A little over a week ago I did a Q&A session for Crossroads (our college fellowship). One of the questions was about the value of Christ’s death. How could the death of one man, even a perfect man, pay for the sins of all humanity? And how could suffering for a short time pay for an eternity of judgement.
As I said at the time, this is a very good question. In my answer I pointed to the deity of Christ as the basis for his death having infinite value. If Jesus had only been a perfect man then his death could only take the place of one other person. But since He was both God and man, his death could cover the sins of all.
Since that time I have been reflecting further on this question and I realized that there is another important factor to be considered. God is the judge, and He has declared that He will accept Christ’s death as a substitute for all who believe. This makes it possible for God to declare us righteous in Christ without compromising His own justice, or as it is put in Romans 3:26 “that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.”
Even if we can’t completely understand the divine calculation by which God computes the value of Christ’s death, as a practical matter what is really important is that He has made it clear that Christ’s death is sufficient to provide justification to all who believe.
thanks for coming in for our Q&A, PK! we all really enjoyed it and found it very helpful. we’re very blessed to have a pastor like you at our church. 🙂
Wow, that was a fast response! I only posted it about 5 minutes ago.
I found out about your comment because I receive an email notification for comments. I’m not that lame that I check my blog every 5 mintutes to see if there are any comments 😉
Did Christ’s deity die on the cross? If not, then why did he have to be God in order to die for us?
I think that in the incarnation Jesus became the “God-man” and that His human and divine natures were joined in one person. So I don’t think that we can separate them at the cross to say that only his human part died. There is no Scriptural support for the idea that Jesus ceased to be divine right before His death. As you imply, if only a human Jesus died then it is difficult to understand how his death could pay for all of our sins.
The thought of Jesus, including His divine nature, dying is difficult to understand. If we really understand who Jesus is, then the fact that He rose from the dead should not surprise us at all. What is amazing is that He could die.
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