|By: ATRI Staff; ©2012|
|“Our God is a loving, compassionate, gentle, caring God. Why did he send his only son to face such a horrific death by the crucifixion? With all due respect, couldn’t he have come up with a different plan?”|
Why Did Jesus Have to Die on the Cross?
Question: “Our God is a loving, compassionate, gentle, caring God. Why did he send his only son to face such a horrific death by the crucifixion? With all due respect, couldn’t he have come up with a different plan?”
Response: Your understanding is correct that “Our God is a loving, compassionate, gentle, caring God.” Understanding the true nature of our crime against God helps us understand the Son’s horrific death.
Apart from grace in Christ, the horrific death is what we’ve got coming! We have offended a loving God by refusing his terms. Our rebellion is called “Sin”—a state of alienation in which we prefer to live identifiable by our persistent, willful, continued resistance to him.
Because God is holy, the grievous offense against him must be punished and his justice satisfied. Because God is loving, instead of vaporizing his handiwork and starting over, he “went the distance” (John 13:2) to restore them to himself. God did not merely “send” his Son (as we ordinarily think of “send”) rather he himself came to our rescue in the Person of his Son (Philippians 2:1-11). He came willingly, motivated by his love for us.
Because God is omniscient, our rebellion was anticipated and provision for the redemption of the rebels made (Romans 13:8). The wonder is that, knowing we would resist his overtures, he carried out his purposes anyway! On the cross he consciously and willingly “took the bullet” that we were due. We find our rescue in renouncing our resistance to him, laying down our arms, and accepting his terms unconditionally. There is no “other plan.” Either his death suffices for us, or we opt to die on our own terms; “Thank you very much.”
This response is brief. I invite you to read the references cited in their full context. You can explore these matters in varying degrees of detail. A couple of good places to begin further study include Essential Truths of the Christian Faith, by R. C. Sproul, or What Christians Believe, published by Moody and authored by Emmaus Bible School Staff.