Jesus died on the cross to save a people who would trust in Him from the wrath of God.
Jesus rose from the grave to vindicate His own sacrifice and to be His people’s living intermediary.
The death and resurrection of Jesus were necessary to secure the eternal redemption of those who would put their trust in Him.
One way to help imagine this event is that both the death and resurrection of Jesus form the basis of a peace treaty between God and man. All of the terms for both parties have been set out in this peace treaty and it is ratified by the blood of Christ, and Christ rose from the dead to act as our living mediator.
The only thing left for us to do is to sign that treaty, agreeing to the terms therein, namely that we would let go of our sins (dead works) and bring ourselves back under God’s authority (serve the living God) for our good and for His glory.
But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things that have come, then through the greater and more perfect tent (not made with hands, that is, not of this creation) he entered once for all into the holy places, not by means of the blood of goats and calves but by means of his own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption. For if the blood of goats and bulls, and the sprinkling of defiled persons with the ashes of a heifer, sanctify for the purification of the flesh, how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify ourg conscience from dead works to serve the living God.
Therefore he is the mediator of a new covenant, so that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance, since a death has occurred that redeems them from the transgressions committed under the first covenant. (Hebrews 9:11-15)
Imagine that you are a rebel that was now newly reconciled to your formerly estranged King. Now imagine that this King commissioned you to go out and reach other people to be reconciled to the King as well. You need to reach out to your fellow rebels and tell them to be back on good terms with your estranged King.
Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. And when they saw him they worshiped him, but some doubted. And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:16-20)
I understand the phrase, “Make disciples of all nations,” as being two-fold.
-making new disciples, as in telling the gospel to people who have never heard it before
-teaching new disciples, as in cultivating the growth of immature Christians in established communities.
In other words, there is an in-reach and out-reach dimension to the Great Commission. Either way, the ideal is that once people accept Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior, or in other words, submit themselves to the authority that Jesus already possesses, they need to act accordingly. They will require Spirit-empowered teachers to tell and model for them what living under the Lord’s reign looks like, and the hope is that these students would be able to teach others as well.
On a small tangent, I like this clip from Naruto where the titular character shares his chakra with his allies during the 4th Great Ninja War. Especially around the 2:47 mark, where you see where a small group of people suddenly grow exponentially to a larger group. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EvF3We5N3Fw)
Ideally that’s how the gospel, the peace treaty inaugurated by Jesus Christ, should be spread. The gospel begins with reconciled people telling rebels to seek forgiveness of their sins and be reconciled to God in Christ Jesus, and those former rebels will live with the same passion and conviction as their teachers and will have students of their own.
Ultimately it is the Spirit who teaches former rebels how to live in submission to the King. This submission looks like such things as the following: worshiping God, loving others, seeking justice, and so on. Ideally the good works that you do in allegiance to Jesus will attract others to your cause.
In the same way, 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 ESV)
It would not be proper for someone, who claimed to be reconciled to God, to be living a life that was still in rebellion against God. For example, if someone said he or she accepted Christ, but then goes on to live a life of unrepentant sin, that would be continuing in the very crime and rebellion that rejected God and led to Christ’s death to spare that rebel from just retribution.
All of this is to say, as James once said, that faith without works is dead. Someone who is reconciled to God must bear fruit in keeping with repentance, or in other words, live a life that is consistent with a renewed allegiance to the Lord’s authority. To live a fruitful faith out is to say that you are living out your renewed allegiance to the Lord and not continuing in the rebellion that you once had before you accepted Christ as the payment for your crimes.
It is therefore important for professing Christians then, that we understand the message that we accepted, live the terms out well, and seek to share that message with others well, both in word and in deed. We must practice what we preach. We show others with both our words and our lives what it is to be reconciled to God. We tell others of their problem of sin, the solution that Christ provides, and the joy to be had in being back in God’s fellowship. We do not merely tell others this truth, but we live the truth out for others to see and we adorn the gospel in this way. We are to continue this cycle of teaching and modeling for each generation that comes until the whole world hears.
Christians, as part of the local church and the church universal, are meant to be the lessonbook to the nations of what it means for reconciled subjects to live under God’s reign. We are to show the world what it is to live as a people under God. We also invite others to join us and we hope, by the Spirit’s empowerment, that our words and deeds are consistent with the allegiance that we pledge to our King.