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Why Did Jesus Have to Die for Sins?

Updated: Dec 23, 2023

First, God didn’t have to provide a sacrifice for sins. We are complete sinners and anything God has done for us was from his good nature, his good will, his love for us so that we would be saved and be able to dwell with him and glorify him. God would’ve been justified in letting us remain in our sinful state, convinced that we, in our own mind, are justified in our sin and God is the one at fault removing any hope for humility and repentance. He would’ve also been justified and it would’ve been grace beyond measure if God did not give us heaven as we are not worthy and did not give us hell as an act of grace, but just simply put us somewhere where we are not in hell and not with him. Even some Eternal in between would’ve been grace beyond what we deserve. The Father’s decision to send a savior for our sins, give us a great inheritance, and to sanctify our heart and mind so we rejoice in him was an act of love and grace beyond human comprehension. For a great resource on this subject regarding the death of Jesus feel free to check out, "Rethinking the Atonement: New Perspectives on Jesus's Death, Resurrection, and Ascension" by David M. Moffitt.

God's Intention to be with Man

The Christian understanding of God's plan to be with humanity from the beginning begins with the narrative of creation found in the book of Genesis. In the opening chapters of Genesis, the Bible describes the act of divine creation, culminating in the formation of human beings. According to Christian theology, God's creation of humanity in His own image and likeness signifies a special and intimate relationship between the Creator and His creation. This act of creation underscores God's original intention to be in communion with humanity, reflecting His love, care, and purpose for human life. Furthermore, the narrative of Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden portrays God walking with them in the cool of the day, signifying a close and personal relationship between God and the first human beings. This depiction emphasizes the harmonious and intimate connection between God and humanity, illustrating His desire to be present with His creation. As the biblical narrative unfolds, the concept of God's plan to be with humanity is further developed through the establishment of covenants, particularly the covenant with Abraham, which is foundational to both Judaism and Christianity. In the book of Genesis, God promises to bless all nations through Abraham's descendants, highlighting His enduring commitment to be in relationship with humanity and bring about redemption and restoration despite the sin that had happened because of his desire to be with his creation. This is made even more evident in the tabernacle and through the Torah then the rest of the Old Testament narrative as God set before his chosen people a very strict set of guidelines which must be followed because God is so holy, they are sinful, and the holy presence of God cannot be contaminated with sin. However, God went through tremendous effort to ensure a sinful people could commune with a holy God. Within the Christian tradition, the culmination of God's plan to be with humanity is realized in the person of Jesus Christ and brought to a finality within the book of Revelation as it is declared the dwelling place of God is with man, so God will rid the world of wickedness and come to be with his righteous people forever. Christianity teaches that Jesus is the incarnate Son of God who entered human history to fulfill God's redemptive plan. The Gospel of John describes this pivotal event by proclaiming that "the Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us" (John 1:14). This concept, known as the Incarnation, is central to Christian belief and signifies the fulfillment of God's intention to be present with humanity in a tangible and transformative way. The life, teachings, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ are viewed as the ultimate expression of God's love and redemptive plan for humanity. Through Jesus, God fully revealed His nature, extended forgiveness and reconciliation, and provided a path for humanity to be restored to a loving relationship with Him. Moreover, within Christianity, the belief in the indwelling of the Holy Spirit further emphasizes God's ongoing presence with believers and the church. The Holy Spirit is understood as the divine presence and power that continues to guide, comfort, and transform the lives of those who have faith in Jesus Christ. This belief reflects the enduring nature of God's plan to be intimately involved in the lives of individuals and communities, empowering them to live according to His will and purpose.

The Old Testament Sacraficial System was Incomplete

The Old Testament sacrificial system, while integral to the religious practices of ancient Israel, is viewed as incomplete within Christian theology for several significant reasons. To have a sense of finality to the atonement of sin, to once and for all past the price, Christ had to die. There can be no forgiveness without the shedding of blood but the blood of animals was not enough to permanently remove sin. For starters, the sacrificial system's inherent limitations lie in its temporary nature; the blood of animals offered as atonement served as a symbolic act, but it did not possess the capability to permanently eradicate sin or its consequences. As a result, the system necessitated repetitive sacrifices, underscoring its impermanence and inability to provide a lasting solution to the problem of sin. Moreover, the sacrificial system was unable to truly remove the guilt and power of sin. This limitation is articulated in the New Testament, particularly in the book of Hebrews, which asserts that the blood of bulls and goats is inherently incapable of fully atoning for human sins. Consequently, the sacrificial system's inadequacy in addressing the fundamental issue of sin renders it incomplete within the framework of Christian theology. The Old Testament sacrificial system is considered incomplete because it was designed to foreshadow and point towards the ultimate sacrifice of Jesus Christ. Christian theology holds that Jesus, as the sinless Son of God, offered himself as the ultimate and complete sacrifice for the sins of humanity. The sacrificial practices of the Old Testament were therefore preparatory in nature, serving as a precursor to the fulfillment found in the sacrificial death and resurrection of Jesus. This perspective underscores the incompleteness of the Old Testament sacrificial system, as it was intended to pave the way for a superior and definitive act of atonement that would address the inadequacies of the former system. The Old Testament sacrificial system is viewed as incomplete due to its emphasis on external rituals and offerings, which were unable to effectuate true internal transformation. While the sacrificial system provided mechanisms for the outward expression of repentance and atonement, it did not possess the power to bring about genuine spiritual renewal or inner transformation within individuals. In contrast, Christian theology emphasizes the importance of inner renewal and spiritual transformation, asserting that these are made possible through the redemptive work of Jesus Christ. The true need of humanity is to be changed from the inside so we love God and hate sin which is what the Holy Spirit accomplishes.the need for atonement cannot be ignored but that is not the end goal.

