Why Jesus Had to Die
What Did His Death Accomplish?
1) Why does forgiveness of sin by God require the shedding of blood by Jesus?
2) Has God overreacted in providing such a drastic solution?
3) Why did Jesus have to actually die to pay our debt in full?
4) How does His resurrection assure our debt has been completely forgiven?
In the articles below, we'll take an in-depth look at the most creative legal transaction that has ever occurred: the work of Jesus Christ on the cross.
by J. Warner Wallace
Christianity is unique among theistic worldviews. Some religious systems are based purely on the doctrinal, proverbial statements of their founders. The wisdom statements of Buddha, for example, lay the foundation for Buddhism. In a similar way, the statements of L. Ron Hubbard form the basis of Scientology. But in both these examples, the statements of these worldview leaders exist independently of any event in history. In other words, these systems rise or fall on the basis of ideas and concepts, rather than on claims about a particular historical event.
While Christianity makes its own ideological and conceptual claims, these proposals are intimately connected to a singular validating event: the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. Why should you believe what Jesus said rather than the teaching of Buddha or Hubbard? The authority of Jesus is grounded in more than the strength of an idea; it’s established by the verifiability of an event. (read more)
I am convinced that many of the non-Christians who attend Easter Sunday services accept the resurrection of Christ as a fact. They simply have not come to recognize and act on its significance. It is for this reason that I am addressing this message to the religious unbelievers who believe in the fact of Christ’s resurrection from the dead, but who fail to grasp its significance in a personal way. I will seek to demonstrate the significance of the resurrection of Christ by focusing on the uniqueness, the necessity, and the urgency of the resurrection. (read more)
by John Piper
The love of Christ for us in his dying was as conscious as his suffering was intentional. “By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us” (1 John 3:16). If he was intentional in laying down his life, it was for us. It was love. “When Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart out of this world to the Father, having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end” (John 13:1). Every step on the Calvary road meant, “I love you.” (read more)
Based on the Gospel of Luke, the "JESUS" film has now been dubbed in more than 1,300 languages, with new languages being added every month. This allows God’s Word to speak to people in more than 200 countries in languages they know and understand. (watch film)
Of the last sayings of Christ on the cross, none is more important or more poignant than His very last utterance, “It is finished.” Found only in the Gospel of John, the Greek word translated “it is finished” is tetelestai, an accounting term that means “paid in full.” (read more)
True security is freedom from fear and doubt. Freedom from fear and doubt only exists if we are secure in our relationship with God. Being united with Him in this life and in the life to come is the ultimate security. Being separated from Him in this life and in the life to come is the ultimate exposure: a risk too great to take. Every man is born into a state of separation.
Every man can be united. God has provided the solution. To accept the solution, one must accept the fact that God is holy... and man is not. (read more)
He is morally perfect and part of being morally perfect is to react against evil. Our own morals, even though less than perfect, are offended when we see evil. To be offended is a proper reaction. We even call our reaction "righteous indignation." We are offended morally by what we have seen.
What we fail to understand is this is infinitely more true of God because He is morally perfect. He is offended by our moral evil-our sin-and He reacts with a holy, righteous indignation. He cannot look the other way anymore than a just judge in a court of law can ignore the crime before his court. He must execute justice without compromise and without partiality. The guilty must be punished. The question now becomes: am I one of the guilty? (read more)
I am guilty because I am not perfect. God did not give man the Ten Commandments to tell us to try harder to be good, but to show us we can't be good enough. He is morally perfect and only a life that is morally perfect is considered morally good in His eyes. (No one is good, except God alone (Mark 10:18)).
This is how He measures moral perfection: if I break one commandment, I am as guilty as I would be if I broke all of them (James 2:10-11). It is all or nothing. I keep all or I keep none. There is no in-between. The issue is not whether my good deeds outweigh my bad deeds. The issue is this: do I have one bad deed? If so, I am considered a transgressor (lawbreaker) and I am guilty of breaking all the commandments.
One additional truth drives home even further the helplessness of my situation. The commandments must be kept from the heart. Lust is committing adultery from the heart. Hate is committing murder from the heart (Matthew 5:21-28). Although I may restrain my outward actions (murder, adultery), my inner thoughts (hatred, lust) are not so easily controlled.
An x-ray exposes a problem and I see I need a doctor. The law exposes my sin and I see I need a savior. It convinces me of my guilt before God and lays me at the feet of Christ. (read more)
The Bible teaches that death is separation, not termination. This is the penalty for man's sin: spiritual separation from God in this life and in the life to come. Understanding God's moral makeup sheds light on this issue of separation.
Sin must be expelled from His presence.
God's moral character is so pure, anything less than moral perfection cannot survive in His presence. In fact, moral impurity is so foreign to God's makeup, if it were to come into His presence. He would react like someone swallowing poison. He would vomit it up. This level of moral purity is foreign to us; yet, it explains why the consequence for man's sin is separation. Sin cannot come into the presence of a holy God. He will spew it from His presence.
Sin must be judged by Him.
Society enforces the most severe penalty for the crime it deems the most offensive. In the same way, God enforces the most severe penalty for the violation He deems the most offensive. He is morally perfect. He is the most offended by the breaking of His moral law. There is no higher law. There is no greater crime. The ultimate crime is punishable by the ultimate penalty: eternal death... eternal separation from His presence. (read more)
He became a man ... to live the life I couldn't live to pay the debt I couldn't pay.
Society is so offended by some crimes, it requires the person to pay with his life. God is so offended by our sin, He has said only the sacrifice of a sinless life will pay our debt in full. No man can live a sinless life; therefore, no man can pay his debt to God.
