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Entries in purposes of Christ's death (17)

Wednesday
Apr032013

Purposes of Christ's Death: Summing It All Up

Click on the links to read the commentary on each scripture passage and explanations of the purpose statement(s) found there.

God intended for Christ’s death to

  1. conquer death and the fear of death by giving eternal life. 
    John 3:16-17
    1 Thessalonians 5:9-10
    Romans 14:9
    Hebrews 2:14-15

  2. justify people in a righteous way.
    Romans 3:24-25
    2 Corinthians 5:21

  3. take care of the curse of the law by bearing it for us and fulfilling the laws requirements within us.
    Galatians 3:13-14
    Romans 8:3-4

  4. reconcile people to God and to each other.
    1 Peter 3:18
    Ephesians 2:14-16

  5. conquer sin by putting it away and freeing people from bondage to it.
    Hebrews 9:26b
    Galatians 1:3-5

  6. fulfill the promise to Abraham.
    Galatians 3:13-14

  7. prove that God is just.
    Romans 3:24-25

  8. create a new kind of people with a new way of life.
    Galatians 1:3-5
    2 Corinthians 5:14-15
    1 Peter 2:24
    Titus 2:14
    Ephesians 5:25-27

  9. make possible God’s adoption of sons and ensure their inheritance.
    Hebrews 9:15
    Galatians 4:4-5

  10. gather everything together in Christ and place Christ as Lord-of-All.
    Ephesians 1:7-10
    Colossians 1:19-20

A few concluding thoughts on these posts on the purposes of Christ’s death. 

  • I looked at the explicit purpose statements for Christ’s death found in scripture. But every result of Christ’s death is also an intended purpose of for it, because God has the power and wisdom to do things so exactly what He wishes is accomplished. There are no unintended results from anything God does, and that includes the Father sending the Son to die. So, for instance, we know that one of the results of Christ’s death is that we have good news to proclaim to people worldwide. This, then, is also something God purposed to accomplish with Christ’s death, and it isn’t a secondary or less important purpose because it isn’t listed above.

  • I call them purposes of Christ’s death, but they aren’t separate or unrelated purposes. They are all part of the one big, multifaceted purpose found at the end of the list. Stating them separately may be the only way we can see the details of the whole, but at the same time, we must remember that they are each a piece of one marvelous many-sided accomplishment showing the manifold wisdom of God to us.

  • This list reveals how widespread the results of sin and how much we have lost. It also show us how great God’s wisdom is, that in one perfect act he could make everything absolutely right again.
Friday
Mar292013

Purposes of Christ's Death: Hebrews 26:b

This is another edited and reposted piece from an old series of posts examining the purpose statement that scripture gives us regarding the death of Christ. 

… he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.

(Hebrews 9:26, ESV)

This statement from Hebrews tells us that Christ’s death (or His sacrifice) was “to put away sin.” It seems like a simple statement, but before I began this post, I could have guessed what it meant, but I wouldn’t have been sure.

One of the main points of the book of Hebrews is that the New Covenant instituted by Christ is much better than the Old Covenant. The writer of Hebrews urged his readers,who were  most likely Jewish Christians, to hold fast to Christ and his perfect covenant, and to not be drawn back to the familiar ways of the old imperfect system. He contrasts the old with the new, showing that the old system was not the real deal, but a pointer to and a picture of the true and complete covenant that had now been now instituted. 

For since the law has but a shadow of the good things to come instead of the true form of these realities … . (Hebrews 10:1a ESV)

The bottom line is that the blood sacrifices of the Old Covenant were unable to take away sins (10:4). They accomplished some kind of outward cleansing, but no inward cleansing (Hebrews 9:13—14). And they had to be repeated over and over again, showing that what they accomplished was only temporary. Consequently, the sacrificial system served as a reminder of the sin problem rather than a solution to it (10:1-3). 

But in Christ, the answer for sin arrived. He  was offered “once to bear the sins of many (9:28).” No more repetitious sacrifices needed; no more constant reminders of sin. It is a finished; sin is finally, truly, forever put away, because Christ “has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.”

Another of the purposes of Christ’s death is to put away sin once for all time.


1 Or his audience, if the text of was first a sermon.

Wednesday
Mar202013

Purposes of Christ's Death: Romans 8:3-4

This is one more edited and reposted piece from an old series of posts examining the purpose statement that scripture gives us regarding the death of Christ. 

For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, [4] in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. (Romans 8:3-4 ESV)

The purpose statement in this text is found in verse four: “… in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.”

This is another purpose statement that refers to the law. We’ve already seen that Christ’s death removes the curse of the law. We all stand condemned because of our disobedience to God’s law, but Christ’s death removes this condemnation from those who are united to him. And this purpose statement from Romans 8 goes one step further. Yes, dying as a human being (in the flesh) Christ paid the penalty for sin (condemned sin), but his death also made it possible for those who belong to him to do what the law commands. 

Verse 3 says that that law was “weakened by the flesh.” Sinful corruption (the flesh) causes us all to be disobedient to the law, and this universal human disobedience turns God’s good law into a source of condemnation rather than blessing. God’s solution is to send his Son to die, removing condemnation for those who believe, and, in this way, giving the Spirit access to them. Based on the finished work of Christ, the Spirit works within each believer, enabling them to obey the law. Through Christ’s death God gives us power us to keep his commandments. 

