Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Bringing Us to God

1 Peter 3:18 For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit,

18 ὅτι καὶ Χριστὸς ἅπαξ περὶ ἁμαρτιῶν ἔπαθεν, δίκαιος ὑπὲρ ἀδίκων, ἵνα ὑμᾶς προσαγάγῃ τῷ θεῷ θανατωθεὶς μὲν σαρκὶ ζῳοποιηθεὶς δὲ πνεύματι·

It is tempting to try to deal with the next verse, but I think that leads to a rather esoteric discussion that brings little value.  Instead, I would like to focus on this one.  Peter is telling us about how it is better to suffer for doing good than for doing evil.  After all, if we suffer for doing evil we simply get what we have coming to us.  But if we suffer for doing good then we have problems with injustice in this world.  Peter gives us the example of Christ.

Christ suffered in His flesh.  He died an excruciating and humiliating death on a cross.  This was the ultimate human injustice because the man who never sinned died like a sinner.  Why would He do such a thing?

Ask an American Christian why Christ died and you are likely to hear something about hell.  Their concept of the cross is that Christ bought our pardon from God's wrath.  That is certainly true, but it leaves out the whole picture.  Christ died  ἵνα ὑμᾶς προσαγάγῃ τῷ θεῷ.  In other words, Christ died for the purpose that He might take us to God.  In other words, we get to avoid hell, but more importantly, we get God.

God must be the ultimate goal.  It is so easy to lose sight of this truth.  This is why I am blessed by the ministry of John Piper.  He bangs this drum over and over again.  The goal of life is not to avoid being bad.  It's not even to be good.  Salvation is not about avoiding hell.  It is about receiving the most incredible gift imaginable -- God Himself.

Is that enough for you?  Are you satisfied in Him?  If not, what else is there to satisfy you?

No comments: