..The Kingdom-inaugurating public work of Jesus and his redemptive death and resurrection…isn’t just a story of some splendid and exciting social work with an unhappy conclusion. Nor it is just a story of an atoning death with an extended introduction. It is something much bigger than the sum of those two diminished perspectives. It is the story of God’s kingdom being launched on earth as in heaven, generating a new state of affairs in which the power of evil has been decisively defeated, the new creation has been decisively launched, and Jesus’s followers have been commissioned and equipped to put that victory and that inaugurated new world into practice. Atonement, redemption, and salvation are what happened on the way because engaging in this work demands that people themselves be rescued from the powers that enslave the world in order that they ca n in turn be rescuers. To put it another way, if you want to help inaugurate God’s kingdom, you must follow in the way of the cross, and if you want to benefit from Jesus’s saving death, you must become part of his kingdom project.
N.T. Wright, Surprised by Hope