Christian Theology

October 26, 2007

The Necessity of Christ’s Death

Why did Jesus have to die? Many object to the fact that Christ had to be put to death and that blood had to be shed for the remission of sins (Matt 26:28). They believe this is unbecoming of God. Others believe that if we as humans can forgive others without punishment and God cannot, then humans are more kind and forgiving than God?

These objection will be heard quite frequently, sometimes even coming from church pulpits. Besides their lack of understanding Scripture these arguments escape reason. They escape reason because the same people who make these arguments then go on to make distinctions between good and evil, and preach moral living. Why should man be moral? Why is it wrong to be immoral? These are the very questions Anselm raised when dealing with the necessity of Christ’s death. He went on to say; to remit sin without satisfaction or adjustment is not to punish it. And if sin needs no adjustment or punishment, then the one who sins is no different before God than the one who does not sin. And if there is no adjustment that needs to be made before God, then what needs to be forgiven? Following this logic there is no reason for forgiveness at all because to be unrighteous or righteous makes no difference before God. All of this is said to say that it is unbecoming of God not to punish sin because it would make evil and good equal in His sight. Since this cannot be the case, then God must punish sin.

According to Scripture, the wages of sin is death (Rom. 6:23). For God to offer forgiveness, the satisfaction of these wages must be met. This is what the cross is all about; Christ bearing upon Himself the sins of all those who, through faith, trust His substitution on their behalf. It necessarily had to happen in order for God to be both just and the justifier of those who believe in Him (Rom. 3:26).

Every sin will be paid for, either we will pay for it ourselves or through faith we will accept His payment upon the cross.

Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.  Isaiah 53:4

-Doug-

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1 Comment »

  1. True ‘Dat, Doug.

    I grew up so completely and thoroughly ignorant of the doctrines of justifcation and the atonement (properly), thinking that O.T. Saints were saved by sacrifices, etc. The doctrine of justification, systematically, is so simple to understand. In fact, as little as I care for “contemporary” care I think a little chorus with good theology goes like this:

    He paid a debt He did not owe
    I owed a debt I could not pay
    I needed someone, to wash my sins away
    And NOW I sing a brand new song “Amazing Grace”
    Christ Jesus Paid a debt that I could never pay.

    Ain’t that true?

    Comment by Josh — October 27, 2007 @ 5:16 pm | Reply


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