Why did Jesus have to die? - Galatians 2:21 (NIV)

“I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!” (Galatians 2:21; NIV)

In this passage in Galatians, we read that we cannot gain righteousness through the law. Paul even goes so far to say that if we could gain righteousness through the law, Christ died for nothing. But any good parent knows that a loving father would not sacrifice their own child for nothing.

It was God’s will to crush Jesus

So why did God the Father send Jesus to die the painful death on a cross? Isaiah 53:10 even tells us “it was the Lord’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer” (NIV).

In verse 11 of that same chapter, we see why it was God’s will for Jesus to die on the cross:

“After he has suffered, he will see the light of life and be satisfied; by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many, and he will bear their iniquities.”(NIV; emphasis added by me)

God knew that by Jesus paying for our sins on the cross, He would justify many — all those who believe in Him and accept His finished work on the cross.

Not righteous through the law of Moses

Going back to the verse in Galatians 2:21. There was no way for us to gain righteousness through the law. In fact, Romans 5:20 even tells us that “The law was brought in so that the trespass might increase.” (NIV) and in Galatians 2:16, it says “by the works of the law no one will be justified.” (NIV)

And to spend all of eternity with God with eternal pleasures, we must be righteous. We must be holy. We must be justified. And God knew that we could not do that on our own. So He sent His beloved Son, Jesus, to die for us in our place. He took our punishment. He took our sicknesses (see Isaiah 53:4-5).

Don’t ever believe the lie from the devil that you must be good enough to get to Heaven. You will never be good enough. None of us will. Only Jesus made the way for us to be reconciled with God. Have you accepted His offer of eternal salvation?