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Why Did God Have Jesus Die for Our Sins?

Question:

Why did God have Jesus die for our sins? Why the cross?

Answer:

God could certainly have chosen any method He wanted to save us. God chose the Passion of the Cross because it showed the depravity of sin and the depths of His love.

Thomas Aquinas (Summa III Q46 A3) noted that while anything God chose would have sufficed for our salvation the Passion was the perfect means because:

  • “In the first place, man knows thereby how much God loves him, and is thereby stirred to love Him in return.”
  • “. . . because thereby He set us an example of obedience, humility, constancy, justice, and the other virtues displayed in the Passion, which are requisite for man’s salvation.”
  • “. . . because by this man is all the more bound to refrain from sin, according to 1 Corinthians 6:20: ‘You are bought with a great price: glorify and bear God in your body.’”
  • “. . . because it redounded to man’s greater dignity, that as man was overcome and deceived by the devil, so also it should be a man that should overthrow the devil; and as man deserved death, so a man by dying should vanquish death.”

This is a great mystery of faith. At Mass when the priest celebrant intones “The Mystery of Faith” after the consecration of the chalice he is referring to the Eucharistic sacrifice, Calvary itself that has just been made present in our midst.

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