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Why does there need to be

a payment for sin?

Why can’t God

just forgive our sin?


I used to wonder why God can’t just forgive our sin and why Jesus had to die for our sin.  After all, if he is God, can’t he do anything?  Remember though, just because God is all powerful this doesn’t mean that he can do certain things.  Two examples of things that are not possible for God to accomplish through power are that God violate His nature; He can't sin, and violating the laws of logic, as in Him making a square circle.  Some issues can’t be solved by power regardless of how much power there is.  To better understand the answer to this question, we need to have a better understanding of God and of evil.

Greg Koukl - If God is all-powerful, why does evil exist?

One of the ways God is described in the Bible is as a judge.  The Bible refers to Him as a “righteous judge”

Psalm 7:11 “God is a righteous judge, and a God who feels indignation every day”. 

Think for a moment about someone committing a horrendous crime against you or one of your loved ones or friends.  Now think about the person being caught and convicted and now standing before the judge.  How would you feel if the judge decided to let them go without any sentence simply because the person hadn’t done anything wrong before?  If the judge released them, would you feel that the judge was a righteous judge or would you consider them a terrible judge?  If God is a righteous judge he must judge sin and impose the penalty that sin deserves.  To not do so would mean that He wasn’t a righteous judge.

An illustration I’ve heard as to what Jesus provides is that of owning a very expensive collectible car in mint condition.  Think about owning such a car.  Would you own a classic collectable, or a new exotic? 

Now, suppose you let a friend drive it and they crashed the car and caused major body and structural damage to the car, requiring an extremely expensive restoration and rebuild?  You can forgive your friend for the accident but what is still required to resolve the damage to the car?  The car still needs to be repaired and a payment has to be made to repair that damage.  If you pay for the damage you have effectively paid the debt they owed.

Here is a news story of the most expensive auto repair in England’s history: 

Rowan Atkinson sets record for biggest ever car insurance claim


Think about the word Savior.  If Jesus is a Savior, that means that He saves us from something?  Our sin has caused infinite damage to the relationship we have with God.  God values relationships and our love for others as greater than anything else according to all of chapter 13 of 1 Corinthians.  Here are just verses 1-3:

1 Corinthians 13:1-3  "If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.  And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.  If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing."


We can see through just these three verses that love for others is more important than any of these other considerations.  In fact, more important than all of them combined!

Because of the incredible importance of relationships to God our love for others is of critical importance, because love is the foundation to all relationships.  If we do anything to damage our relationship with others, there is a cost.  The cost is a price which is far too great for us to pay.  Since Christ is God, He is qualified to pay the price, with that price being His death on the cross.  If we don’t choose to humble ourselves and accept His saving payment for our sin, we are left with the only other option which is to try to pay for our sin debt ourselves.  Since we are not God, we are unqualified and unable to pay such a price for our sin debt and we are destined to go to an eternity separated from God, and will be sent to the only place prepared for those with sin that has not been forgiven, a place where God is not. 

As mentioned earlier, hell is the place God created for Satan and the demons where God is not present.  The only location God can send those who still have unforgiven sin is hell.  This is because they have rejected Christ’s sacrifice on the cross, the only payment sufficient for the sin they have committed, and also because Hell is the only location where God isn’t.

Something else to consider.  Anyone who decides that they will not humble themselves and accept Christ’s payment, has essentially decided to do things their way.  They want to resolve their sin condition the way that they want, and not the way God has provided through His choosing to die on the cross because of His love for us. Can you see the arrogance in this way of thinking? 

If God created us and He is preparing heaven for us, doesn’t He have the right to determine the conditions necessary for us to go there?  He has not only determined the conditions, he had also satisfied the requirements, but these satisfied requirements only apply if we accept them on His terms. 


There are some who will only accept the conditions they have determined.  They want to be able to point to something they have done or something about themselves that is worthy.  God has already shown us that none of us is worthy, and that is why He has fulfilled the necessary requirements for us to have eternal life.  If we refuse the work he has done by insisting on our way, we refuse the only option that truly works.


Also remember the question I asked regarding a crime.  Who determines the severity and punishment of a crime?  The one who committed the crime?  No.  In our country it is the lawmakers who determine the severity and punishment.  When we have committed a crime against God, it is God who determines the severity of the offense and the punishment necessary.


Next Page:  Does Everyone Need Salvation?

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