“[Christ] gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.” (Titus 2:14)
If one were to ask why Jesus died, the average evangelical would usually say that He died to save us from our sins. It is true that “Christ died for our sins” (1 Corinthians 15:3), but this is not the whole answer, by any means. Too many Christians think of the death of Christ only in terms of what it means for them—not what it meant to Him.
Our text says that He died for us and redeemed us from iniquity, not just to keep us from going to hell, but to “purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.” Paul says: “For to this end Christ both died, and rose, and revived, that he might be Lord both of the dead and the living” (Romans 14:9). He wants a people who will have Him as Lord of their lives. “Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; . . . That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish” (Ephesians 5:25-27).
“He died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again” (2 Corinthians 5:15). “How much more shall the blood of Christ . . . purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?” (Hebrews 9:14). Finally, the apostle Peter reminds us that the Lord Jesus Christ “bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness” (1 Peter 2:24), “that henceforth we should not serve sin” (Romans 6:6).
We who have been saved by the redeeming death of Christ for our sins often thank Him for what He has done for us—and we should. But we also should praise Him for what He has thereby done for Himself, and then seek always to live in such a way that His holy purpose is accomplished in our lives. HMM