36: Christ suffered and died to create a people passionate for good works

This is part 36 of 50 in a series based on the book ‘Fifty Reasons Why Jesus Came to Die’. Read the introductory post or view all the posts in the series.

Ref : Titus 2:14.

At the heart of Christianity is the truth that we are forgiven and accepted by God, not because we have done good works, but to make us able and zealous to do them. The Bible says, “[God] saved us . . . not because of our works” (2 Timothy 1:9). Good deeds are not the foundation of our acceptance, but the fruit of it. Christ suffered and died not because we presented to him good works, but he died “to purify for himself a people . . . zealous for good works” (Titus 2:14).

Christ died to make us “zealous for good works.” Zeal means passion. Christ did not die to make good works merely possible or to produce a halfhearted pursuit. He died to produce in us a passion for good deeds. Christian purity is not the mere avoidance of evil, but the pursuit of good.

There are reasons why Jesus paid the infinite price to produce our passion for good deeds. He gave the main reason in these words: “Let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 5:16). God is shown to be glorious by the good deeds of Christians. For that glory Christ suffered and died.

Christ died to make us this kind of people—passionate to help the poor and the perishing. It is the best life, no matter what it costs us in this world: They get help, we get joy, God gets glory.

—Pages 90, 91

Am I marked by a strong and intense feeling to ‘help the poor and perishing’? Um, not always. This is why I’m glad Christ’s power can keep me faithful (see chapter 14).