Why Did Jesus Have To Die?

Timothy-David's picture

Why did Jesus have to die? I'm not asking what he accomplished by his death. Therefore, when I asked, "Why did Jesus have to die?" I am not looking for the reply, "In order to redeem the world."
I don't understand this passage.

"For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him might not perish, but might have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through Him."

Why did he need to give up His son? Why did God need to be crucified to undue man's sin? Why couldn't God have simply done away with it? I don't understand how the Incarnation and Crucifixion were an act of love. God the Father said to God Son, "We love the world so much that you should be tortured and killed so that by your death, blood, and rebirth, man can bypass the Law, which no man can fulfill but you, my son, Jesus, the man-God." If no man but God (Jesus) could fulfill the Law then why should God bother dying to free men from the Law? Why not say, "Well, none is righteous, no not one, so therefore enter in."

How does Christ's blood wash away our sins? Someone once put it this way, "Say your brother is arrested for murder. It is for sure he is guilty, and the wise judge knows that it is so. Now, just as the judge is about to condemn the man to Death, you come into the courtroom and speak to the judge saying, "Judge, if you will but spare my brother, and forgive him his murder, you may take my life instead of his." To which the judge says, "Very well, it is known that you are a good man and that you have done no wrong, therefore I will let your murdering brother go, and his crime will be paid for by your Death." And then the judge lets your brother go, though he is a murderer still, and you, the innocent man are killed for his crimes."

Forgive me if I don't understand. Where is the justice? Where is the love?

I'm not trying to challenge anyone's beliefs. I've come here for help to save my own!

Timothy-David's picture

A Reply

Thank you for the reply, but I'm afraid I'm still as confused as before.

My primary difficulty lies here:

You said, "Hebrews tells us that Jesus was a “more perfect” sacrifice than the system used in the Old Testament. So, in order to understand this we need to understand God’s original covenant with Israel, for it too took blood and sacrifice."

Again, the answer that Jesus had to die as a sacrifice is an answer which I'm still failing to understand. I've been trying to accept it for a few years now, but my heart will still not believe. I've been able to accept many of the moral teachings of Jesus, and willing to accept that Salvation is a free gift which cannot by earned solely by our own efforts, that, in fact, it is a gift given freely, but what I cannot make myself believe (though I am still willing to attribute it to my own ignorance of God's Will) is that God should needed a sacrifice to offer this gift freely.

Let me ask a few more questions, and I hope you can answer them, because I cannot.

As you noted, God knows all, and therefore he knew that man was destined to fall even before he made him. Therefore, man was, from the very beginning, doomed to fall. And God, knowing man would fall, created him nonetheless. But God, we assume, is Love, and so, if he allowed us to enter into the world as fallen beings, he only did so, because he had an ultimate plan to raise up man from his fallen state. This plan we believe, is Christ. Also, I understand that evil (man-made evil) comes about as a consequence of having Free Will. The minute Free Will exists (the ability to do God's will or reject it) there is the potential for evil to wrought. By this I understand that man, not God, is the creator of evil. God supplied the Freedom, but man supplies the consequence. I say all this to show that my problem with accepting that Christ died in place of man is not that God would allow Christ to suffer, but that by his suffering our sins should be forgiven.

You said my analogy was lacking. Let me try again.

A criminal worthy of death stands before the Judge. The Judge sees that the man is guilty and therefore worthy of death. The criminal is in despair, but the Judge, being a kind and forgiving Judge, tells the criminal not to worry, that if the criminal is willing, he, the Judge, will die in place of the criminal. And because the life of the Judge was infinitely more Holy than that of the criminal it satisfied the Judge to die without reservation. And the Judge was killed.
Then, three days hence, the Judge rises again from the dead, and finds the criminal. He tells the criminal to follow him, and the criminal follows.

I have to ask...if the Judge must still say, "Follow me." Then why did the Judge have to die at all? If the Judge has died and risen, and yet there is still work to do, what did it serve either the Judge or the criminal the He should die? Yea, the fact that the Judge first sacrificed himself in place of the criminal to free him from his debt might make the criminal reply to the call, "Follow me." by saying, "What for? You've already died. The debt is paid. I was spared my life." I think St. Paul received a letter about some free men of this mindset, didn't he? What was his reply? I forget. I'd like to see it again if anyone knows.

Finally, since Heaven is perfect, and we are imperfect, you noted that we cannot enter Heaven unless we care made clean, so that by being dirty, we don't pollute it. And I ask this...Is it only by the sacrifice of Christ that we are saved? Are we saved by Faith alone, or are we saved by Faith and good works? If only by Faith, then how should the sinner be made clean to enter into Heaven? By believing in the sacrifice of the Lamb? If so, if Faith alone is enough, is the man who believes utterly that Christ died for his sins still prefect if in his belief he continues to speaks ill of others, to drink excessively, to lie, to cheat, to steal, to gamble, or continue in any other action which might be called a sin? Of course, you can never know the hearts of other men, but I've been several people in my life who seemed to have great Faith in Jesus' redemptive death, so much so that they began committing sinful acts and saying to me, "It's alright, God forgives." But what if it is by Faith and good works that we are saved? Good works being the fruits of a true faith (they shall be known by their fruits.) Has a man who commits evil really committed himself to Christ? Surely there are Christian out there who believe in the Gospel, and yet they commit sin out of their weakness? Can a Saved man do evil? Can a Lost man do good? Surely, Atheists have done good before, and believers have done bad. Also, believers have done good, and atheists have done bad.
So how does Christ's death save? Since you said I should had added, "Follow me." I assume you means that those who accept Christ must also take up their crosses and do as he does. So, is Faith not only the belief in the redemptive death of Christ, but also the livingly of a Christ-like life? If so, if we must ultimately follow him, and do as he does, become as he is, by working good works, what was the need of sacrifice? If the sacrifice was not all, but demanded also a godly life to follow, then why bother with the sacrifice at all? Why not begin with the godly life from the outset?

One more thing, and thank you for the patience...

What do you suppose God thinks of one like me? One who strives to understand the sacrificial nature of Christ's death, but who cannot, no matter how he tries, accept it?

I'm living in the valley between Theism and Christianity, and because of the Hope of the Gospel, and looking for a bridge by which I might cross over.

I hope this is readable. My thoughts were moving faster than my fingers, and I've not the inclination to edit.

Thank you for the patience.