Jesus's Death Conquers Sin

Jesus Christ's death is understood as the pivotal event through which sin and its power over humanity was conquered. The concept of sin, as understood in Christian theology, refers to the state of human separation from God, resulting from disobedience and moral failure. According to Christian belief, sin entered the world through the disobedience of the first humans, Adam and Eve, and has since plagued humanity, leading to spiritual death and estrangement from God. The death of Jesus is seen as the ultimate expression of God's love and mercy towards humanity, as well as the means by which the problem of sin was addressed. Christian theology holds that Jesus, being both fully human and fully divine, lived a sinless life, and therefore was uniquely qualified to serve as a sacrificial offering for the sins of humanity. Jesus willingly offered himself as a perfect atoning sacrifice, taking upon himself the sins of the world and enduring the punishment that humanity deserved. The wages of sin is of course death, and Jesus bearing the weight of sin, being crushed by the Father in place of us, and raising from the dead having life shows that sin and its consequence has no power in Jesus. The significance of Jesus's death in conquering sin is multifaceted. First, it is believed to have satisfied the demands of divine justice. In Christian theology, sin creates a debt that must be paid, and the death of Jesus is understood as the payment for that debt. His sacrifice is seen as reconciling humanity to God and making possible the forgiveness of sins. This act of atonement is central to Christian understanding of salvation, as it is believed to have opened the way for humans to be restored to right relationship with God. Jesus's death is viewed as a triumph over the powers of evil and sin. Christian theology teaches that through his death and subsequent resurrection, Jesus broke the power of sin and death, offering humanity the hope of liberation from its grip. His victory over sin is understood as inaugurating a new era, in which believers are empowered to live transformed lives, free from the bondage of sin. Jesus's death is seen as an act of substitutionary atonement, in which he took upon himself the penalty that humanity deserved, thus providing a way for believers to be declared righteous before God. This understanding of Jesus's death as a substitutionary sacrifice has been a central theme in Christian theology for centuries, emphasizing the idea that through faith in Jesus, believers are united with him in his death and resurrection, and thereby share in the benefits of his atoning work.

Jesus Imputes His Ritgheousness to us

The doctrine of the imputation of Christ's righteousness is a central tenet of Christian theology, particularly within the Protestant tradition. It addresses the means by which sinful humanity can be reconciled with a holy and just God. Imputation refers to the act of attributing or crediting something to someone else's account. In this case, it concerns the righteousness of Christ being credited to believers, enabling them to stand justified before God. All humans are inherently sinful as a result of the Fall, and therefore stand condemned before a righteous and holy God. However, through the redemptive work of Jesus Christ, believers are granted the gift of righteousness through faith in Him. The apostle Paul elaborates on this in his epistles, particularly in Romans and Galatians. The imputation of Christ's righteousness can be understood in several ways. Firstly, it involves the transfer of the believer's sin and guilt to Christ, who willingly bore the punishment for humanity's transgressions on the cross. This act of substitutionary atonement forms the basis for imputation, as Christ takes upon Himself the sins of the world, thereby making it possible for believers to be freed from the condemnation they deserve. This was discussed earlier. Secondly, imputation also entails the transfer of Christ's perfect righteousness to the believer. Through faith in Christ, believers are united with Him, and His righteousness is credited to them. This means that when God looks upon the believer, He sees not their sinfulness, but the perfect righteousness of Christ covering them. This doctrine is grounded in the biblical concept of justification by faith, as articulated by the reformers such as Martin Luther and John Calvin during the Protestant Reformation. Justification is the legal declaration of righteousness, and it is by faith alone that believers receive this gift of righteousness, not by their own works or merit. This faith is the trust and hope that Christ has in fact finished the Father’s work on the cross of defeating sin, and because Christ was raised we too will be raised and declared righteous because of Jesus Christ and not a righteousness of our own. As a result of Christ's imputed righteousness, believers can stand justified before God, not on the basis of their own moral goodness, but on account of the perfect righteousness of Christ credited to them. This understanding brings great comfort and assurance to believers, knowing that their standing before God is secure, not because of their own efforts, but because of the finished work of Christ on their behalf. This doctrine stands at the heart of the Christian gospel, offering hope and assurance to all who believe. Our sin is not just paid for in sacrifice, but we also have a righteous given to us that is not ours!

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