Why do we do what we do? What’s our motivation? What’s our actual purpose? To God, this is more important than the act itself. The act is necessary, if we are being obedient, but the why is crucial. God Himself was cognizant of His purposes and our need to understand them on the crucial points.
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. – John 3:16-17, ESV
Why did Jesus come into the world? He came into the world to save. He did not come into the world to condemn. One of the arguments against God by those who don’t believe is that God is a malicious and pernicious God because He eternally condemns those who don’t believe. However, this is like blaming the folks who wrote the laws against murder and rape when a criminal faces his or her punishment.
The reality is that we stand eternally condemned if God did nothing. We could not save ourselves. One act of disobedience was all it took. No acts of goodness before or afterwards could erase the sin we had committed. We try to practice the same attitude in our own society. If someone has appeared to live an exemplary life, but then that person commits murder, we expect them to answer for it.
The same is true of God. Except because Jesus was willing to take the punishment for our sins, there is mercy for us. This is what God intended from the start and what He delivered through His Son. In the United States we have a similar notion, a pardon, which can be granted by the head executive at various levels. To us God the Father extends His pardon if we belong to His Son. But only if we belong to His Son.
And thus we get back to the purpose of Jesus’ incarnation, life, and sacrifice: He wanted to provide a way to save us. If we miss everything else about Jesus’ life and subsequent death on Earth, we best not miss this point. God intended to save us. He provided a way, the way, the only way, and that is through Jesus. Let us rejoice for that way and for our God whose purpose was to redeem us for Himself when we could not do so on our own!