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.
All of history is moving toward a final judgment, the moment when God’s righteousness will be fully revealed as he is made fully known to all creatures in heaven and on earth. The doctrine of the final judgment is an essential part of Christian teaching. Without it, God himself would not be just, and there would no ultimate distinction in reality between right and wrong. Consequently, there could be no story of redemption or consummation of that story.
One of the glorious truths of the gospel is that Jesus Christ endured the final judgment of God in the middle of history for the sake of his people. That means that for believers in Christ, in a very real sense the final judgment is already a past reality (though we continue to await the full revelation of God's verdict over us on the day of resurrection). We do not have to fear ever facing God as a judge who will determine our destiny on the basis of our actions. That verdict has already been rendered for us, and because of Christ, we have been acquitted. Having passed through that judgment, we are now welcomed into the family of God, where we relate to him, not as terrifying judge, but as loving Father. The breaking of the final judgment into history in the death and resurrection of Christ has made this wonderful reality possible for us.
Suggested passage for personal or family reading: Romans 8:31-39. What does this passage teach us about the results of Christ’s death for us? How should it inform how we live in this world?