The Easter story. Why Jesus came to Earth and why he had to die.
By Greg Smith
The why? of course is sin. God created us as independent beings and gave us a great environment, but we immediately fell into sin and a broken relationship with Him. Our independence produced pride, arrogance, jealousy, envy, anger, fear, slavery, murder, war, torture, genocide, etc. God's goal was to create a family -- instead we became a community of murders.
So he had to resolve two problems. His justice required our punishment for all we've done against his creation. But squaring the books meant our annihilation. So although he is the creator, he took on the form of a created being and received the punishment that we deserved. Now one man might be able to take on the punishment due another man, but in this case the creator was punished for the sins of his whole creation.
But with the penalty for sin paid, are we any different inside? Won't we just keep on sinning without any improvement? Aren't we still flawed by our own independence?
Yes. But God had a solution for that problem as well. If we would VOLUNTARILY give up our independence, he would indwell us in the form of the Holy Spirit (aka the Spirit of Christ). With the Spirit inside, we are new creatures. We are able to resist sin, have intimate fellowship with God, enjoy a life free from guilt and are empowered for greatness.
I love what the Apostle Paul writes in Galatians 2:20: "I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me."
A Christian is a new creation. Not an independent person with new information, but a new creation living in a new way by the Spirit of God. In Romans 8 it says:
"You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ. But if Christ is in you, your body is dead because of sin, yet your spirit is alive because of righteousness. And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, who lives in you. Therefore, brothers, we have an obligation—but it is not to the sinful nature, to live according to it. For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live, because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, "Abba, Father." The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God's children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ..."