2008-03-19 - Why Did Christ Die?
Titus 2:14, "Who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed, and purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds."
I have in mind some devotionals on this topic. The first, here presented, asks why Christ came, and the second asks what He accomplished. The first answer as to why Christ became incarnate, conceived by the Holy Spirit, and born of the Virgin Mary, is to save sinners. As the verse above from Titus tells us, "That He might redeem us." We could easily multiply examples from Scripture, but let us just give one more, 1 Timothy 1:15, "It is a trustworthy statement, deserving full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, among whom I am foremost of all." As you read this, this might seem like covering old ground to you, but I ask that you pay close attention to this devotional, and the second part - because if we get this wrong - we get everything wrong. If we err here, we have failed in all. Nothing in our faith, doctrine, practice - yes, nothing in our lives - matters more than understanding why Christ died, believing it to be true, and accepting His gracious mercy by faith.
We are told in Luke 19:10, from Christ Himself, "For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost." It was the intention of Christ to save sinners. Saving a people, saved unto God the Father, from all eternity, was the reason why Christ became incarnate and was "found in appearance as a man," Philippians 2:8, Ephesians 5:25-27. Christ came to save sinners, and deliver them (us, who rest in His Atonement) from their sins.
Let us note something practical here. Christ didn't come to save the righteous. He came to "redeem us from every lawless deed," which implies that He came to save sinners, not respectable people. Paul himself says that he was the foremost of sinners (1 Tim. 1:15). In fact, if we think a little, we will have to admit that we find that it is usually those who feel the deepest need of forgiveness in Christ, that prize His grace the most. Christ didn't come to save the righteous. The righteousness don't need a savior. Christ saves sinners.
It is a common thought with some that Christ came to save those who go to church, take the Lord's Supper, have been Baptized, forsaken the "big" noticeable sins, tithe, and pray. In other words, those who do their best to do the right thing are those who Christ saves. This may be a common thought today, but it is not a common thought found in Scripture. Those who are saved may do all those things just listed and more, but their being saved has nothing to do with the works they do. To propose that such efforts play a role in Christ saving us is to have a mixed view of salvation, which is unbiblical. The Gospel is not for good people. Good people don't need the Gospel. The Gospel, the Atonement of Jesus Christ, is for sinners. The Bible gives no hope to those who wish to help save themselves. Christ came to save, and He must save us, or we be not saved.
So we ask the question, Why did Christ come into the world? We answer; Christ came into the world to save sinners.
Soli Deo Gloria,