God became a man to live the life we couldn't live to pay the debt we couldn't pay. This man is Jesus Christ. Only the sacrifice of Jesus' life is precious enough, costly enough, valuable enough in the eyes of God to pay our debt in full (1 Peter1:18-19). This is the saving love of God: what He has required, He has provided. To pay the debt of sinful man, He gave His only Son. (read more)
His payment paid my debt in full.
During Jesus' day, when a prisoner paid his debt to society, the judge would write a word across a piece of paper that listed the prisoner's violations. The word was tetelestai, often translated, "It is finished." Another translation is, "paid in full." It signified the person's debt to society was cancelled because his penalty had been paid in full. When Jesus hung on the cross, the second to last thing He said was, "Tetelestai" paid in full. The debt He paid in full was yours and mine.
His resurrection proved His payment was acceptable to God.
At one time, England had debtors' prisons for those who owed more than they could pay. If a debt became due and the debtor could not be found, the third party who guaranteed payment could be imprisoned for him. The third party could not be released until the debt was paid in full. If the debtor reappeared and saw the guarantor on the streets as a free man, he would know his own debt had been retired because the one imprisoned for his debt was now free.
Jesus is our third party guarantor. He was imprisoned for us. He died in our place. He was raised from the dead. We are free because He is free: the One imprisoned for our debt is alive from the grave. (read more)
Years ago, a court of law held that a pardon issued for the prisoner is not effective until it is received by the prisoner. Jesus Christ purchased a pardon for each of us on the cross; but each of us must individually receive this gift for the pardon to be effective.
Prayer is simply expressing the faith you have found in Him.
"Lord Jesus, I know You died on the cross for my sins. My sins were placed upon You and You took the judgment I deserve. I open the door of my heart and ask You to come in and be my personal Savior and Lord. Thank You that the pardon You purchased for me is now applied to the debt of my sin. Thank You for giving me eternal life. Thank You for the forgiveness of my sin."
If you prayed that prayer, you just transferred your trust. You are no longer trusting in the works of your life in hopes that your good deeds will outweigh your bad. You are now trusting in the work of Jesus Christ on your behalf: His payment for your sins. You are trusting in the promise-keeper. You will not be disappointed. (read more)
Many will say they try to live by the Ten Commandments or by some other rule of life, such as the Golden Rule. And yet, if we are honest, each of us discovers we have violated our own standards at some point. This is what Paul meant when he said, "All have sinned and come short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23). (read more)
The greatest problem we face is not accepting the resurrection of Christ, and that fact that “He lives” today. The greatest problem we face as sinners is recognition of the fact that we are dead in our transgressions and sins, and are eternally lost apart from His death, burial, and resurrection. It is our condition of being helplessly dead in our sins which makes the resurrection of Christ such a vitally needed truth. (read more)
The new covenant is spoken about first in the book of Jeremiah. The old covenant that God had established with His people required obedience to the Old Testament Mosaic law. Because the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23), the law required that people perform rituals and sacrifices in order to please God and remain in His grace. The prophet Jeremiah predicted that there would be a time when God would make a new covenant with the nation of Israel. (read more)
The Old Testament contains the accurate record of some four thousand years of sin, human failure, and consequent Divine judgment. The one bright hope was the coming of the promised Seed, the Redeemer (Genesis 3:15). With each succeeding revelation from God, the promise grew clearer and the hope brighter. The prophets spoke of the Messiah who would come to deliver the people from their sins. Perhaps the classic prophecy is Isaiah 53. Since the people needed a deliverer from the guilt and penalty of sin, the intent of the Incarnation was to provide that Deliverer. (read more)
by Lambert Dolphin
A superficial reading of the gospel narratives concerning the death of Jesus will show that He was nailed to the cross at 9 o'clock in the morning, and was dead by 3 in the afternoon. His terrible ordeal, it would seem, was over in a mere six hours.
There is much more to the death of Jesus on the cross than the visible suffering, terrible pain and suffering, and the incredible ignominy of such a horrible death for One who was not only innocent but also the very Son of God. (read more)
If all people have original sin and Jesus was a human being, then didn't Jesus need to have had a sin nature?
Before we can answer this question, we need to know what the term "original sin" means. This is a term used to describe the effect of Adam's sin on his descendants (Romans 5:12-32). Specifically, it is our inheritance of a sinful nature from Adam. The sinful nature originated with Adam and is passed down from parent to child. We are by nature children of wrath (Ephesians 2:3). So, if we inherit our sinful nature from our parents, then Jesus, who had Mary as a parent, must have had a sin nature. Right? Not necessarily. (read more)
Why, some ask, is it important that Christ’s body was resurrected? Couldn’t His resurrection have just been spiritual? Why and how does the resurrection of Jesus Christ guarantee the bodily resurrection of believers? Will our resurrected bodies be the same as our earthly bodies? If not, what will they be like? The answers to these questions are found in the fifteenth chapter of Paul’s first letter to the church in Corinth, a church that he established several years earlier during his second missionary journey. (read more)
Medical Aspects of the Crucifixion of Christ
by David Terasaka, MD
In the last few hours of Jesus' life what did He endure, and what shame did He suffer?
The tone of this presentation by a medical doctor can best be summarized in the word "excruciate," (the root of the word "excruciating") which refers to something which causes great agony or torment. The Latin roots of the word are: "ex", meaning from or out of, and "cruciate," meaning cross. The word "excruciate" comes from the Latin for "from, or out of, the cross." (read more)
The Scripture says, “For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures” (1 Corinthians 15:3-4). Evidence affirms that the sinless Jesus bled and died on a cross. Most importantly, the Bible explains why Jesus’ death and resurrection provide the only entrance to heaven. (read more)