I have been telling people that, though I fully accept that Jesus sacrificed Himself for our sake, that He also died because of our sins. People tell me that He only died for our sins, and I find this confusing because in my mind mentally, verbally and physically tormenting someone is sin. I also believe that God intended for Jesus to live His life in such as a way as to set an example of how to live a righteous life. Am I missing something here? It bothers me that so many fellow Christians only want to talk about how Jesus died for our sins, for whatever reason dismissing that we should strive to be Christ-like. It's as if it's just easier to say "It's okay for me to sin because Jesus died for my sins" instead of saying "I will no longer do the sins I was doing before". Please help me to understand this better. I'm having a hard time wrapping my head around this.
I am not sure what subtle distinction is being made. That Christ died for our sins is a given. "For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures" (I Corinthians 15:3). But warning bells should go off when people add the word "only" where the Bible does not have it.
That Christians are to strive to live Christ-like is also a given. "For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them" (Ephesians 2:10). The purpose of those in the church is "for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head -- Christ" (Ephesians 4:12-15).
What Peter teaches us is that because Christ dies for our sins, we must give up those sins. "Therefore, since Christ suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same mind, for he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, that he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh for the lusts of men, but for the will of God" (I Peter 4:1-2).