We continue in exploring the fundamentals of our Christian Faith through question 24 from the New City Catechism:
Question 24 Why was it necessary for Christ, the Redeemer, to die?
Answer: Since death is the punishment for sin, Christ died willingly in our place to deliver us from the power and penalty of sin and bring us back to God. By his substitutionary atoning death, he alone redeems us from hell and gains for us forgiveness of sin, righteousness, and everlasting life.
Scripture: Colossians 1:21–22
And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him.
Commentary by Mark Dever
Why was it necessary for Christ, the Redeemer, to die? This is a heavy question. I don’t know if questions get much heavier than this. Christ lived a perfect life, the life you and I should have lived. He lived a life of love, of service. He lived an amazing life of trust in his heavenly Father. So the question is a pressing one. Why should one like that die? Why was it morally necessary?
Well, he didn’t have to die for his own sake. If we were thinking just about Jesus, there would be no necessity for the cross. No, he died because he would be the Redeemer. It was his will, and also his heavenly Father’s will, to redeem us. It was his will to lay down his life, to sacrifice himself by dying on the cross in order to rescue us from the penalty that we deserved. You see, because God is good, he will punish sin. That wrong thing that you or I have done in secret—God knows about it. God’s real. He’s not just an idea. He’s not just a figment of our imagination. And this God is so thoroughly committed to what is good and right that every sin will be punished. And this is where Jesus comes in. Jesus determined to be our Redeemer. It was the will of his heavenly Father that he give himself as a sacrifice in substitution. That’s a word that’s often used—as a substitute, in the place of, instead of you and me. Jesus is our substitute if we repent of our sins, turn from them and trust in him.
So why did the Redeemer need to die? Because that’s the only way you and I would live