I had no problem believing these things; but what I could not comprehend was “Why?” Why did Jesus have to suffer and die, shedding his blood to pay for our sins? Why would God demand such an extreme punishment of his precious Son if we could perform good deeds, sacraments, or do penance to pay for our sins? Or even better yet, why couldn’t God just simply forgive our sins?
I wondered if others have ever struggled with questions like these as well? It wasn’t until many years later when I was saved that I could truly begin to understand the answers to these questions.
Romans 6:23 “For the wages of sin is death;”
When Adam and Eve disobeyed God, eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, there was a price to pay. That price was death.
God, who cannot lie, could not go back on his word. He had told them:
Genesis 2:17 “But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.”
The day that they disobeyed, God's just judgment of death passed upon them. Adam and Eve died spiritually, and the process of their physical death began. They were thrust out of the garden, and away from tree of life so that they could no longer eat of it and live forever with God, Adam and Eve were now mortal, corruptible. They were now spiritually dead and physically dying.
Because of sin, that same death has passed upon us all. We are all spiritually dead and physically dying. In God’s eyes, we are dead in trespasses and sins.
For us to pay the debt we owe would mean that we would have to die and then remain spiritually dead and separated from God forever in hell.
Ezekiel 18:20 “The soul that sinneth, it shall die.”
In order to be restored to a right relationship with God, where we can once again live forever with him, not only do our sins need to be forgiven, but we also have to be given new life spiritually.
The Bible tells us that the only way to receive forgiveness of our sins is by the sacrifice of blood. Not by works of righteousness, not by sacraments, or good deeds, or prayers, but only by the blood can we be forgiven. If salvation could come any other way, then surely Christ died in vain.
Hebrews 9:22 “And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission.“
Without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness of sins. But not just any blood would do. We could not offer our own blood for ourselves or for anyone else because our blood is tainted by sin and owes its own debt. Only one who owed no debt of his own could make such a sacrifice.
Only the blood of a sinless sacrifice could pay for our sins. A sinless life is given as payment for another life.
Leviticus 17:11 “For the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul.”
The life of the flesh is in the blood. Christ sacrificed his blood (life) for ours- a life for a life. Christ gave his life, dying in our place to pay the debt we owed for sin and to give us new life.
When we repent of our sins toward God, and believe in Jesus Christ, we are born again. We are quickened (brought to new life). Jesus puts his own Spirit within us. His spirit is without sin and like him is eternal. Through his death burial and resurrection, he purchased our pardon and brought us to new life, and that life Is eternal.
Through faith in Christ, we can be reconciled to God, and live forever with him in heaven.