Stop misunderstanding the purpose of the Crucifixion.
In Judea over 2,000 years ago, the world bore witness to both the single most horrific act in human history and the most incredible miracle within 72 hours. Men and women in Jerusalem watched, even if they did not know it, as humans laid hands on none other than God Himself and nailed Him to a cross. Three days later, women discovered that He had risen again. In doing so, He saved us all from sin and Satan. He faced down one of the most torturous deaths ever conceived for us, for sinners, for those that killed Him. When He was crucified, Jesus’ death made the Kingdom of God available to His children again. In order to once again restore to them the life with God they had lost, Christ was nailed to a cross and died willingly. Christians, however, sometimes forget exactly why Jesus died. The miracle is so all-encompassing that we believe it covers things that had nothing to do with Jesus’ crucifixion, but we can’t force our own willful desires as a substitution for God’s purpose and plan. Here are six things Christians can be certain Jesus did not go to the cross for.
Selfishness should be an anathema to Christians. It should be the sort of thing we are horrified to encounter in ourselves and our lives. It should be something we loathe and try furiously to excise from our lives. After all, Christians are called to be selfless. Christians are allowed to be ambitious and should celebrate successes that are fairly earned, but they should never allow themselves to be self-centered. They should certainly never think that Christ died to enable them to pursue their own personal agenda. Whether in business, ministry or personal pursuit, Jesus did not die for selfish motives. It’s not a sin for Christians to be successful, but when the motivating force behind it is selfishness and not to give God glory, this is anti-Kingdom.
“So we could live comfortable and convenient lives.”
When trials, suffering or any type of hardship hits our perfect Christian lives, we automatically think it can’t be from God. It must be from Satan! The truth, however, is God uses persecution to test our faith and build us spiritually. It is in trials and tribulations that we are reminded how little we are without God. We are forced to examine our lives, our hopes, our dreams and our mortality. As the heat of persecution rises, we have nothing to hold on to except for God. During trials, some people fall away and abandon their faith. This is not the correct response. Instead, grab hold of Christ. Cling to Him and know that there is a reason for your suffering. There is some lesson you are meant to learn that God could teach you no other way. So focus on Him, and learn.
“To make the American Dream happen for us.”
The American Dream is a beautiful thing, and even more incredible is the fact that is is achievable. It takes time, but people can work their way up the social ladder. Money, cars, kids, a house and a dog, this is fulfilling in many ways. It should not, however, be the sum total of our existence. It should not be all that we are living for on this Earth especially for followers of Christ. As Christians, we are called to impact culture for the Kingdom of Heaven and live our lives as witnesses for Christ, not to focus solely on material and earthly gains. The Bible says seek first the Kingdom of God not riches. As you do this, those things will attract themselves to you in God’s timing.
“Fake, cosmetic Christianity.”
Jesus is normally portrayed and remembered as being calm, soothing and wise. There was one issue, however, that so enraged Him that He began to, very literally, flip tables. Religious hypocrisy was the most surefire way to enrage Christ. It was one thing that really got under Jesus’ skin, and this was especially true with the religious dignitaries of His day. What was supposed to be a pure connected relationship with God became a performance of false spirituality. This is no more endearing to Jesus today than it was 2,000 years ago. Jesus didn’t die so our relationship with Him could be something we put on and take off like make-up, it should be fixed permanently in our heart.
“For Christian over-activity and busyness.”
Christian life today is full of programs, conferences and the next great book to read. There are more Christian things to do than you can shake a stick at, and the number increases every day. These are all wonderful ways to grow your faith and increase your participation in Christian fellowship. They are not, however, the point of Jesus’ death on the cross. Jesus died so that we could have more than an influx of Christian activity. He died so that we could invest in deepening our intimacy with God. Don’t let your Christian walk be so bogged down with “things to do” that you forget to just be with Him. Your relationship with Christ is about quality more than quantity. Running from conference to conference and never pausing to hear God speak will not help your soul.
“So that we wouldn’t have to.”
Jesus did die so that we would not have to. He suffered on the cross in order to save us from the grips of death and darkness. Without Him and His death, we would have all been doomed to suffer for our sins. Christ saved us from that fate when He died on the cross and rose again on the third day. The Resurrection, however, does not mean that we can simply sit back and enjoy the knowledge that we are saved. Christ made it clear over and over in the Scriptures that He also expects us to take up our cross and follow Him. As He said in the Bible to His disciples, we have to choose to die to ourselves and the world of sin. it is only then that the life of Jesus can grow and have a greater place in us.
Jesus died for us all, there is no doubt of that. That fact is made clear in the Bible over and over again. Jesus died for His people, for us. It is also a point that is hammered home in every worship service from every Christian denomination each and every week. We hear every week that He died for us, but sometimes we believe He died for things He did not. Stop assigning extra things to the crucifixion and resurrection. What Christ did for us then is astonishing enough without willful, and often selfish, embellishment.