Why did Jesus have to die in order to save us? Why couldn’t God just forgive us?
Darrin Patrick gives a helpful answer by pointing out the simple truth that we never have forgiveness without pain.
Think about a time you or someone you love was seriously wronged. Were you or the person close to you able to just shrug off the offense or dismiss the wrong without suffering?
Of course not.
When truly offended, there are two choices. You can either exact revenge and make the one who has wronged you pay or you can forgive him or her by absorbing the pain of hurt yourself. On the one hand, you cause pain to set yourself free. On the other hand you can receive the pain of forgiveness and set the other free. If you think forgiveness is not painful, you have never forgiven someone who hurt you deeply. Whether through revenge or forgiveness, someone always pays for injustice. (Taken from Church Planter, p. 121)
And therein lies the beauty of the cross’s news: Christ chose to endure the pain instead of us. He took on our sin and endured the pain we deserved in order to right the relationship we have wronged.
If this is what God has done for us, then what ought we do for others who sin against us?