Section 4: Jesus
Week 3: Jesus Came to Live and Die to Save Us from Sin
Day 5: In Order to Save Us, Jesus Had to Be God
We saw last time that Jesus needed to be fully human in order to save us. But he also needed to be fully God as well. This becomes apparent when we think about the penalty we owe for our sin. The Bible speaks often of God’s wrath being poured out as a result of sin (Rom. 1:18, Col. 3, Heb. 3:11). Jesus, as our representative, bore our sin on the cross (1 Pet. 2:24). As a consequence, He also bore God’s wrath for us.
He needed to be God to do that. As created beings, we humans are finite and limited; we exist inside of time. That means no human being would ever be able to pay the penalty sin deserves. God’s wrath against sin is so great there would never be enough time for it to be completely poured out against us. That is why hell is eternal.
The same would have been true of Jesus if he were only human. He would experience the pouring out of God’s wrath within time and, therefore, as one moment happening after another. If that were the case, he’d never reach a point where he had finished paying the penalty for our sin. Our debt would, therefore, still remain on the books.
God, however, exists outside of time. Jesus’ divine nature, therefore, does not experience events one after another like we do.[i] That means Jesus was able to bear God’s wrath all at once, as it were. Our debt, therefore, has been paid in full.
Read Matthew 27:45-55 again.
When you think of infinity, what comes to mind? Jesus paid an infinite price for your sin; how does that make you feel? Sometimes, we think of Jesus’ payment as limited to the three days he was dead. How does understanding the infinite nature of his payment change the way you view him? Yourself?
[i] Wayne Grudem, Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Doctrine (Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House 1994),, 168-173.