why did God do it that way?

©2021 michael martin | ask@lifefellowship.org

the hard way...

God’s plan of salvation for humankind is a marvel. Creation, sin, struggle and redemption are all played out on the pages of Scripture, and continue to be played out in our lives.

But, what an odd plan it is! And to some, it may not seem to make much sense. After all, if all things are possible for God, as the Bible says, then doesn’t it seem that God has gone about everything the hard way?

In view of God’s all-powerful nature, this article will explore three questions that were asked of me by a young person in our ministries. These questions include:

In view of God’s all-powerful nature...

1. Why did God make Jesus pay for our sins? Why couldn’t He do something else instead of sacrificing His only Son?.

2. Why can’t God re set time and make it so that his Son did not have to suffer?

3. Why did God even create Satan when he knew that sin would come into the world?

Good questions, no? Let’s dive in!

why did God even create Satan?

Knowing that Satan would bring sin into the world, why did God create Satan in the first place?

Doesn’t that seem to be where this whole mess started? To understand why God went to all this trouble, and why He puts up with all this hassle, we need to understand a few things about God.

God is relational

In other words, God is a God of relationships. He’s not some "far off," impersonal power like "the force" in Star Wars. God is a Person, and He wants personal relationships. So God created other beings so that He could have relationships with them. He created the angels, and He created humans, all so that He could have relationships with us. But what kind of relationships? Let’s take a look!

exodus 33:11a

The LORD would speak to Moses face to face, as a man speaks with his friend...

2 chronicles 20:7

O our God, did you not drive out the inhabitants of this land before your people Israel and give it forever to the descendants of Abraham your friend?

john 1:!2

Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God– 13 children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.

romans 8:16-17

The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. 17 Now if we are children, then we are heirs–heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.

ephesians 5:1

Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children

philippians 2:14-15

Do everything without complaining or arguing, 15 so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe

1 john 3:1a

How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!

In these few examples, we see that God wants friendship and family relationships with us! He wants us to be His children and His friends, and He wants to be our friend and Father! In other words, God wants a warm, loving relationship with us! And that brings us to the next thing we should know about God...

God is love

1 john 4:8

Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.

1 john 4:16

And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him.

God didn’t want to create robots or drones who just served Him without any feeling or choice. God wanted loving relationships. But that kind of love is a choice.

joshua 24:15

But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your forefathers served beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD."

In order for us to be able to love God, He had to create us (and the angels) with the freedom to choose to love Him.

But, loving God is not a choice unless there’s another choice; the choice to not love or obey God. Without that choice, none of us could choose to love God, and so none of us could love God.

the choice to rebel vs. the choice to love

The angels, whom God created some time before He created humans, were all given that choice. They could choose to love God, or they could choose to not love Him.

Satan, along with a bunch of other angels (a third of them), chose not to love God, and they even fought against God. Big surprise, God won and they lost. So those rebellious angels, along with Satan, were thrown out of heaven to the earth, where they’re now called demons. With that, the time for the angels to choose was ended, and now they’re all living out their choices.

With us humans, God also gave us the ability to choose. But God’s relationship with us is different than His relationship with the angels. He has given us humans a very amazing opportunity.

For us humans, God even though we are all sinners, God has made a way for us to be saved from our sin, by having His Son Jesus die for our sins instead of us!

1 peter 3:18

For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive by the Spirit...

But still, the question remains, why did God do things this way? To answer that, let’s learn a little bit more about God.

God is all-powerful

First, let’s examine the reason why the original questions of this article are so compelling. Is God really all-powerful? Let’s take a look.

luke 1:37

For nothing is impossible with God.

matthew 19:26 (and mark 10:27)

Jesus looked at them and said, "With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible."

job 42:1-2

Then Job replied to the LORD: 2 "I know that you can do all things; no plan of yours can be thwarted.

ephesians 3:20-21

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.

jeremiah 32:27

"I am the LORD, the God of all mankind. Is anything too hard for me?

Even though all things are possible with God, there are actually some things that God can’t do. That may sound strange, but the truth is, God cannot change who He is.

God is holy and good and just. He can’t change that. If He did, He wouldn’t be God anymore. So, since God can’t change who He is, it also means:

what God can’t do:

God can’t change who He is

God can’t lie

God can’t leave sins unpunished

God can’t not be a good and just God

james 1:17

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.

hebrews 13:8

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.

malachi 3:6

I the LORD do not change. So you, O descendants of Jacob, are not destroyed.

hebrews 6:18

God did this so that, by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled to take hold of the hope offered to us may be greatly encouraged.

nahum 1:3

The LORD is slow to anger and great in power; the LORD will not leave the guilty unpunished.

