Is it part of God’s plan that Christ had to die?
Is it part of God’s plan that Christ had to die?
I have been asked this question in many forms over the years. To our fallen human minds the idea that Christ had to die seems so wrong. How could it be that God could have sent His son to take on flesh and walk among us for nearly 34 years, only to die?
I find this often indicates a deeper question. That question is often something like, “when man sinned, did God’s plan somehow go wrong?” Or maybe we could put it this way: did human sin surprise God? Did His best laid plan somehow fail or go wrong?
If that were true, then Isaiah 46:9-10 would be a lie.
“Remember the former things long past, for I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is no one like Me, declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times things which have not been done, saying , ‘My purpose will be established, and I will accomplish all My good pleasure’.” (NAS95)
Clearly these verses indicate that God has a purpose and a plan and that His plan will be accomplished for His Good Pleasure. If that is the case, then when did God form His plan? John 17:24 gives us a clue. “Father, I desire that they also, whom You have given Me, be with Me where I am, so that they may see My glory which You have given Me, for You loved Me before the foundation of the world.” This idea is also reflected in Ephesians 1:4, which says, “just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him, in love.”
From these verses we know God and Christ had a plan, and that plan was established before the foundation of the earth. That the plan is to make us holy and blameless before Him. How could God do this?
1 Peter 1:18-20 gives us an important piece to this puzzle. “Knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers, but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ. For He was foreknown before the foundation of the world, but has appeared in these last times for the sake of you.” Here it becomes evident that the plan included Christ shedding His precious blood for our sake. In other words, Christ’s death was not a surprise to God. Somehow He, in His infinite wisdom, planned a future that allowed us to sin but did not cause us to sin. Somehow He, in His infinite love, devised the only possible solution for our sin problem. The precious blood of His one and only Son Jesus Christ. And somehow He did this before the foundation of the earth.
Did Jesus know this was the plan? YES, He did! Over and over in His ministry he told the disciples that He must die (i.e. John 12:32-34). But He also knew His death was not the end. He knew that He would rise from the grave having conquered sin and death for all time. Prior to his death Jesus told his disciples “Tell the vision to no one until the Son of Man has risen from the dead” (Matt 17:9). Clearly this indicates Christ knew He would not only die for our sins but that He would rise from the dead. When Peter tried to defend Jesus with his sword, Jesus stopped him saying, “it must happen this way” (Matt 26:54). Jesus himself said it had to happen this way; He had to die.
So is it part of God’s plan that Christ had to die? The answer is clearly a resounding YES. But the plan did not end there. It also included the resurrection (Matt 16:21), His ascension to heaven (Acts 1:6-11), and His coming return in order to reign (Rev 19:11-16). Therefore brethren, do not lose hope, be of good cheer! Our heavenly Father has a plan and nothing and no one will be able to stop Him from accomplishing His plan.
Praise God that our sin didn’t surprise Him. Praise God that our sin could not ruin His plan. Praise God for all that He has given us in His Son Jesus Christ. We deserved death for our sins. But God loved us while we were yet sinners and sent His son Jesus Christ to die for us so that all those who believe in Him would not perish but instead be granted eternal life in Him. We must simply acknowledge our sin, which separates us from God and believing in Jesus Christ, that He came, that He died for our sins, and then that He rose again from the dead.
God’s plan included Christ’s death, His resurrection, His ascension, and His eventual return to reign. It also includes something for us to be doing today. We are called right now to live lives worthy of the free gift of eternal life we have been given in Jesus Christ. Salvation costs us nothing, but having been saved we are to give all for Him and to Him who saved us. Let us run the race well, let us finish strong, let us be who we are called to be. God’s way is always the best way, but it is never easy.
“Now after John had been taken into custody, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God, and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.”” (Mark 1:14–15 NAS95)
“Now I make known to you, brethren, the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received, in which also you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast the word which I preached to you, unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. After that He appeared to more than five hundred brethren at one time, most of whom remain until now, but some have fallen asleep; then He appeared to James, then to all the apostles; and last of all, as to one untimely born, He appeared to me also.” (1 Corinthians 15:1–8 NAS95)
“Therefore I, the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called,” (Ephesians 4:1 NAS95)
“so that you will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God;” (Colossians 1:10 NAS95)
“so that you would walk in a manner worthy of the God who calls you into His own kingdom and glory.” (1 Thessalonians 2:12 NAS95)