“By a Carpenter mankind was made, and only by that Carpenter can mankind be remade.” – Desiderius Erasmus
Why was the death of Christ Jesus necessary for our salvation? Understanding the purpose for our salvation is key to answering that question. As a race of humans we were created by our God to experience close communion and fellowship with Him. It was His plan that we would enjoy an intimate, face-to-face relationship with Him on earth. In the choices of the original humans, that relationship was rejected. Humans chose to go their own way apart from their God. Fellowship was broken.
The great plan put in place by our God in response to our rebellion has been to restore us to communion and fellowship with Himself. A God of love and mercy would, of course, move to do this. A God of compassionate grace would, of course, initiate this restoration on behalf of the rebellious ones.
Yet a God of perfect justice and unmarred purity, a God of unstained holiness, would have to completely remove any traces of injustice, impurity, and unholiness from the rebels if there was to be restored communion and fellowship. Of course.
The penalty for our rebellion is eternal separation from our God. Spiritual death that produced as its consequence physical death. The only hope we humans could ever have, stained and impure as we are, is for a substitute to take on our guilt and, most importantly, remove the barrier of our uncleanness. Absent that substitute, we could never be restored to fellowship. Perfect justice could not allow it. Death being the penalty, the substitute had to die for restoration to be possible.
Enter Jesus Christ, the perfect substitutionary sacrifice. Perfect in purity, unstained by sin and guilt, unmarred by rebellion or any impurity. He alone, perfect God in the form of a human and on behalf of all, could pay the price, remove the barrier, and restore the fellowship. And that He did, the one for all. Perfect love kisses the face of perfect justice. Restoration is offered to all who will have it.
“When God forgives, He at once restores.” – Theodore Epp
So why was the resurrection of Jesus from the dead necessary?
Restoration. For restoration of the original, intended relationship to happen, a change in us had to be effected. Remember, the purpose for our existence is that intimate, face-to-face relationship with our God. Here and now, on earth. Our God is restoring the in-the-moment, here and now, intimate, face-to-face relationship; on earth and extending into eternity with Himself.
For that to happen, the power of spiritual death and physical death had to be broken so we could experience intimacy with our God now and forever. The resurrection is the living, breathing proof of our God’s intention and power to cancel the power death held over us. Jesus Christ walked out of the tomb and into renewed living, enabling us to walk out of our obligation to die and into restored living and restored intimacy.
The crucifixion removed guilt as our curse, separation as our consequence, and death as our punishment. These were placed upon our Perfect Substitute, Jesus Christ. He bore them away from us forever.
The resurrection removes death as the ruling principle in this world, and restored freedom from sin’s control, and fellowship with our God as our new manner of living. Here, now, and forever.
The crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus also provides the opportunity for the restoration of the intimacy, the face-to-face kind of relationship for which we were created.
“Jesus Christ became Incarnate for one purpose, to make a way back to God that man might stand before Him as He was created to do, the friend and lover of God Himself.” – Oswald Chambers
That relationship is made possible in our restored living by the presence of the Spirit of Christ Himself, alive in us.