When People Ask You ...
March 1, 2004
by Ross Rhoads
Q: Why was Jesus' horrific sacrifice necessary?
A: Because of sin. God's justice had to be satisfied because of the broken law, and so Christ died for the sins of the world. The Bible says, "He is the [satisfaction] for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world" (Cf. 1 John 2:2).
We often say, "Our sins killed Jesus." But the Bible says that God is ultimately responsible for Christ's death. Man is culpable, but God is the initiator of the offering. "Yet it was the Lord's will to crush him and cause him to suffer ... the Lord makes his life a guilt offering" (Isaiah 53:10, NIV). And Jesus offered Himself as a sacrifice for sin. He didn't just go along with it; He did it gladly (Hebrews 12:2).
Q: Why was Jesus the only One sufficient to suffer punishment for the wrongs I have committed?
A: Because He was sinless. "For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God" (1 Peter 3:18, NIV). Because Jesus was both God and man, only He could mediate between God and man (1 Timothy 2:5). Jesus was the perfect and ultimate priest. Before God sent Jesus, day after day the priests would offer sacrifices, but the Bible says that those sacrifices can never take away sins. However, "Christ offered for all time one sacrifice for sins" (Cf. Hebrews 10:12).
Q: How could a good God allow His Son to die such an awful death? What about God's love?
A: He is good in that He is love. And so, because God is good, He gave His Son as an act of grace and pity for mankind. The lostness of the human race caused the ultimate demonstration of God's eternal love in giving His Son, the Lord Jesus, as the complete Substitute for the sinfulness of mankind (Romans 5:8). "This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins" (1 John 4:10, NIV).
Q: What happens when I sin after becoming a Christian?
A: When we sin, we must acknowledge our sins and confess them. The Bible says that when we do this, God is faithful to cleanse us from sins. The Greek word for "cleansing" means that He keeps on cleansing us from all unrighteousness. He doesn't just do it once. He continues to forgive us of our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9).