This was in response to a conversation about sin….there is more context about this topic a few blogs below…enjoy!
Paul wasn’t using the word sin as we define it now. So the conversations he was having with people were about specific issues within a specific time within a specific culture. Paul was a Jew. So he would have understood the Jewish concept of sin not being an epidemic. It wasn’t something wrong with humanity. In fact that is when the idea came in the 1200’s. This is something that can be easily researched and found truthful. It was a group of people who began talking about the message of Jesus in terms of salvation as we now know it. You see this effect in the theological musings of Calvin and Luther. Jesus actually did come around and invite people into his way of life. Essentially the phrase “follow me” doesn’t mean journey with me. It literally connotes the phrase “be just like me” or even better said “you can be just like me”.
This is what Jesus was about. The word sin isn’t as dark and macabre as some of our destructive undertones and church history has led us to believe. In fact, the general Jewish view is that God sees mankind as capable of carrying his message to everyone, everywhere. Or why would He have chosen us? So when we are hearing Jesus say “your sins are forgiven” he isn’t talking about some “cancerous” disease coursing through our souls. He is basically claiming that he sees more in those people. That their actions are not the best them they could be. That there is more to them. In fact the word chait is the Hebrew word for sin, which means “not to reach the destination.” Sin is action by action. This is not made up. There are many resources on this. And there was this belief among the Pharisaic order that if you did a series of things wrong that it would destroy your relationship and connection with the community and God. And Jesus comes in and just dismantles the whole system of becoming clean (according to the Pharisees) by saying that there is more to them than what they think of themselves and there is more to them than the Pharisees think of them. This would frustrate anyone who created a list of purification rules.
To answer your question, I think He came to demonstrate what it looks like to be human. What it looks like to be Him in the here and now. Dallas Willard poses the question of “are we vampire Christians”? Wanting Jesus for nothing more than his blood. This is in response to the idea that we are mere worms because of sin. Again, I think we need to recapture what it means to be saved. For those who were in Egypt as slaves for them being liberated from oppression would be being saved. Or those who were wondering in the desert, for them being saved would be finding the Promised Land. We tend to define saved in general rather than specific terms. Again in Hebrew it is specific language. That belongs to a certain moment and time. So essentially Jesus is offering that we can be like him by making decisions and living life in such a way that can all contribute to bringing heaven to earth. That we don’t have to succumb to destructive choices and habits. That there is more to us. And He believes that there is. This is what it means to be saved by Jesus from my sins, to me.