It’s one of the most important questions we could ever ask, is it not? Why did Jesus die? And the Bible gives us a multifaceted answer. Jesus died …
- To cleanse us from our sins (1 John 1:7)
- To enable us to obey God’s law (Romans 8:3-4)
- To bring us to God (1 Peter 3:18)
- To “render powerless” the devil (Hebrews 2:14)
- To show that God doesn’t sweep sin under the rug (Rom 3:25)
- To bring Jews and Gentiles into one body (Ephesians 2:16)
And on and on we could go, to such an extent that John Piper has written a book called Fifty Reasons Why Jesus Came to Die!
In other words, the effects of the cross are manifold! God was working all sorts of redemptive good when He sent His Son into the world, and when He sent Him to that hill called Golgotha. And Tobey picked up on another one from one of our recent Sunday readings, and pointed out to me how wonderful it is … in 2 Corinthians 5:15 –
“and He died for all, so that they who live might no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf.”
Isn’t that marvelously straightforward? Jesus died (and rose) for us so that we might live for Him.
Now it is true, of course, that the reason we are able to live for Him in embedded in that verse (and in the other truths mentioned above). We can live for Jesus because He has died to cleanse us from sin, to enable to fulfill God’s law, to release us from the devil’s clutches, and so on. But I think our text in 2 Corinthians 5 may also be pointing out some of our motivation to live for Christ as well.
In other words, it is not only that we are able to live form Him because of His death and resurrection on our behalf (which is true and indispensable), but also that we are motivated to live for Him because of His death and resurrection on our behalf! Having seen what He has done for me, motivates me to want to do for Him. “He died for all, so that they who live might no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf.” There is motivation for Christian living! There is reason, if you can think of no other, for going all out for Christ! As the missionary C.T. Studd put it famously: “If Jesus Christ be God, and died for me, then no sacrifice can be too great for me to make for Him.”
It’s so simple, in some ways, isn’t it? Again, this is not to say that this motivation is all there is to the Christian life (far from it!). But it’s an important part of it! And our motivation really is so easy to understand. Jesus died and rose for me, so how can I not live for Him?
So let the fact of what Christ has done for you – the lengths to which He has gone to save your soul – sink in. And ask yourself, with that knowledge in hand, if you can anymore live, in good conscience, for yourself.