about all that was lost because of sin. To think about all that is still lost in this world because of sin. You and I were created to be echoes of God's glory for the whole world to see, but because of sin we are unable to reflect God's glory. And along came Jesus. Christ came to restore for himself the glory which he deserved and part of the collateral blessing which came from Christ's work on the cross and his Resurrection from the dead is that our relationship with God can now be reconciled if we put our faith and trust in Christ's work on our behalf. I pray that we will make it our aim to encourage each other to see that we were all created to echo God's glory. And that through our belief in Christ's work on the cross, we have also died to sin and are now called to live for Christ. Not to help him...but to reflect his glory. We have been given the Holy Spirit who came to glorify Jesus (John 16:14) And because of Christ's work and the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit in our lives, we are no longer slaves to sin, but are now slaves to righteousness (Romans 6:15-16). And that we have been reborn in order that we will live our lives as a reflection of God's glory, for God's glory.

Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. | 2 Corinthians 5:20 (ESV)

For His Glory,


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