Monday, March 19

Purposes of Christ's Death: Titus 2:14 and Ephesians 5: 25-27

This is another reposting of a piece from the Purposes of Christ's Death series that I began shortly after I started blogging. You can find the other reposts from this series by clicking on the purposes of Christ's death label at the end of this post.

This post looks at two portions of scripture at once, because the purpose statements in each of these texts are similar.
He gave himself for us to set us free from every kind of lawlessness and to purify for himself a people who are truly his, who are eager to do good. (Titus 2:14 NET)
Husbands, love your wives just as Christ loved the church and gave himself for her to sanctify her by cleansing her with the washing of the water by the word, so that he may present the church to himself as glorious--not having a stain or wrinkle, or any such blemish, but holy and blameless. (Ephesians 5:25-27 NET)
The purpose statement in the first verse is "to set us free from every kind of lawlessness and to purify for himself a people who are truly his, who are eager to do good"; and in the second text it is "to sanctify her by cleansing her with the washing of the water by the word, so that he may present the church to himself as glorious--not having a stain or wrinkle, or any such blemish, but holy and blameless."

Since I'm concluding these two purpose statements are similar, you can see that I'm making the assumption that the church and a people who are truly his are roughly equivalent in meaning. Each statement, then, says that a purpose of Christ's death is have a group of people who are pure or spotless. In the first verse, these people are called "a people who are truly his." The idea is ownership. These are people who belong to Christ; they are his treasured possession. In the second text, the group of people are called "the church", and you can see the idea of treasured possession here, as well, because the church is likened to Christ's bride—something He loved in the same way that husbands are encouraged to love their wives, and something that He was willing to give himself to obtain.

In Titus 2:14 it is said that Christ's death was "to set us free." This literally means "to release when a ransom is paid". Christ's death, or his giving himself for us, is intended as a ransom payment whereby His people are released from sin, and also as the basis upon which they are purified. I would take this purification to be that of the sanctifying process, although some might argue that. These purified people who belong to him are then identified by their zealousness for good works. To obtain for himself a purified people, then, is the purpose of Christ's death given to us in this verse.

In the second statement, Christ is also described as having given Himself. He gives Himself on behalf of the church, in order to sanctify her; and then, when she is completely sanctified, He presents her to Himself in all of the glorious purity that has been worked in her based on His own death for her. According to these verses, possessing a purified church is a purpose of Christ's death.

One purpose for Christ's death, then, is for Him to possess a purified people.

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