1.26 Why did Jesus die for us?
God has an immense love for us. He therefore wants us to become completely happy and to live forever with him in heaven. However, our sins stand between us and God. Because of our sins, there is little or even no place for God in our lives. We have to bear our cares and sorrows alone, because we do not allow God to enter our lives. This can make us very unhappy.
And so God sent his Son Jesus, who was completely without sin. Jesus was born as a man. When he died on the cross, all human sin died with him. From that moment onwards, we can become God’s adopted children through Baptism. Now we only have to accept God’s forgiveness in order to walk with him again!
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The Wisdom of the Church
Why does the Church baptize infants?
The Church baptizes infants because they are born with original sin. They need to be freed from the power of the Evil One and brought into that realm of freedom which belongs to the children of God. [CCCC 258]
Why does the Church adhere to the practice of infant Baptism?
From antiquity the Church has practiced infant Baptism. There is one reason for this: before we decide on God, God has decided on us. Baptism is therefore a grace, an undeserved gift of God, who accepts us unconditionally. Believing parents who want what is best for their child want Baptism also, in which the child is freed from the influence of original sin and the power of death.
Infant Baptism presupposes that Christian parents will raise the baptized child in the faith. It is an injustice to deprive the child of Baptism out of a mistaken liberality. One cannot deprive a child of love so that he can later decide on love for himself; so too it would be an injustice if believing parents were to deprive their child of God’s grace in Baptism. Just as every person is born with the ability to speak yet must learn a language, so too every person is born with the capacity to believe but must become acquainted with the faith. At any rate, Baptism can never be imposed on anyone. If someone has received Baptism as a little child, he must “ratify” it later in life – this means he must say Yes to it, so that it becomes fruitful. [Youcat 197]
What is the full and definitive stage of God's Revelation?
The full and definitive stage of God’s revelation is accomplished in his Word made flesh, Jesus Christ, the mediator and fullness of Revelation. He, being the only-begotten Son of God made man, is the perfect and definitive Word of the Father. In the sending of the Son and the gift of the Spirit, Revelation is now fully complete, although the faith of the Church must gradually grasp its full significance over the course of centuries. “In giving us his Son, his only and definitive Word, God spoke everything to us at once in this sole Word, and he has no more to say.” (Saint John of the Cross) [CCCC 9]
What is the value of private revelations?
While not belonging to the deposit of faith, private revelations may help a person to live the faith as long as they lead us to Christ. The Magisterium of the Church, which has the duty of evaluating such private revelations, cannot accept those which claim to surpass or correct that definitive Revelation which is Christ. [CCCC 10]
What does God show us about himself when he sends his Son to us?
God shows us in Jesus Christ the full depth of his merciful love.
Through Jesus Christ the invisible God becomes visible. He becomes a man like us. This shows us how far God’s love goes: he bears our whole burden. He walks every path with us. He is there in our abandonment, our sufferings, our fear of death. He is there when we can go no farther, so as to open up for us the door leading into life. [Youcat 9]
With Jesus Christ, has everything been said, or does revelation continue even after him?
In Jesus Christ, God himself came to earth. He is God’s last Word. By listening to him, all men of all times can know who God is and what is necessary for their salvation.
With the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the revelation of God is perfect and complete. To make it comprehensible to us, the Holy Spirit leads us ever deeper into the truth. God’s light breaks so forcefully into the lives of many individuals that they “see the heavens opened” (Acts 7:56). That is how the great places of pilgrimage such as Guadalupe in Mexico or Lourdes in France came about. The “private revelations” of visionaries cannot improve on the Gospel of Jesus Christ. No one is obliged to believe in them. But they can help us understand the Gospel better. Their authenticity is tested by the Church. [Youcat 10]
What are the results of the sacrifice of Christ on the cross?
Jesus freely offered his life as an expiatory sacrifice, that is, he made reparation for our sins with the full obedience of his love unto death. This love “to the end” (John 13:1) of the Son of God reconciled all of humanity with the Father. The paschal sacrifice of Christ, therefore, redeems humanity in a way that is unique, perfect, and definitive; and it opens up for them communion with God. [CCCC 122]
Why did Jesus have to redeem us on the Cross, of all places?
The Cross on which Jesus, although innocent, was cruelly executed is the place of utmost degradation and abandonment. Christ, our Redeemer, chose the Cross so as to bear the guilt of the world and to suffer the pain of the world. So he brought the world back home to God by his perfect love.
God could not show his love more forcibly than by allowing himself in the person of the son to be nailed to the Cross for us. Crucifixion was the most shameful and most horrible method of execution in antiquity. It was forbidden to crucify Roman citizens, whatever crimes they were guilty of. Thereby God entered into the most abysmal sufferings of mankind. Since then, no one can say “God does not know what I’m suffering.” [Youcat 101]
This is what the Church Fathers say
Remember how for these forty years the LORD, your God, has directed all your journeying in the wilderness... The clothing did not fall from you in tatters, nor did your feet swell these forty years, says Moses in Deuteronomy at the end of the forty years of migration (Dt 8,2.4).
Jesus Christ, the Son of God... who did by suffering reconcile us to God, and rose from the dead; who is at the right hand of the Father, and perfect in all things... For he did himself truly bring in salvation: since he is himself the Word of God, himself the Only-Begotten of the Father, Christ Jesus our Lord. [St. Irenaeus, Against Heresies, Bk. 3, Chap. 16 (MG 7, 928)]