Jesus Came to Die to Bring Us to God
I once watched a car commercial where a gravelly voiced narrator told viewers that the “journey was the point.” In other words, where you’re going doesn’t really matter. The purpose is the trip. I suppose this makes the idea of buying a nice car all the more appealing.
I also remember hearing a song promote the idea that getting to the top of the mountain wasn’t the point – it was the climb – that was the point. Now, I like to take my life advice from teenage pop-starts as much as the next person, but, really, this is utter nonsense.
And, sadly, some people think this way when it comes to the death of Jesus. They think, or assume, that Jesus largely did what he did as an example to us. In other words, he came, did some inspiring stuff, and because of his inspiring stuff we can follow his example and have a “better trip” through this life.
But the Bible says something better.
1 Peter 3:18, “18 For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit…”
Notice the key truths here:
- Christ was righteous (this goes back to Day One of our series and reminds us that it’s through Christ’s righteousness that we are saved – not our own)
- We are unrighteous – so Christ could not have come simply as our example, inspiring us to improve our lives. We are in the wrong and the righteous Son of God must do something that accords with justice toward us in our injustice/unrighteousness
- What did he do? It says, though he could have poured out his justice, instead, he “suffered” for the unrighteous
- This suffering in our place had a goal. It was SO THAT he might “bring us to God.”
Allow me to use a borrowed but helpful analogy. If salvation were a road trip, Scripture tells us that God the Father is, in fact, the goal of the trip. He is the destination. Life is meant for living with God. The Son, then, is the road. No man “comes to the Father” expect through Jesus Christ. And this would make the Holy Spirit the car. In the power of the Holy Spirit, we reach the Father by the road of the Son, Jesus Christ. Salvation is a Triune work. Jesus came to die, but he did not come to bring us inspiration alone. He came to die for our sins, that we might be brought to the Father in the power of his heart transforming Holy Spirit.
The good news of the gospel is good news because it “brings us to God.”
Quote: “Forgiveness is not good news if it only gives relief from guilt and doesn’t open the way to God. Justification is not good news if it only makes us legally acceptable to God but doesn’t bring fellowship with God. Redemption is not good news if it only liberates us from bondage but doesn’t bring us to God. Adoption is not good news if it only puts us in the Father’s family but not in his arms.” (John Piper, Fifty Reasons Why Jesus Came to Die, p. 62)
Remember this week: God is the goal – that’s why Jesus died for you.