The principal way by which Christians receive the hope of salvation is the sacrifice Jesus made on the cross for our sins. But have you ever asked why of all the thousand and one ways God could have found to redeem us of our brokenness, He chose the penal substitution of Jesus for us?
The conversation starts by asking "could God have found another way to save us?" The answer is yes. In God's infinite wisdom and intelligence, it's not only possible but even likely that God could have had other plans to redeem us from eternal separation from Him.
But of all the thousands of ideas God could have had, he chose the sacrifice of Christ. 1 Peter 2:24 tells us, "He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed." Why did God choose this way? Why not just forgive without payment? Here are three reasons why penal substitution was the way God chose.
Could God have just given mankind a free pass by pardoning us all of the trillions of sins we commit? Maybe He could, but it would be against His just nature. Yes, God is loving but He is also just and fair. Justice demands that sin be paid with death (Romans 6:23).
But because God was loving as He is just, He found a way to fulfil both sides of His character through the penal substitution. Through that act of kindness we can now freely receive and freely give forgiveness.
To show how valuable we are to God
God could have paid any price, but He paid the ultimate price - His own Son. There is no value higher than Jesus alone yet God chose to give Christ in exchange for valueless sinners such as us. This imputes upon us Christ's value, proving once and for all the ultimate love God has for us all.
Because God did not hold back even His only Son, we are assured of just how much He values us all and how He will not give up anything for us to be with Him - not even His very own life.
To allow us to live in excessive grace
Just how much grace does God want us to live in? As much as He could give! And for that He paid the highest price there is so that there would be a surplus of grace and that we could receive through Christ life and life to the full forever (John 10:10).
God's lavish love for us opens up the greatest excess of heaven because God wants our cups to overflow (Psalm 23:5). And because of that we now know there is no scarcity of mercy, blessings and grace for us all. That was made available only through the penal sacrifice of Christ.