Section 7: Salvation – Part 2
Week 1: Adoption
Day 2: Christ Died So We Could Be Adopted Back into God’s Family
We noted yesterday that, although we were created to be God’s children, we forfeited that right through sin. In his love, God was determined to do something about that. That’s why Jesus came to earth and went to the cross. We discussed Jesus’ life and death earlier in connection with justification. Because of what he did, God declared us righteous. As a result, we are no longer condemned.
Paying the penalty for our sin was the means to a greater goal
One of the blessings that flow out of Jesus’ work, of course, is that we no longer have to worry about going to hell. As we noted in an earlier discussion, however, salvation is more than just a “get out of hell free card”. Paying the penalty for our sin and saving us from God’s judgment was an essential part of Jesus’ mission, but ultimately it was the means to a greater goal.
About a year before Jeni and I started dating, I agreed to help her dad with a landscaping project. Not my smartest decision. It was hot and humid, and he had me pushing wheelbarrows full of gravel around all day. It wasn’t fun. I count it a miracle I didn’t die from heat stroke.
How did I make it through such cruel torture? I knew Jeni was home that day and I kept imagining the effect my selfless sacrifice must have been having on her. Surely her heart had to be melting at the sight of me giving up my weekend and enduring such harsh conditions just to help her dad. Turns out it took a lot more than some landscaping to convince her to go out with me though.
Now, why was I pushing a wheelbarrow around all day? To finish a landscaping project? Yes… but only in so far as that was the means to a greater goal. I wanted a relationship with Jeni and if I had to push some gravel around the yard to it make that happen, then so be it. I was laying the groundwork (no pun intended!) for something bigger.
Jesus died to restore our relationship with God
We need to make a similar distinction when we ask the question: why did Jesus go to the cross? In one sense, the answer is he went to the cross to pay the penalty for our sin. But that wasn’t the ultimate goal. He went to the cross to restore our relationship with God.
Although God longed to relate to us as a Father, sin made that impossible. Because he is perfectly holy, God had to punish sin. That of course meant the nature of our relationship changed. We no longer related to him as child to Father, but as defendant to Judge. Jesus went to the cross to do something about that. By paying the penalty for our sin, he changed the dynamic of our relationship. Because God no longer had to serve as our Judge, he was once again free to look upon us as his children and to lavish his love upon us for all eternity.
That is ultimately why Jesus went to the cross. Yes, in doing so he saved us from hell… but that was just the means to a greater goal. He saved us from hell to bring us back home to our Father.
When you think of salvation, what springs to mind? Is a relationship with God different than simply going to heaven? Does that alter how you think about this day? About heaven itself?
In your own words, summarize salvation and the role our adoption plays in it.