If I were to ask you who did Jesus come to die for, whether you believe he is the truth or not you would most likely say "us, or humanity or 'the world'". If I were to ask you who did he save us from, if we thought long and hard at an answer to this I don't know if a lot of people can say what he saved us from. Perhaps some would say sin but also I think a lot of people would say he came to save us from the wrath and anger of God. This will have been taught a lot yesterday.
A leading preacher in the states puts it this way
Satan’s work is not the chief peril dealt with in the death of Christ. God’s wrath is. God is opposed to us in his righteous wrath, and he is for us in his love.
The gospel summed up for a lot of people around the world is that;
1. God made you but you're a filthy rotten sinner and he's VERY angry at you.
2. God who made you is going to pour his wrath on you and throw you into the fiery pit of hell because of this.
3. If you say a prayer to Jesus and live a 'good' life Jesus will get you off the hook with his Father and you'll live with them in heaven (with the holy spirit as well).
Now something in the midst of that sounds messed up to me. Yes we have absolutely turned away from God through making ourselves number one and breaking his heart everyday with decisions that go against how he would want us to live (for our own good, not because he's a tyrant). Sin is real and I give it to it far more than I should. However JESUS is the answer to everything and his reasons for coming are far beyond anything we could possibly imagine.
1 John 3:8 tells us
The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil's work.
Hebrews 2:14 also tells us that
Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might destroy him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil
Jesus came to defeat evil, moreso to overcome evil with love. The gospel is pretty clear that it was us who despised and rejected him. We mocked him, spat at him and drove the final nail into his hand.
This didn't take the Trinity by surprise. They knew we didn't get it. They knew we had the Father all wrong. That's why Jesus came. The cross cannot be separated from his ministry; everything he did was to overcome evil with love.
This brings me to one of my most favourite sections in scripture
2 Corinthians 5:17-21
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men's sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ's ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ's behalf: Be reconciled to God. God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
It is often alluded to as I said previously that Jesus came to convince the Father not to pour his wrath on us. That Jesus saves us from his Father.
The above verses tell us how misguided this thinking is. Jesus infact came to reconcile us to God NOT God to us. He didn't have to convince God the Father of anything. WE needed the convincing. We needed to realise who the Father really is. Everything about Jesus ministry was like a big proclamation "This is what my Father is like", this is what his heart is". It is for humanity. It is for the sinner.
If the cross teaches us anything it is the lengths a Father would go to for his children. The lengths the trinity went to to convince us that they actually love us UNCONDITIONALLY. We just need to acknowledge it and see the Father and Jesus and the Spirit for who they really are. The fact that Jesus even became a man shows how much the Trinitarian God wants to share their unfathomable love relationship with us. He descended into our darkness to reconcile us to his Father.
The fact that Jesus came to defeat the enemy and he rose from the dead (can I get a hallelujah from the back!) means that infact victory is won. Sin has lost it's power, death has lost it's sting, from the grave he's risen; victoriously!
What are we to do with this amazing truth that Jesus died for us, he took our place (I do not deny for a second the seriousness of our sin or our deserving of death for it) and that he came to set the captives free?
Well it leads me back to those verses in 2 Corinthians
he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ's ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ's behalf: Be reconciled to God.
We are to be Christ to those around us. We are to convince them of the Fathers love. We are infact called to love as Christ did. We are called to lay down our rights and pick up the cross and pursue relationships and view people as God views them. Give, love, sacrifice; BE Jesus to people till it hurts. No point in talking about Jesus unless you act like him. I read the following somewhere and I pray I will be a bringer of the kingdom of God to all those I meet.
“When you realize sin doesn’t make you worthless it just makes you lost, you will know God’s compassion for people caught in sin, not contempt for them.”