Why Was Jesus Christ Crucified?

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Why Was Jesus Christ Crucified?

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All modern education is fundamentally based on accepting evolutionary theory as fact. The exaggeration is only a slight one. Yet even established churches are deeply affected by this false view.

Columnist Clifford Longley, writing recently in the Roman Catholic weekly magazine The Tablet, stated: "The Catholic Church accepts Darwin's theory of evolution at least as probably true; and has rejected the historical accuracy of the creation account given in Genesis, including the story of Adam and Eve and the apple" ("Christian Doctrine Needs to Evolve," Nov. 26, 2011).

This declaration certainly doesn't apply to all church members, but it is seriously disturbing that it was published in an official religious magazine!

Even the most basic Christian doctrines are not spared by this Tablet article. It continues: "What sort of God requires that His beloved Son die to remedy an act of disobedience by someone who may have existed, but probably didn't. If God was that bothered, why couldn't He just pardon Adam and Eve and be done with it?"

Anyone who has truly experienced the relief a genuine Christian has after being forgiven would never even have such a question. King David of Israel committed two capital crimes and sins against God and man. After his repentance, can you imagine the relief he felt when the prophet Nathan told him in 2 Samuel 12:13 2 Samuel 12:13And David said to Nathan, I have sinned against the LORD. And Nathan said to David, The LORD also has put away your sin; you shall not die.
American King James Version×
, "The Lord also has put away your sin; you shall not die"?

From the beginning of creation, God has strongly condemned sin. Scripture says, "But the thing that David had done was evil in the eyes of the Lord" (2 Samuel 11:27 2 Samuel 11:27And when the mourning was past, David sent and fetched her to his house, and she became his wife, and bore him a son. But the thing that David had done displeased the LORD.
American King James Version×
, New American Standard Bible).

Our Creator hates all types of sin because of its toxic effects on His human children, made in His own image (Genesis 1:26-27 Genesis 1:26-27 [26] And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth. [27] So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.
American King James Version×
). For instance, God hates divorce because of the disruption it causes family life, especially the children (see Malachi 2:14-16 Malachi 2:14-16 [14] Yet you say, Why? Because the LORD has been witness between you and the wife of your youth, against whom you have dealt treacherously: yet is she your companion, and the wife of your covenant. [15] And did not he make one? Yet had he the residue of the spirit. And why one? That he might seek a godly seed. Therefore take heed to your spirit, and let none deal treacherously against the wife of his youth. [16] For the LORD, the God of Israel, said that he hates putting away: for one covers violence with his garment, said the LORD of hosts: therefore take heed to your spirit, that you deal not treacherously.
American King James Version×
).

This remains a moral universe. God wove cause and effect into the very fabric of His creation. Therefore, sin results in its own negative consequences. And ultimately sin requires the ultimate punishment of death—lest it appear that sin is not really so bad.

Of course, while God hates sin, He loves the sinner and desires to spare him or her. And this is where Christ's sacrifice comes in. Our Creator's love was totally triumphant when He gave us His only begotten Son Jesus Christ so that we would not perish, but instead inherit everlasting life in His family Kingdom (see John 3:16-17 John 3:16-17 [16] For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. [17] For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.
American King James Version×
).

Christians must never be ashamed of the sacrifice of Christ. Instead, it must be recognized that in God's great plan of salvation, Jesus died to help all of mankind come to realize both the terrible graveness of sin as well as the immeasurable depth of God's love and mercy for us. Indeed, His sacrifice sets us free.

God's justice and mercy

Many do not grasp that the love of God embraces both justice and mercy. He is a God of justice as well as abundant mercy. It's because of the divine attribute of justice that the penalty for our sins—our transgressions of God's law (see 1 John 3:4 1 John 3:4Whoever commits sin transgresses also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.
American King James Version×
)—had to be paid.

