Why did Jesus have to die for our sins?

Skeptics have often made the claim that goes something like this, “Why would an all-powerful God need to send his son to die in order to forgive us- why not just forgive us without all that talk of death and blood?”

On the surface, this seems like a pretty legitimate argument- right? After all, you and I forgive people often enough and no one has to die, no one has to shed blood, no one has to suffer. It seems therefore that since we’re able to forgive without a loss of life that God should be able to. Since God cannot do this (or chose not to do this) God is therefore:

  1. Not worthy of our worship
  2. Not real, but a figment of the imagination of an ancient, barbaric peoples.

Let’s take this a little further because even I, as a believer, have struggled with this “why Christ had to die” argument. The victory over this skepticism comes in doing what few skeptics and/or atheists want to do and that’s to dig deeper. See, when we keep our skepticism on the surface area where emotions lie, we’re able to justify just about any belief that we have or want to hold on to. Upon digging deeper, it becomes hard to hold on to those beliefs and we become challenged. This makes us feel weak. Humans don’t like feeling weak so instead we hold to our topical belief systems; the ones rooted in emotion- the very heart of atheism.

So let’s take this down a notch.

I call this the Garage Door fallacy. Let’s say that your brother coming home from a days work pulls up the driveway a bit too fast. In his haste, he plows through the garage door and destroys it. I mean, it’s busted. Totally wasted. You hear the noise and see the hood of the car letting off a little white smoke, the door is in large pieces, and you’re brother has a look on his face of regret and fear.

You have a 2 real choices here:

  1. You can punish him. You can yell and kick and scream and bring upon him your wrath. After all, this was YOUR garage door in YOUR house and he broke it- not you. It wasn’t your fault in any way. So you decide to push him out of your life after a voracious beating and verbal lashing.
  2. You can forgive him. You may still be angry, you may still be hurt but all things said and done, you’ve made the choice to not let this accident come between your relationship and you’re not willing to throw away that relationship over a garage door.

Here’s the dilemma: Whichever decision you make, the garage door still has to be replaced or fixed. To not fix the door would be to expose the safety of your family, your goods, your property, your assets. You wouldn’t feel safe and you would be a poor steward of the stuff you’ve acquired in your life. In short, to not replace the garage door would be a dereliction of your responsibilities.

So who has to replace it?

Well, either your brother has to pay for it or you do. Whichever way it goes, someone has to pay the price for the damaged property. There is no way around it. So now, you’re once again looking at those two choices:

You can punish your brother and extend to him that responsibility whereby he must pay to fix the garage. Only problem is, your brother does not have the ability to pay for it. He is unable to pay the price for the atrocity he has committed against you.

Or you can pay for it. You’re the only one in the scenario that has the ability to fully forgive the crime and pay for the offense. You also have the will to take on that cost for the sake of your brother you who love.

Which do you do?

Let’s bring it all together. God made for us a beautiful world in which to live and grow and be happy. We broke that world with our sins. And by “sin” we mean the traditional and the etymological meaning of the word:

Sin- to miss the mark. To be imperfect.

It wasn’t just about eating fruit. It’s about disobedience and carelessness. It’s about taking what belongs to God and abusing it. Taking the rules (like “thou shall not destroy garage doors” but instead, “thou shall not lie”) and breaking them. Only, we break them over and over and over again.

A white lie- still a lie.
Stealing something stupid- still stealing.

So we destroyed God’s world and He can either punish or forgive us. In punishment, we are asked to pay for our own sins- a price that we cannot pay. In forgiveness, we are not asked to pay. We are relieved of the debt and able to enjoy the garage door- once fixed- all over again.

God chose to forgive us knowing that the price to fix the world and our relationship with Him would be too great for us to bear. That price would have destroyed us in the process. Almost like paying for a garage door that would have bankrupted your brother or put him in a debt from which he would never return. Instead, God came to earth in the form of man- he was called Jesus. He took on our sins and suffered the penalty because only God has the will and the ability to bear such a price.

Now, those of us who have heard this truth- what we call the Gospel- and have accepted this truth have been forgiven and we are able to enjoy the world- once fixed- all over again.

Of course, the world is not fixed yet.

Jesus will return to hold accountable those who have decided to fix the garage door on their own. He will come to fix the world. To repair it. We call this fixed world “Heaven.”

Those who reject the saving work of the cross will unfortunately be part of the fixing. They will need to pay a price so great that they will not return. The have made the decision not to accept the forgiveness- they’ve decided to pay that price on their own through “good works” or “meditation” or “yoga” or some other form of spirituality.

However, when it comes down to it, no amount of good works or meditation can repair the damaged world and the damaged relationship with God (Isaiah 64:6). It would be like your brother saying, “well I can’t pay for the garage door so I’ll sit in a forest for 40 years and medidate.”

How does that help the situation?

He may feel better about what he did, but it doesn’t fix the garage door.

So Christ had to die because sin had to die. Christ had to rise again because he is stronger than sin. We are doomed to pay a price we can’t pay because we are imperfect. Therefore, we must accept the forgiveness of Christ if we want to escape that price and enjoy the world that he will return to make perfect.

That is the gospel.

That is why Christ had to die.

It’s not a perfect analogy and the atheist who refuses it will find tidbits and pieces to say “ya but…” and other nonsense that we’ve all heard before.

Shallow. Nonsense.

