Why did Jesus have to die?
Several years ago, I asked my radio audience a very important question:
“Why did Jesus Have to Die?”
This question is important because the answer reveals whether or not a person is living under grace or as a slave to the Law.
The most common response was this, “Jesus died so that we would be able to keep The Law.” This response could not be further from the truth. If we believe the purpose of Christ’s crucifixion was to give us supernatural ability to perform The Law at a higher level than before we believed in Jesus as Lord and Savior, then we fail to understand the purpose of the Law, the Law itself, and the death of Christ.
Most Christians and non-Christians believe the Law is detailed in Exodus 20:2-17. This Law is called The Ten Commandments. But the actual Law is contained in the Torah, known as the Books of Moses or the Book of The Law. But the Torah contains, not Ten Commandments but 613 in all. Successfully obeying Ten Commandments is impossible. Imagine trying to follow all the commandments listed within the Torah.
For those who believe we as Christians are still under The Law, let me ask you a few questions.
When was the last time you made a pilgrimage to Jerusalem to observe Pesah (Passover), Shavuot (the Feast of Weeks) or Sukkot (the Festival of Booths)? According to the Law described in Deuteronomy 16:16 the commandment is given requiring these three visits to Jerusalem each year.
When was the last time you offered an animal sacrifice? Daily and seasonal sacrifices are required in the Law.
When was the last time you visited the Tabernacle to ask a priest to intercede for you? You can’t, because neither the Hebrew priesthood or tabernacle exists.
Did you circumcise your entire household according the Commandment in Exodus 12:48?
Of the 613 commandments given in the Torah, 248 are positive (the To Do list) and 365 are negative (the Don’ts). If you are under The Law you must be judged by The Law. But I have good news; as Christians we are no longer under the Law of Moses.
The Mosaic Law is obsolete for both Christians and Jews. The writer of Hebrews explicitly declares that the New Covenant, mentioned in Jeremiah 31, has rendered the Law given through Moses to the early fathers as no longer viable.
"For this [is] the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the LORD: I will put My laws in their mind and write them on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.”
"None of them shall teach his neighbor, and none his brother, saying, 'Know the LORD,' for all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them.”
"For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more."
In that He says, "A new covenant," He has made the first obsolete. Now what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away. Hebrews 8:10-13
Did you notice that the Old Covenant Law was made obsolete? If you consider yourself Torah Observant or part of The Hebrew Roots Movement, you have completely missed the purpose of The Law.
You cannot be saved by The Law; with no temple, priesthood or sacrifices available or pilgrimages to Jerusalem, you cannot even attempt to perform The Law or meet its basic requirements.
So then, why was The Law given?
Paul tells us, in Galatians 3:19, the purpose behind The Law.
What purpose then [does] the law [serve]? It was added because of transgressions, till the Seed should come to whom the promise was made; [and it was] appointed through angels by the hand of a mediator. Gal 3:19 NKJV
The purpose of The Law was so that we could recognize our transgressions. The Law reveals our sin. But its purpose was never to be “the” source or even “a” source of salvation. Its purpose was to last until The Messiah, The Seed of the Woman came. Jesus’ death and resurrection put an end to The Law. He made it obsolete. Not only can it no longer be performed because of the loss of the Tabernacle, priest and sacrifices, it could never provide you with salvation.
I have really great news for you. Jesus brings you salvation and sets you free from The Law. That’s fantastic news for those who thought they were under the Ten Commandments. It’s even better news when you discover the additional 603 commandments you also fail to perform.
Jesus came to set you free from The Law of Sin and Death.
In Galatians 2:16, Paul says,
“…nevertheless, knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the Law but through faith in Christ Jesus, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, so that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the Law; since by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified.”
Jesus did not die so you could keep The Law. He died for you because you could not do The Law, He died for you because by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified.
“It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore, keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery.” Gal 5:1 NASB
Jesus has set you free from The Law of Sin and Death.
“So, if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed.” John 8:36 NASB
Beloved, you now have freedom in Christ. Freedom from The Law. Freedom guided by The Holy Spirit, not by a list of rules performed in the flesh.
This truly is good news.
Copyright © 2018, Stewart White. This article may be redistributed freely, without charge, providing it remains unchanged and copyright is not removed.