- Should a Christian Be Afraid of God?
- The Resurrection: A Matter of Reason or a Matter of Faith?
- Can We Learn from the Cults?
- Should We Be Waiting or Working As We Anticipate Christ's Return?
- Did Christ Come to Live or to Die for Us?
- Is Man Like God or Unlike God?
- Should a Christian Be Self-Controlled or Spirit-Controlled?
- Isn't the Holy Spirit All I Need to Understand the Bible?
- Can We Come to God Just As We Are?
- Is It Ever Right to Judge Others?
- Are We the Result of Our Parents' Choices?
- Does God Hold Us Responsible for Other People's Sin?
- Self-Esteem: Is It Right or Wrong?
Did Christ Come to Live
Or to Die for Us?
Popular books and movies about Christ tend to emphasize His exemplary life, but they portray His death as untimely and unfortunate. In sharp contrast, many conservative Christians say very little about Christ's life and teachings, focusing instead on the cross and the empty tomb. Which is it? Did Christ come to live for us, or did He come to die for us? The answer isn't one or the other, it is both.
HE CAME TO LIVE FOR US
- By living as God among men, He showed us what God is like (John 14:9).
- By living out the human experience, He showed us how God wants us to live (1 John 2:6).
- By living an unembittered, unretaliating, uncomplaining life, even in the face of suffering and death, He showed us how to endure the problems of life (1 Peter 2:21-23).
- By living a perfect life, He was qualified to be our Savior (Rom. 5:9, 10; Heb. 5:8,9).
- By living obediently in the face of temptation, He showed us how to overcome evil (Matt. 4:1-11; Heb 2:18; 4:15).
HE CAME TO DIE FOR US
- His death on the cross was predicted in the Old Testament as His central mission (Psalm 22; Isa. 52:13-15; Isa. 53).
- His death on the cross was the means by which He became our Savior, fulfilling the message of the angel to the virgin Mary (Matt. 1:21; Heb. 2:14,15).
- His death on the cross was announced by John the Baptist at the beginning of His ministry when John declared, "Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world" (John 1:29).
- His coming death on the cross was in His mind from the very beginning of His public ministry as "the hour" for which He had come into this world (John 2:19-22; 10:11,17,18; 12:23,27; 13:1; 6:32; 17:1).
- His death on the cross was just as necessary for the salvation of sinners, as the death of a seed to produce a plant (John 12:24, 32,33).
As you can see, the Bible teaches that Christ came both to live for us and to die for us. Neither His life without His death nor His death without His life would be adequate for our complete salvation.
Through the active obedience of Christ's perfect life, He showed us what God is like, gave us the supreme example, and fulfilled God's law on our behalf. Through His passive obedience--His suffering and His crucifixion--He "Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree" (1 Peter 2:24).