Why Did Christ Die?
Because of his great love for us, that he might save us from our sins, ourselves, and the wrath of God, our all-glorious Lord Jesus Christ became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross! God assumed our nature. God’s dear Son, as a man, fulfilled all the requirements of God’s law for his people. Then, having fulfilled all righteousness, the Son of God, our Lord Jesus Christ, died upon the cursed tree as the sinners’ Substitute. Why?
That is the question I want to answer in this article. Our dear Savior cried out to his Father in his dying agony, “Why hast thou forsaken me?” How much more might we for whom he died asked with holy adoration and wonder, Why did Christ die? What was the object and purpose of his death? What did the Son of God have in mind, what did he intend to accomplish by dying upon the cursed tree in the place of his people? I know these two things; and I hope you know them as well: (1.) Whatever the Lord Jesus Christ intended to accomplish in his death, in the act of dying and by the merit and virtue of his death, shall most assuredly be accomplished. Christ, who is himself almighty God, is an effectual Redeemer. It is written, “He shall not fail” (Isa. 42:4). To say, suggest, or imply in any way that he failed to do exactly what he intended to do is to deny his eternal deity. (2.) The Word of God tells us plainly and exactly what the Son of God hoped and purposed to accomplish by his death. There is no need for guesswork here. The Scriptures are crystal clear. Here are seven reasons, plainly stated in the Word of God, for the death of our dear Savior, seven things the Lord of glory died to accomplish.
1st christ died that he might be lord of the entire universe (Rom. 14:9). I preach without apology the blessed gospel doctrine of particular, effectual redemption. Christ died to redeem and save God’s elect. He did not die to save those who perish in their sins. The Son of God did not lay down his life for those for whom he refused even to pray (John 17:9, 20). You cannot divide the priestly work of Christ. His sacrifice and his intercession are for the same people! Yet, there is a sense in which our Lord Jesus, as our Mediator, as the God-man, our Surety, bought the whole world and all who are in it (Matt. 13:44). He bought the right to rule the whole world and all who are in it as a sovereign despot (John 17:2; 2 Pet.2:1). He bought the right to dispose of the whole world and all who are in it as a Righteous Judge (2 Thess. 1:6-10). He bought the right to make all things new and to have the praise of all things (Rev. 21:5; Rom. 8:23). This is what I am saying. By virtue of his death upon the cross, Christ the Man is Lord of all! He has all power over all flesh. And he constantly exercises that power as the Sovereign Monarch of the universe to save his own elect (Ps. 2:8; Acts 2:36; John 17:2; Ps. 115:3; 135:6).
2nd CHRIST DIED UPON THE CROSS, UNDER THE WRATH OF GOD, AS OUR SUBSTITUTE, SO THAT GOD MIGHT BE BOTH JUST AND THE JUSTIFIER OF ALL WHO BELIEVE ON HIM UNTO LIFE EVERLASTING (Rom. 3:19-28). Let me point out five things here about this business of justification. (1.) It is not possible for us to justify ourselves by personal obedience to the law, because we are all sinners. (2.) It is not possible for God himself to justify us without the perfect fulfillment of the law’s righteousness and the complete satisfaction of the law’s justice by Christ. (3.) Through the merits of Christ’s obedience and death God is just and we are justified, made righteous in God’s sight. - It was the specific object of Christ in his death to make all for whom he died righteous before God; and he did it (2 Cor. 5:21; Jer. 23:6). (4.) Since we who believe on the Son of God are justified without the works of the law, we have no grounds of boasting before God. (5.) By faith in Christ, only by faith in Christ, we fulfill, honor, and satisfy the law of God (Rom. 3:31).
3rd CHRIST DIED FOR US, AS OUR SUBSTITUTE, UNDER THE WRATH OF GOD, TO PUT AWAY OUR SINS BY THE SACRIFICE OF HIMSELF (Heb. 9:24-26). Christ was made to be sin for us! He put away our sin! In him we have no sin! Read Numbers 23:21 and 1 John 3:5
4th CHRIST DIED FOR HIS elect THAT HE MIGHT BRING US TO GOD (1 Pet. 3:18). We were far off from God. Christ brought us nigh unto God. We were alienated from God. Christ reconciled us to God. We were enemies to God. Christ brought us peace with God. We were separated from God. Christ has given us access to God. We could never have come to God. Christ brought us to God, and will yet bring us unto God, and will at last present us holy, unblamable, and unreprovable in his sight, before the presence of his glory!
5th the lord jesus died for us that he might deliver us from this present EVIL WORLD (Gal. 1:4). It was the object of our Savior in dying on the cross to deliver, by the merit and power of his blood, all for whom he died from the evil kingdom of this world, the evil ways of this world, the evil things of this world, the evil religion of this world, and the evil end of this world. We should therefore give all the more earnest heed to Psalm 37:1-9.
6th Christ “gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works" (Tit. 2:14). Every word in this text is precious and full of instruction. Do not let a single syllable slip by your eyes and ears unnoticed. Christ has redeemed us from all iniquity. Its penalty. Its power. Its consequences. Christ purifies his people, those people whom he has redeemed, as his peculiar, distinct people. He gives his redeemed ones a pure record of righteousness before God in justification and a pure nature in regeneration. All who are redeemed by the blood of Christ and saved by his grace are his peculiar, distinct, special people; and they are zealous of good works. We belong to Christ as no one else. We are his blood bought, mercy sought, grace caught, Spirit taught people. All who are Christ’s are zealous of good works. That does not mean that believers live in perfection, or even in anything that resembles perfection. But it does mean that believers earnestly seek to do the will of God in all things, walking in love toward one another for the glory of him who loved us and gave himself for us. Now, let me show you one more thing. This is the purpose of Christ in his death. And it shall also be accomplished.
7th Our most glorious Christ died for us that he might present us to his Father and our Father, before wandering worlds, in the beauty of perfect holiness, to the praise of the glory of his grace (Eph. 5:25-27; Col. 1:21-22; 1 Cor. 15:24-28; Eph 2:7; Jude 24-25). The Lord Jesus Christ came into this world and laid down his life for us so that we, all his people, God’s elect, the chosen sons and daughters of God almighty, might, through the merits of his precious, efficacious blood receive and forever enjoy all the benefits and blessings of adoption in him (Gal. 4:4-5). And so shall it be!