Another of the purposes of Christ’s death is that those who belong to him would fulfill the requirements of the law through the work of the Spirit.

Wednesday
Mar062013

Purposes of Christ's Death: John 3:16-17

Last week’s post examining the purpose statements for the death of Christ given in scripture was supposed to be the last, the one with the purpose statement that summed up all the other purpose statements. But I discovered that in my reposting of the old posts, I’d skipped three that I wanted to include. Here is one of them, late and out of order.

What might be the most familiar verse in the Bible contains a purpose statement for the death of Christ. So does the verse that follows it.

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. [17] For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. (John 3:16-17 ESV)

The purpose statement in the verse 16 is obvious: “that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” God sent his son into the world so that all who believe on him will have eternal life instead of the condemnation due them because of of their sin. This is the way God loved the world: He provided a way, through the death of His own son, for anyone who believes to be given eternal life instead of the eternal judgment to which they are already sentenced. (see verse 18).

Verse 17 gives us two statements about the purpose of Christ’s death. First it tells us something that was not God’s purpose in sending his son. Christ didn’t come to condemn the world, at least not in this first advent, when he came to die. 

He came, rather, for the purpose of saving the world. He accomplished this by providing the means for all believers—not only Jews, but Gentiles, too—to have eternal life rather than condemnation. 

God intended for Christ’s death to provide a way for everyone who believes in Him to have eternal life instead of eternal judgment, and this way, for him to save the world.

Thursday
Feb282013

Purposes of Christ's Death: Ephesians 1:7-10; Colossians 1:19-20

This is another updated and reposted piece from an old series of posts examining the purpose statement that scripture gives us regarding the death of Christ. 

I saved these two texts for last, and there’s a reason for that. Here’s the text from Ephesians:

In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, [8] which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight [9] making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ [10] as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth. (Ephesians 1:7-10 ESV)

Did you see the purpose statement at the end? The plan was

…to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth

I’d call this a summary statement of all scripture’s purpose statements concerning the death of Christ. God intended for Christ’s death to restore everything that was lost in the fall. All the nasty results of the presence of sin in creation are returned to perfect order through the work of Christ on the cross.

The verses from Colossians 1 say something similar.

For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, [20] and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross. (Colossians 1:19-20 ESV) things

Whenever you see the word pleased used in relation to God doing something, it’s a statement of purpose. It refers to what God wanted to accomplish. God purposed for his fullness to dwell in Christ, and through Christ’s work to reconcile all things to himself.

And that’s what God did. The peace that is accomplished through the sacrificial death of Christ brings the reconciliation of all things to God.

All was lost for us through Adam’s disobedience, and all is recovered — and then some — through Christ. Condemnation came through Adam, but justification comes through Christ. Death for us all came through Adam, but life comes through Christ. Adam’s disobedience makes us sinners, but Christ’s obedience makes us righteous. (Romans 5) 

Christ’s death is the start of a whole new creation. First, there’s the new creation within the lives of those who are united with Christ, so that every effect of sin in them will eventually be banished. In Christ’s death they are reconciled to God, adopted as sons and daughers, and restored to the inheritance lost in the fall. 

A new kind of humanity is born. It’s a nation where every person is a priest with the same direct access to the Father that Adam had before he disobeyed. It’s a nation where everyone is a king waiting to be restored to the perfect dominion over creation that Adam had before the curse.

The animosity between people groups that resulted from the fall will be done away with through Christ’s reconciling work. Jew and Gentile, male and female, slave and free, rich and poor, are brought together into this one new humanity consisting of the redeemed from every kindred, tongue, people, and nation. 

But there’s more. The “all things” summed up in Christ reaches beyond the human sphere. In his death, Christ “disarmed the rulers and authorities”, and “made a public display of them, having triumphed over them….” (Colossians 2). The forces of evil that hold creation captive to the corruption that came with the fall have lost the war because of Christ’s death on the cross. The forces of the dark side are put in their place, stripped of all power. These “things in heaven” are restored through Christ’s death. 

And creation, now groaning, struggling, and longing to be made whole again, will get its wish for restoration when the sons and daughters of God are glorified (Romans 8). There will be no more death and decay, famine or natural disasters, diseases of the body and mind. There will be no more dog eat dog in the animal world. All will made right; all will be restored. 

All things reconciled in Christ means no more cancer, no more mental illness, no more disabilities, no more bodies that grow old and infirm, no more chickweed and dandelions in the veggie garden. All the chickweed I pulled this last summer has already lost the battle; it just doesn’t know it yet. Cancer cells will become history through the death and resurrection of Christ. I will no longer chase my coyote-bait cat back into the safety of the house, because coyote and kitty will lie down together when creation is made whole again. 

Christ is taking it all back. The fullness of time began with Christ’s death, and the fullness will be realized completely when those united with him come into their glory as children of God. Their glory becomes the glory of all of creation, and this exalts the one who died in order to unite all things. 

The renewed, summed up, gathered together, made right creation will look like this: There will be an exalted Christ, given 

the name that is above every name,  so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Philippians 2:9-11 ESV) 

The overarching purpose of Christ’s death is to make everything absolutely right again.