Why Did Jesus Have to Die?
"Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering."1
Today is Good Friday, the day we remember the crucifixion of Jesus Christ who died on an excruciatingly painful Roman cross two thousand years ago. I am sure that many people today ask the same question that a Daily Encounter reader asked: "I understand Jesus died for our sins. I believe it but I just can't understand why he had to do it. Didn't God have power over everything? I have looked for the answer to this question for a long time. Please help."
I'm sure that many people struggle with this same issue so let me explain. Because God is a God of infinite justice, he cannot forgive sin without justice being served. Otherwise he wouldn't be God. This means that all sin must be judged according to the moral law of God and the universe. We can no more defy this law and live than we can defy the law of gravity by jumping out of an airplane without a parachute. The end result will be death unless—unless we apply another law, the law of aerodynamics. This law makes it possible for an airplane to fly and a parachute to lower us to the earth gradually and thereby save us.
There is another universal law that we cannot defy and live. It is "the law of sin and death," which means that the judgment and penalty of all sin is death and eternal separation from God. That is, unless we apply a higher law which is "the law of the Spirit of Life," which is a God-given "spiritual parachute" to save us from eternal death. God provided this law through the death of Jesus who died in our place to pay the penalty for our sin.
Furthermore, because God is also a God of absolute holiness, no sin or unforgiven sinners can survive in his presence. As some bacteria are not able to survive in the light and die if they are exposed to it, so it is with us. In our sinful state if we were exposed to God and his incredible light, we would be destroyed instantaneously. And herein lies our dilemma.
However, God's answer to our dilemma lies in the fact that God is not only a God of infinite justice and absolute holiness, but also a God of eternal love. Because of his love, God gave his very own Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, to die on the cross in our place to pay the penalty for our sins to meet the automatic demands of his (God's) justice and holiness. Christ's death made possible God's "law of the Spirit of Life"—our God-given "spiritual parachute"—to save us from eternal death.
Not to accept and use God's "parachute" means certain death from which there is no other escape. In other words, anyone who doesn't accept God's pardon will automatically die for him/herself—which means eternal separation from God, the author of all love and life, in the place or condition the Bible calls hell. All we need to do is confess our sinfulness, believe that Jesus is the Son of God and that he died in our place for our sins, and ask God for, and accept, his forgiveness and pardon. If you have never done this, you can do so right now by praying the following prayer.
"Dear God, I confess that I am a sinner and am sorry for all the wrongs that I have done. I believe that your Son, Jesus Christ, died on the cross for my sins. Please forgive me. I invite you, Jesus, to come into my heart and life as Lord and Savior. I commit and trust my life to you. Please give me the desire to be what you want me to be and to do what you want me to do. Thank you for dying for my sins, for your free pardon, for your gift of eternal life, and for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully in Jesus' name. Amen."
If you prayed this prayer and truly meant it, please let us know by clicking on the "My Decision" link at http://tinyurl.com/pgntm and we will send you a free copy of the e-leaflet, "How to Grow" to help you in your new spiritual life.
For further help, click on the "How to Be Sure You're a Real Christian" link at http://tinyurl.com/8glq9
1. Romans 8:1–3(NIV).