2 timothy 2:13

if we are faithless, [God] will remain faithful, for he cannot disown himself.

Now that we’ve confirmed that Scripture shows God to be all-powerful, and yet unchangeably good, let’s move on to the questions at hand.

why did God make Jesus pay for our sins?

Why couldn’t He do something else instead of sacrificing His only Son?

It’s a good question! If God is all-powerful, surely He must have been able to find a better solution to the problem of sin. As we explore this notion, let’s talk about other things that God could have done instead.

could God have ignored sin altogether?

Uh, no... He couldn’t. Remember, God is a good and just God, and He can’t change that. God is our Judge, and He is a righteous judge!

Imagine this: What if someone came to your house and stole your car? Now, imagine that the thief gets caught and goes before a judge to decide his punishment. What if that judge looked at the thief and said, "You stole a car? It’s all cool, Bro. You’re free to go."

Would that judge be a good judge for just ignoring the fact that the thief stole your car? Well, God is not a bad judge. He is the Righteous Judge.

psalm 7:11

God is a righteous judge, a God who expresses his wrath every day.

2 timothy 4:7-8

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 8 Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day–and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.

proverbs 11:20-21

The LORD detests men of perverse heart but he delights in those whose ways are blameless. 21 Be sure of this: The wicked will not go unpunished, but those who are righteous will go free.

proverbs 19:5

A false witness will not go unpunished, and he who pours out lies will not go free.

nahum 1:3

The LORD is slow to anger and great in power; the LORD will not leave the guilty unpunished.

A good judge would make the car thief pay for his sin, probably by sending him to jail. But the price for our sin is much greater than that:

romans 6:23

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Ouch! That’s worse than jail time! But the fact is, only death can pay for sin; any sin, no matter how big or small we may think it is!

Since God is the Righteous Judge, He cannot ignore our sin. He has to deal with it so that justice is done. And that means that somebody has to pay the price for their sin. But who?

God could have made us pay for our own sins

God didn’t have to have His Son Jesus pay for our sins. Nope. He could have made us pay for our own sins. In other words, He could have made us die for our own sin.

But He didn’t want to do that, because He loves us and He wants a relationship with us. We can’t very well have a relationship with God if we’re dead, now can we?

2 peter 3:9

The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.

So, since God wants a relationship with us, He wants us to be alive. And since we can’t pay for our own sins without dying, God had to find somebody else to pay for our sins...

could God have made someone else pay for our sins?

Let’s think about that...

Romans 6:23 tells us that death is the price for sin, so whoever pays for our sin has to die. Also, whoever dies for our sin has to be without sin of their own, otherwise their death could only pay for their own sin. Moreover, whoever dies for our sin has to have the amazing ability to take all the past, present and future sin of the whole world upon himself, so that his death pays for all sin So this person would have to have some amazing supernatural abilities. And, for any of this to matter, this Person would have to be able to be raised back to life, so that we could also be raised back to life. So, the person who could take away our sin would have to qualify in all these ways:

the Person who saves us from sin has to:

1. Die for our sin, since the price of sin is death

2. Be without any sin of Their own

3. Be able to take all of the world’s past, present and future sins upon Themselves

4. Have supernatural abilities in order to do all of this

5. Be able to be raised back to life

Can you think of anyone who fits all these qualifications? Anyone? Is there, in fact, anyone who fits that description?

Only One. Yup, it’s Jesus.

acts 4:12

Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.

john 14:6

Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

why can’t God reset time?

Can’t God make it so that his Son did not have to suffer? Could He reset time and have a big "do-over?"

This question is also valid.

Of course, God could reset time. And maybe, some things would play out a little differently. But even so, there are some things that couldn’t and wouldn’t change.

A "time reset" wouldn’t change who God is. God would still be a Righteous Judge. He would still create people to have relationships with, and He would still give those people the freedom to choose whether or not to love God. Because of their freedom to choose, those people would still choose to sin. The penalty for sin would still be death, and Jesus would still be the Only One who could pay for all that sin.

So, even if God reset time, things would have still played out in a very similar way to what we’ve seen. Jesus would still be the only Answer.

conclusion

God’s plan for our salvation is a wonder that even angels marvel at (1 Peter 1:12). It’s no wonder that we, as humans, would be amazed and ask questions about how or why God has worked in the way that He has. But at the end of it all, let us be thankful and praise our Lord for His saving work in our lives, and let our faith in Him be strengthened. After all, His ways are not our ways!

isaiah 55:8-9

"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways," declares the LORD. 9 "As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.