God created humanity to live under his rule in love, joy and peace. But humanity has rejected God’s rule and exists under the domain of sin and death. Nevertheless, God responded to this tragedy with a decisive new intervention. He rescued us from the domain of sin by entering into our sin even “becoming” sin for us. He rescued us from the domain of death by entering into our death even “tasting death” for us. God descended into the domain of darkness destroying it from the inside. In Christ sin and death are destroyed within God’s own being as human.
In this rescue act the old humanity under the rule of sin and death is brought to an end. It is put to death. Christ died for us and we died with him. The old humanity has gone! Now, a new relation to God comes into existence. There is a new man, a new humanity, a new creation The old has gone the new has come!
All this brings to an end any pretence that we can reach God through our own religious efforts. All our ideas about what God is like have been interrupted and replaced with the beautiful reality of a humble God who loves us and gives himself over to sin and death for us. The crucified Christ turns our common assumptions about God on their head! Furthermore, all our “wisdom” about how to reach God is now seen as utter foolishness. We must follow the new and living way opened up to us in the crucified Christ who is now risen as new man in new creation. That means we must put to death all notions of religious self-effort. All our religiosity must die before the cross!