And it is through His divine mercy that Jesus Christ died for our sins. Since the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23 Romans 6:23For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
American King James Version×
), the sinless Christ willingly suffered a cruel death in our place so that the God of justice could also show His great mercy—thereby freely forgiving our sins so that we could be reconciled to Him and receive everlasting life (see 2 Corinthians 5:17-21 2 Corinthians 5:17-21 [17] Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. [18] And all things are of God, who has reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and has given to us the ministry of reconciliation; [19] To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, not imputing their trespasses to them; and has committed to us the word of reconciliation. [20] Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ's stead, be you reconciled to God. [21] For he has made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.
American King James Version×
).

Cheap grace has never been part of the Father's plan and is absolutely contrary to His divine character. So reconciliation to God the Father is made possible only by the steepest price imaginable—the shed blood of His Son Jesus Christ. As the apostle Peter expressed it, "You were not redeemed with corruptible things like silver or gold from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, but with the precious blood of Christ as of a lamb without blemish and without spot" (1 Peter 1:18-19 1 Peter 1:18-19 [18] For as much as you know that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; [19] But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:
American King James Version×
, emphasis added throughout).

When Jesus returns to the earth, He will bring to the whole world the utopian order that mankind has sought in vain throughout time. He will "establish it with judgment and justice" (Isaiah 9:7 Isaiah 9:7Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, on the throne of David, and on his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from now on even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.
American King James Version×
). Also notice that "with righteousness He will judge the poor, and decide with equity for the meek of the earth" (Isaiah 11:4 Isaiah 11:4But with righteousness shall he judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth: and he shall smite the earth: with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked.
American King James Version×
).

We should never overlook God's justice, which is generously tempered by His great mercy. The apostle James wrote that "mercy triumphs over judgment" (James 2:13 James 2:13For he shall have judgment without mercy, that has showed no mercy; and mercy rejoices against judgment.
American King James Version×
). And the apostle Paul praised God, stating, "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and the God of all comfort" (2 Corinthians 1:3 2 Corinthians 1:3Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort;
American King James Version×
).

But the necessity of God giving His Son as a sacrifice for our sins offends some who nominally embrace Christianity as well as many unbelievers, as the New Testament explains.

The cross offensive, but not to true Christians

Paul plainly wrote of "the offense of the cross" (Galatians 5:11 Galatians 5:11And I, brothers, if I yet preach circumcision, why do I yet suffer persecution? then is the offense of the cross ceased.
American King James Version×
). It tends to offend those who misunderstand its true meaning. Certainly the coming crucifixion was deeply offensive to Peter before he understood its purpose as the means for God the Father to demonstrate His justice regarding sin and His mercy in forgiving us (see Mark 8:31-33 Mark 8:31-33 [31] And he began to teach them, that the Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected of the elders, and of the chief priests, and scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again. [32] And he spoke that saying openly. And Peter took him, and began to rebuke him. [33] But when he had turned about and looked on his disciples, he rebuked Peter, saying, Get you behind me, Satan: for you mind not the things that be of God, but the things that be of men.
American King James Version×
). Further, Paul tells us that "the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing" (1 Corinthians 1:18 1 Corinthians 1:18For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but to us which are saved it is the power of God.
American King James Version×
).

Yet Paul clearly associated the power of God with the cross of Christ (figuratively meaning the atonement for our sins). The apostle explains: "For though He [Christ] was crucified in weakness, yet He [was resurrected and now] lives by the power of God. For we are also weak in Him, but we shall live with Him by the power of God toward you" (2 Corinthians 13:4 2 Corinthians 13:4For though he was crucified through weakness, yet he lives by the power of God. For we also are weak in him, but we shall live with him by the power of God toward you.
American King James Version×
).

So the symbolism of Christ's cross remains an integral part of the true gospel message. "For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation to everyone who believes" (Romans 1:16 Romans 1:16For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God to salvation to every one that believes; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.
American King James Version×
).

Paul expounded this principle in personal terms: "I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me [through the power of the Holy Spirit]: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me" (Galatians 2:20 Galatians 2:20I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ lives in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.
American King James Version×
, King James Version).

No wonder he later stated, "But God forbid that I should boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ" (Galatians 6:14 Galatians 6:14But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified to me, and I to the world.
American King James Version×
). Of course, the original physical cross no longer exists, having long since crumbled into dust.