The true skeptic- one who listens and considers- may have the ears to hear and if that’s you, I urge you to contact me with your questions and/or concerns. It’s my hearts desire to see you escape that price and enjoy that new world- once fixed.   Image

How could a loving God allow evil?

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When I look at the world I see total conflict and yet total harmony. On one hand I see how environments and biospheres work together in symbiosis- a perfect design- to sustain life. Sunlight powers plants, animals eat plants, we eat the animals…. If one aspect was gone the whole system would fall apart- they are irreducibly complex to each other.

On the other hand, I see war, famine, greed, hatred, racism… and I see a lot of it. Politicians are telling one story, big corporations are telling another, people lie, cheat, and steal from each other. I wish I could say I was different but… I’ve even told a lie. Maybe you have too…

Anyway, I look at the Book of Genesis and I read that when God created the world HE saw that it was GOOD. And we’re not talking like you and me GOOD we’re talking about the perfect Holy God of the Universe saying that it’s His type of Good- there was no death, there was no decay, the trees were greener, the fruit bigger and juicier, and animals and man walked in perfect peace together. It was a Paradise, everything was designed perfectly. That’s what God wanted for us… for us to be in paradise with Him forever… but then Adam sinned.

And sin is not just something you do. It’s like a power or force that exists in the universe. It’s a spirit of rebellion against the creator, it affects not just our decisions but it affects the whole of creation. And Adam rebelled, man. He and His wife Eve were the first two human beings to ever walk to Earth- they were given this total paradise with only 1 rule: don’t eat from the tree in the middle. I know it sounds nuts but let’s just think about how brilliant this is…

See, God didn’t want a race of intelligent rational robots— yknow, robots are programmed- they are not given a choice. God wanted us to choose to love Him and to choose to follow Him. So He had to give Adam and Eve a choice. You can have this amazing paradise with all you could ever want, peace- love- harmony. Or you can have the fruit of the tree of the middle. They chose the latter.

So God let them be. He said, ok. They chose to follow their own desires and God being a perfectly Just and Fair God allowed them to do that and with that, Sin- the spirit of rebellion- entered the world and poisoned the perfectly designed creation. The Bible says that “the whole creation GROANED” when sin entered the world.

So now here we are… we still have this beautifully designed planet with this amazing complexity in not just the vastness of space but in the microcosm of the cell. We still have some of the harmony. But we also have the conflict. We have the sin power that surrounds the world. We have earthquakes, tsunami’s and hurricanes but we also still have the choice to lie, to cheat, and to steal. We also have the choice to love.

God said one last thing to Adam and Eve. See when they defied His one rule they had to leave the garden. But as they left He said that he would send a redeemer- someone who would come from a woman- someone who could repair the chasm that sin left between God and man. A bridge across.

That bridge was Jesus. Jesus was born of virgin- no man. Just a woman. Jesus didn’t teach that there WAS a way to God, he taught that HE was the way. He taught that He was God and that only He could repair the chasm and the religious leaders of his time killed him for it. They wanted you to follow a bunch a rules, say a bunch of memorized prayers, and give your allegiance to a church. That’s not what Jesus taught. Jesus taught that to get back to God you only need Him.

See, there is nothing you can do that can undo the sin that entered the garden. No amount of charity work or positive thoughts or tithing can take away that fact that you are not perfect. And nobodys perfect. The fact is, that all of us have told a lie, we’ve all stolen, we all fall short of Gods perfection and we must be held accountable. It would be great if we could all just be allowed to do whatever we want and get away with what but that’s not just. The Hindu’s believe in Karma or a power of cause and effect, that we reap what we sow. That justice exists in the universe. Well I don’t believe in karma, but I do believe in a just God.

When we accept that we are not perfect that’s when we open to door to Jesus. Jesus said that nothing we can do will ever bridge the gap between man and his Creator but that only by declaring your trust in Him will you be able to commune with God. Its like stepping in an elevator for the first time— you’ve never seen it work, you’re not sure of the details, but you’ve heard the view at the top is amazing. And when you place your trust in that elevator by stepping in- it takes you to the top. In the same way, Jesus takes us the way to the top.

His life of miracles, and service, and the awful death on the cross is our elevator. I didn’t watch him die, I’m not sure of the details, but I’ve seen what Jesus has done in my life. It’s not because Ive have done anything great its because He is great. He save us not because we have any special ability its because only He has the ability. Its not because we simply believe in God, its because Jesus is God and he wants us to be in paradise with Him forever.

What God wants us to do and what we want from God, may not always be the same thing. God wants to offer us freedom from the evil of this world but sometimes we just want our freedom from God. That’s truly what Hell is. The bible says that God did not create Hell for humans but for the devil and his demons. But God is a gentleman. If we live our lives wanting freedom from God, he will grant it. CS Lewis wrote that in the end of our lives there will only be 2 types of people. Those who say to God- your will be done. And those to whom God says- your will be done.

Harmony and conflict… sin and design. We no longer live in that perfect world but we still only have the one rule: pick Jesus. You may not know how, you may not know the details, but it can start right here and right now. The Bible says to declare with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and you shall be saved. For me it was a little weird at first but I just closed my eyes and I said something like this… You can say it with me if you want… I said…

God I see now that I am a sinner and I’ve fallen short of your perfection. I want to commune with you. I accept that Jesus is God and that He came to bridge the chasm between us. Forgive me Lord and change my heart to desire what you want for me.

Talk to the person who gave you this link. Ask them about the Bible. Tell them you want to learn more about what Jesus did.