The Big Question 57: Why Did Jesus Have to Die On a Cross for God to Forgive Us?
May 18, 2021 1931
Why did Jesus have to die on a cross for God to forgive us?
This is a really big question. The death of Jesus on the Cross is at the very heart of the Christian faith. And it is also the reason why some people can’t accept it.
It’s because they haven’t understood what it’s all about, and that applies to both people who don’t believe in Jesus, and also to some who have chosen to follow him.
You see, there’s two schools of thought here.
Some people reason like this…
If God had to torture and kill his Son Jesus so that his wrath against us might be satisfied, then that’s not a God I want to follow. He would be a moral monster. In fact, I don’t even want to acknowledge his existence.
Another group of people reason like this…
If God is love, and he has loved us from the beginning, then he didn’t need the death of Jesus to forgive us. The cross is just a demonstration of how much God loves us, nothing more.
There are three problems with people who think like this. The first one is that they don’t know who God is. The second problem is that they don’t understand how bad sin is. And the third problem is that they don’t understand that love costs. So, let me say something about each of these points.
What happened on the Cross wasn’t God killing Jesus so that sinners might be saved. There was no third person there. It was you and God. Who is God? Jesus is God. God willingly sacrificed himself, in Jesus, for you, so that you might be saved. And that puts a completely different spin on things.
How bad is sin? It’s really bad. It costs your eternal separation from God. There is a cost. Only an eternal price could address it. And only God could provide it because only he has eternity within himself. And God provided the eternal remedy at the Cross.
Does love cost? Of course it does. Anyone who has ever loved knows that love costs. And if that applies to our limited human love, how much more does eternal love cost? More specifically, forgiveness costs. It hurts. It means giving away what you deserve for the sake of another. And if you want to see how much the forgiveness that God offers you cost him, look at the Cross.
Jesus prayed, “If there be any other way,” but there was no other way. And because he loved you, he went through with it.
So, you see, the Cross isn’t some just some sentimental appendage to the Christian faith; it’s not just an illustration of the love of God, it is the means – the only mean – by which the love of God saves. That’s why the Cross sits bang, smack in the middle of what it means to become and to live as a Christian. You know, it might be time to reconsider the Cross again.