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WHY DID JESUS HAVE TO DIE?

According to Acts 2:23, Jesus was entrusted with “the deliberate planning and foresight of God.”

To get to the heart of the question of why Jesus died, we must think from God’s point of view. Theologically, from God’s point of view, we can cite two main reasons.

1 . Jesus Died to Bring Us Near to God

Child praying on the mountain, thank God.🙏

Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. (1 Pet. 3:18)

The purpose of bringing us to God implies that, prior to Jesus dying, we were far away. On this score, the apostles Paul and Peter agree: “You who once were far away have been brought near through the blood of Christ” (Eph. 2:13).

Our sin needed to be dealt with to bring us near: “Christ died for sins” (1 Pet. 3:18). The Bible does not mince words when it comes to human disobedience and its consequences. Jesus can describe his disciples as evil (Matt. 7:11), and Paul says in Romans 6:23 that “the wages of sin is death.” All humans stand condemned before God; our sins separate us from him whose character is pristine holiness and perfect justice.

The substitutionary nature of Jesus’s death is the key idea for understanding how God deals with sin and offers us forgiveness. To bring us near, “Christ died for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous” (1 Pet. 3:18). If “the unrighteous” is all of us, “the righteous” is Jesus himself. The one who “knew no sin, became sin” (2 Cor. 5:21)—our sin—so that we might receive mercy.

Crown of thorns with blood

The New Testament uses several vivid images to expound the truth that Jesus died in our place. For example, Jesus paid the price for our redemption when he “gave his life as a ransom in the place of many” (Mark 10:45). Jesus reconciled us to God by bearing our sins himself (1 Pet. 2:24). “God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement through the shedding of his blood” (Rom. 3:25), exhausting God’s wrath against our unrighteousness.

”The Father is the architect, the Son the accomplisher, and the Spirit the applier of the atonement.”

Paul reminds us that Jesus’s death in our place is of first importance and was in accordance with the [Old Testament] Scriptures (1 Cor. 15:3). His death fulfills the old covenant sacrifices, such as the sin offering, the Passover lamb, and the scapegoat of the Day of Atonement. He’s the Suffering Servant who was “pierced for our transgressions” (Isa. 53:5).

Sometimes well-intentioned preachers give the false impression that in dying for us Jesus persuaded a reluctant and vengeful Father to show mercy. Truth is, it was out of love that God sent his Son, and the Son laid down his life of his own accord: “God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself” (2 Cor. 5:19).

All three persons of the Trinity, then, are fully involved in our redemption: “Christ offered himself through the eternal Spirit to God” (Heb. 9:14). As Graham Cole puts it, the Father is the architect, the Son the accomplisher, and the Spirit the applier of the atonement.

2 . Jesus Died to Reveal God’s Character

It isn’t that we knew nothing of God before Christ’s death. His providential care for creation reveals his love. And his promises to Abraham show his concern for the whole world. But at the cross, we see the climax of his covenants with Israel, and we witness the final and dramatic proof of his love and justice.

Two texts from Romans make this clear: “God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom. 5:8). Christ’s death puts beyond all doubt the fact that God loves us. It assures us that no matter what life throws at us, we can trust that “he who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all . . . will also graciously give us all things” (Rom. 8:32).

Jesus also died to prove the justice of God: “God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement . . . to demonstrate his justice” (Rom. 3:25–26).

”At the cross we see not only God’s love, but the seriousness with which he takes our sin.”

God doesn’t forgive us by turning a blind eye to our sin or by overlooking it. Forgiveness is costly to the one against whom the wrong has been done. And at the cross we see not only God’s love, but also the seriousness with which he takes our sin.

Elsewhere in the New Testament, we also learn that Jesus died to demonstrate the wisdom, power, and glory of God.

Jesus holding a woman’s hand

Jesus was perfect, yet He died on the cross in our place. We deserve punishment and eternal separation from God, but Jesus took our punishment by dying for us. Instead of the punishment we deserve, we are given the gift of eternal life – of becoming children of God –

Brian Rosner – he is a writer, editor, and speaker living in beautiful Southern Oregon.

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