The cross of Christ—an instrument of peace

Paul explained to Christians at Rome that, "having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ" (Romans 5:1 Romans 5:1Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:
American King James Version×
). The apostle also tells how: "And by Him [Christ] to reconcile all things to Himself, by Him, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross" (Colossians 1:20 Colossians 1:20 And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things to himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven.
American King James Version×
).

Only the shed blood of God's Son can satisfy the just demands of God's holy spiritual law. Only the sacrifice of Christ can meet the Father's terms and conditions. God will not compromise with His spiritual law. We have to repent of our sins and strive to obey Him (John 15:14 John 15:14You are my friends, if you do whatever I command you.
American King James Version×
; 1 John 5:2-3 1 John 5:2-3 [2] By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments. [3] For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.
American King James Version×
). Jesus Christ kept His Father's commandments, setting us an example for all time (John 15:10 John 15:10If you keep my commandments, you shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father's commandments, and abide in his love.
American King James Version×
).

Still, God takes our fragile physical human frame into consideration (Psalms 78:37-39 Psalms 78:37-39 [37] For their heart was not right with him, neither were they steadfast in his covenant. [38] But he, being full of compassion, forgave their iniquity, and destroyed them not: yes, many a time turned he his anger away, and did not stir up all his wrath. [39] For he remembered that they were but flesh; a wind that passes away, and comes not again.
American King James Version×
). When through weakness we commit sins and then repent, "the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin" (1 John 1:7 1 John 1:7But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleans us from all sin.
American King James Version×
).

Yet humanly we simply cannot fully and effectively keep God's law until we know that we have been completely forgiven for all of our sins, our transgressions of His holy spiritual law. Clearly people tormented by guilt find obedience to God a difficult task. But there is a way to get rid of guilt.

Our guilty consciences cleansed

The ordinances, gifts and sacrifices of ancient Israel could not make people perfect who performed the required services "in regard to the conscience" (Hebrews 9:9 Hebrews 9:9Which was a figure for the time then present, in which were offered both gifts and sacrifices, that could not make him that did the service perfect, as pertaining to the conscience;
American King James Version×
). But Christ's atonement can! "How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?" (verse 14).

After we have been fully forgiven and washed clean from our sins, firstly by Christ's blood and secondly symbolically in the baptismal waters, we are told to "draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience [by Jesus' shed blood] and our bodies washed with pure water" (Hebrews 10:22 Hebrews 10:22Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.
American King James Version×
).

The apostle John expressed deep appreciation for Christ's sacrifice: "To Him who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood" (Revelation 1:5 Revelation 1:5And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. To him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood,
American King James Version×
). At the time of Paul's miraculous conversion, Ananias asked him: "And now why are you waiting? Arise and be baptized and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord" (Acts 22:16 Acts 22:16And now why tarry you? arise, and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord.
American King James Version×
). The salvation process encompasses both the shed blood of Christ and the waters of baptism.

Christ's sacrifice leads to everlasting life

Jesus explained to Nicodemus: "As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness [a special sign fashioned for people bitten during a plague of serpents to look on and be healed], even so must the Son of Man be lifted up [by being crucified], that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life" (John 3:14-16 John 3:14-16 [14] And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: [15] That whoever believes in him should not perish, but have eternal life. [16] For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
American King James Version×
).

John recorded the very words of Christ: "Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him [the Father] who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life" (John 5:24 John 5:24Truly, truly, I say to you, He that hears my word, and believes on him that sent me, has everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death to life.
American King James Version×
). That's why real conversion is so important (Acts 3:19 Acts 3:19Repent you therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord.
American King James Version×
). Finally: "And this is the testimony: that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has life" (1 John 5:11-12 1 John 5:11-12 [11] And this is the record, that God has given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. [12] He that has the Son has life; and he that has not the Son of God has not life.
American King James Version×
).

Truly, Jesus did die to reconcile us to God—paying the death penalty for sin in our place and presenting to us the pathway to eternal salvation. Let us never allow ourselves to be corrupted by society's false worldview into erasing or diminishing from our minds this wonderful good news for which we should be forever thankful! 

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