by Mike Gendron – Proclaiming the Gospel Newsletter
This is a question I have been asking people who attend various churches but only a few have been able to give the right answer from Scripture. Most will say, “Because He loved us.” It is true that was His motivation for dying, but it does not explain why He had to die. Some will say “He died to forgive us.” Then I will ask, “Why couldn’t He just forgive us without dying?” It is because His holy law demands death as the punishment for sin (Rom. 6:23). “The soul who sins shall die” (Ez. 18:4). The sinless Savior went to the cross to die as a substitute for sinners who deserve the death penalty for their sins. Divine justice had to be satisfied because our holy and righteous Judge in heaven must punish every sin that has been, and ever will ever be, committed. There is not one sin that will ever go unpunished. Any judge who pardons law-breakers by letting the guilty go free is not a righteous judge.
Jesus was born to die. “The Son of Man came…to give his life as a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45). He was delivered up to be crucified according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God (Acts 2:23). This was to demonstrate His righteousness so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus (Rom. 3:26). Since God’s laws were broken and His justice was provoked, it had to be satisfied by Christ before divine forgiveness could be applied to sinners. Dying as a substitute for sinners, the Lord Jesus paid the eternal debt for sin. He satisfied the demands of justice while appeasing God’s wrath so that He could extend mercy and grace to those who trust Him. God’s perfect Son satisfied divine justice when “God made Him (Christ), who knew no sin, to be sin” for those who would trust Him (2 Cor. 5:21). He cancelled the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands (Col. 2:14).
For those who die having rejected the Lord Jesus Christ as their Savior, divine justice will be satisfied in the eternal fires of hell. Since all sin is committed against an infinitely holy and majestic God, the punishment must be infinite. Therefore, the wrath of God is poured out in an everlasting fire. No tears can quench the flame of God’s anger. Unrepentant sinners will be in the fiery furnace forever. There is no escape because God is “a consuming fire” (Heb. 12:29). He “feels indignation every day” toward the wicked because He has “hated wickedness” (Ps. 7:11; 45:7). Anyone who rejects God’s only provision for their sin is choosing to suffer God’s eternal wrath. Tragically, there are many who stubbornly refuse to seek wisdom from God’s Word. “Whoever trusts in his own mind is a fool, but he who walks in wisdom will be delivered” (Prov. 28:26). Christ Jesus, is not only “wisdom from God, but righteousness and sanctification and redemption” to those who trust Him (1 Cor. 1:30).”There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Rom. 8:1). What a glorious Savior!