Question: You claim that Christ became a man to pay the penalty His justice demanded for our sins. Why would He have to become a man? Why would God go to all that trouble when as God He could have just forgiven us?
Response: God’s love, grace, and mercy cannot override His justice. The penalty He has pronounced for sin must be paid. For a judge to fail to mete out the sentence demanded by the law would make him a partner in the crime. God cannot waive the penalty He has pronounced. That would make Him a liar and mean that He gives His approval to the very sin He has condemned. It would be contrary to God’s own nature and being to do so.
Why did Christ have to become a man in order to pay the penalty for sin? Man sinned, the penalty has been pronounced upon all mankind, and must therefore be paid by man. But no finite man, being a sinner himself, could pay the infinite penalty for all mankind. Thus, God had to become a man. If Jesus were not God and man in one person, He could not have paid the penalty for the sins of the world.
No religion anywhere offers such salvation, or could offer it. Yet many who call themselves Christians reject what the Bible teaches and what our consciences know about sin and its penalty. Churches and cults, such as Roman Catholic and Orthodox churches, offer “salvation” by means that no court of law would accept: rituals, sacraments, works, and prayers in payment for sin. Catholics imagine that Mary will get them into heaven, and to that end seek her favor.
I expose such folly in this way: Suppose I am in jail awaiting trial. You warn me that the judge is strict. I reply, “Don’t worry, I’ll get off—I know the judge’s mother!” We call that corruption, rightly condemned in earthly courts. Certainly, God will not allow it in his heavenly court!