God set death as the punishment for breaking His laws. God's way is always right, and leads to
life; if we choose any other way, it is called sin, or breaking God's laws, and it leads to death.
The Apostle Paul summed it up very succinctly in the New Testament:
The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal
Why did God set such a harsh punishment for sin? Throughout the Bible, our relationship to God is likened to the relationship between a husband and a wife: a deeply personal, loving relationship. Now, if you loved your husband or wife very dearly, more than anything in the world, and they cheated on you, and committed adultery, wouldn't you feel like they deserved to die? They would have betrayed your relationship, broken your vows, betrayed your trust, broken your heart, and thrown your love in your face.
life, through Jesus Christ, our Lord. (Romans 6:23)
That is exactly how God views it when we break His laws – we have thrown His love in His face, as if it is of no importance. We break His trust, and break His heart. He considers our sin spiritual adultery. It's even worse for Him when you realize that He created us; we are His masterpiece, His crowning glory, the most excellent of all His creation; made by His own hands. He spoke the rest of creation into being, but fashioned man with His own hands, and in His own image.
Now, in truth, although you may feel like you WANT to kill your spouse if they betrayed you, you probably will not actually do it. God doesn't actually do it, either; otherwise, there would be no human being left anywhere, as we all are guilty of sin. There is no human being that can keep God's laws perfectly, 100% of the time. The Bible says it pretty plainly:
For all have sinned, and come short
The law, which began with the 10 Commandments, was meant as a way to reveal our sinfulness to us, and make us aware that we could never
please God by our own pitiful efforts. The law makes us aware of our sin - without it, we wouldn't know what sin was!
of the glory of God". (Romans 3:23)
Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall
So the law was given to make us see that we could never measure up, that we would always miss the mark. Even if we could possibly keep the law,
it cannot remove our sin, and justify us in God's eyes. Because God knew we could not keep the law, He made a way for us to become righteous,
through Jesus Christ.
no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the
law is the knowledge of sin." (Romans3:20)
But before faith came, we were kept under the law,
The penalties God set for breaking the law were to make us realize the destructive power of sin in our lives.
God takes sin very seriously; it is a betrayal of our Creator, a betrayal of His great love for us, and is spiritual adultery.
That's why the penalties were so severe. But out of His great love for us, He made a way out: Jesus paid the price for our sins;
He paid a debt He didn't owe, so we could gain what we didn't deserve:
shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be
revealed. Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster
to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified
by faith. (Gal. 3:23-24)
For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness
to every one that believeth." (Romans 10:4)
For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal
Why did it take the sacrifice of God's only begotten Son to pay the price for our sin? From the beginning, blood was required to atone for sin.
Death was the price for sin, and the only thing that can purge sin is blood.
life through Jesus Christ our Lord." (Romans 6:23)
And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and
The very first time blood was shed for sin occurred way back in the garden of Eden. Adam and Eve, upon realizing their nakedness, had tried to cover
their nakedness with leaves, but that wasn't good enough. Our own efforts or works are never good enough to hide our sinfulness –
only blood can atone for sin. God himself provided a covering for them, made from animal skins. The animals were sacrificed, their blood was shed,
because of that original sin.
without shedding of blood is no remission. (Hebrews 9:22)
Later on, God made the first covenant with Moses, requiring that animal blood be shed on the altar for the sins of the people. The High Priest would take
a lamb, which had to be perfect, without spot or blemish, and sacrifice it, pouring out the blood on the altar to atone for sin. This offering was to be
made yearly; it was not the perfect sacrifice, and thus had to be repeated over and over.
And Aaron shall make an atonement upon the horns
The blood of lambs and bulls and sheep and goats could never permanently remove sin, they only pointed to the ultimate sacrifice: Jesus Christ.
Unlike the animal sacrifices of the Old Testament, which had to repeated yearly, Jesus sacrificed His blood one time, as a permanent sin atonement
for all who believe. Once, for all, for all time.
of it once in a year with the blood of the sin offering
of atonements: once in the year shall he make
atonement upon it throughout your generations: it is
most holy unto the LORD. Exodus 30:10
For the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have
given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement
for your souls: for it is the blood that makes an
atonement for the soul. (Leviticus 17:11)
In whom we have redemption through his blood,
Just as He did for Adam and Eve, God provided the sacrifice for our sin, as well. He sent His Son Jesus, the spotless, perfect Lamb of God,
as the ultimate and all-time sacrifice. This perfect sacrifice differed from the blood of bulls and lambs, in that it would only have to be offered
once, and would provide eternal atonement for sin in a way that animal sacrifices could never do.
even the forgiveness of sins. Col 1:14
So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many;
and unto them that look for him shall he appear the
second time without sin unto salvation. (Heb 9:28)
For since by man came death, by man came also the
Jesus knew and accepted the sacrifice that would be required of Him, and was willing to shed His own blood, in our behalf,
because God loved us that much. He told His disciples, during the Last Supper:
resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even
so in Christ shall all be made alive. (1 Cor. 15:21-22)
And he took bread, and gave thanks, and brake it, and
Yes, the punishment for sin is death. It is harsh, because sin is a rebellion again our Heavenly Father, the God who created us. If such great sin was not
punished, or only mildly punished, there would be no justice, and God is a God of justice. He is always righteous and just, so sin has to be punished appropriately.
But God provided the punishment for our sins, so we would not have to pay the ultimate price. He loved us that much: to send His Son to die in our place.
gave unto them, saying, This is my body which is given
for you: this do in remembrance of me. Likewise also the
cup after supper, saying, This cup is the new testament
in my blood, which is shed for you. (Luke 22:19-20)
But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while
God's wrath for sin is indeed great, but His mercy is great as well. He loves us with unimaginable love, greater than any we have ever know.
When we accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, He saves us from our sin and from the wrath of God for our sin.
God raises us up from the miry pit of death and hell, and seats us in heavenly places with Christ Jesus. We receive all the riches of His
loving kindness, riches that we do not deserve and could not ever earn. That is how much God loves us!
we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8)
But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love with which
He loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, has made
us alive together with Christ, (by grace you are saved;)
And has raised us up together, and made us sit together
in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: That in the ages to
come he might show the exceeding riches of his grace in
his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. (Eph. 2:4-7)