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Have you ever wondered why Jesus had to suffer and die? That's easy, you say. Jesus died for my sins. True, but why were the sufferings of Christ necessary? The lambs in the Old Testament - which pictured Christ - died very quickly and humanely. Jesus did not. He suffered pain to perfection. His body was shredded. His mind was ravished. His spirit was abandoned at His point of greatest need. And since He was perfect the defilement and violation was all the more intense. The sufferings of Christ are beyond human imagination.
"Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him!" Rom. 5:9
So I will refine the question: Why did Jesus have to suffer?
God is perfect in all He does. He is perfect justice. God's wrath is the expression of violated justice. Our wrath is often controlled by our emotions. We are self-centered and get angry when someone upsets us or hinders our plans. Not so with God. His wrath is continual. It never changes. Sin has violated His justice, has invaded His universe. God continually works to restore justice and destroy sin. Anything and anyone contaminated with sin must face the unquenchable, perfect wrath of Almighty God.
As human beings we are all conceived and born already contaminated with sin. We are automatically under the wrath of God. Death alone would not satisfy the justice of God. Sin has tortured God's beautiful and perfect universe. Infinitely more than that, sin is a violation of and attack on God Himself. It is an unimaginable horror for the perfect and holy God to behold sin. Justice demands the offenders suffer as they have caused suffering.
The sufferings of Christ on the cross are a picture of the wrath of God poured out. It is an expression of the intense and unchangeable hatred of God for sin and all that is sinful. It is perfect justice. The sufferings of Christ were necessary for the full price of sin to be paid.
In our world today we have lost the concept of the horror of sin. We don't see it as being so bad. A study of the sufferings of Christ will show just how serious it is.
God is often presented as a kindly loving Santa Claus figure who just wants to bless His spoiled brats. He doesn't really expect anyone to live to His standards of righteous...not in a modern world. We think we can sin without real repentance and get forgiveness because God is really just a big Teddy Bear. Such an attitude makes a mockery of the sufferings of Christ and makes Christianity just another self-improvement program. We tell people they need a Saviour but they - and often we - don't know why they need a Saviour. What is there really to be saved from?
Everyone outside of a committed personal relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ is under the wrath of God. The fact Jesus suffered and died has "bought" them a little time. It is called Common Grace which means God withholds His expression of wrath against them while they are living on earth to give them [we were all "them" at one time] time to repent and come to Jesus Christ. Hell is real. Anyone who dies without submitting their life to the Lordship of Jesus Christ accepting His suffering and death on their behalf, will experience the full wrath of God for themselves. Since they did not accept the suffering and death of Christ on their behalf, they will suffer, like Christ did, only in Hell forever...no end, no escape, no relief. Christianity really is a matter of life and death.
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