In medicine, we want therapies that work–and they need to correspond to the severity of the illness. If you have a scratch, you might need a band-aid. If you need a new liver, you need a donor and an extremely skilled team of care providers.
Getting this wrong could spell disaster. If you have a headache, you might just need some Tylenol, not an invasive operation. However, if you have a brain cancer, Tylenol isn’t going to do much.
So, when it comes to thinking through our moral problems, are they mere scratches? If so, the cure in Jesus might be a few wise sayings–a few tweaks to get us headed in the right direction. But what if our moral problem is much more severe? Then it would need a more radical and costly intervention.
Some folks have Jesus in the “wise teacher” category–along with Plato, Aristotle, Socrates, Vizzini, Ghandi, Oprah, etc.
Others, sensing their need to be more severe, have Jesus in a completely different category–a Savior. One who gave his life, not only to teach us a moral lesson, but to live and die and live again in our place. Not a band-aid, but a donor, a surgeon, a life-giver to dead folks.
Consequently, you see, there’s a lot more fuss. Churches built all over the world. His sacred words published in the Bible, translated, printed, and distributed on every continent. Billions of people giving their lives to Him, and swearing it was the best decision they ever made.
Christ was sent not to mend wounded people or wake sleepy people or advise confused people or inspire bored people or spur on lazy people or educate ignorant people, but to raise dead people.
Consider the overall impact [of what it means for the Bible to teach that we are dead in our sins–see Ephesians 2:1-3]. Paul is not speaking of sin the way we often do: “I messed up,” “I made a mistake, “I’m struggling with…”; Paul identifies sin as the comprehensive, enveloping, inexorable flow of our lives. Our sins are less like an otherwise healthy man occasionally tripping up and more like a man who is disease-ridden from head to foot–or, if we take the language of Ephesians 2 seriously, dead.Dane Ortlund, Gentle and Lowly, 175.