Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Jesus as Savior or Jesus as Example?

Is Jesus Christ primarily our Savior? Or, is Jesus Christ primarily our example?

Among traditional conservatives Jesus is primarily Savior. What I mean is that their focus tends to be what Jesus Christ has done on the cross to save them from their sins. His death pays for their transgressions and allows them to go to heaven. What Jesus accomplished at Calvary trumps both how he lived and what he taught while on earth.

Within the liberal Christian camp the emphasis almost always upon what Jesus taught about how to live. These folks stress Jesus displaying a peaceful lifestyle, not engaging in or sanctioning violence, caring for the poor and needy, and avoiding materialism. While they give a head nod to Jesus' death on the cross, they speak of it in terms of being an example to us rather than a sacrifice for us.

Both the traditional conservatives and the liberals have gotten it wrong. Jesus Christ is both our sacrifice and our example. Neither aspect of his life should be elevated over the other. He has both saved us from the eternal death we deserve and has taught/shown us how to live as members of his Kingdom. Both are critical.

Speaking as a conservative, I'm tired of how other conservatives sweep portions of Jesus' life and teachings under the rug. These often include the sharing of goods with others, meeting the needs of the poor, turning the other cheek, emphasizing peace, and not demanding what we perceive to be our rights. Ironically and sadly, it is often the liberals (many of whom do not even understand their own need for salvation) who follow these teachings of Christ more than conservatives do.

Brothers and sisters, let's take Jesus' example to us very seriously. Yes, Christ came to earth to die for sinners. He also came preaching the Kingdom of God. His intent was to save us to live as the new creations he made us into. We must, therefore, seek to be the people we in fact are. To do that we need to cherish Christ's teachings and example as much as we do his sacrifice.


Josh said...

Amen, bro. Good thoughts.

Eric said...

Thanks Josh!