Why is Jesus the only one that can redeem humanity?

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One of the questions that Christians often ask is, "What role did Jesus Christ becoming man play in our redemption?" And here, the epistle of Hebrews and the Gospel of John are very helpful to us. In order for us to be redeemed, we know from the Old Testament, humanity needs to be restored. Humanity needs to have its sins forgiven, so to speak. How could this forgiveness take place? This forgiveness cannot not take place from someone who is not a human being himself. We read in the Old Testament that we have Old Testament sacrifices that were animal sacrifices. But the author of Hebrews makes it clear that animal sacrifices cannot atone for sins. They are unwilling victims; they do not consciously know what they are accomplishing for human beings. So, we needed a person who was fully human, who shared in our humanity fully, who was sinless, who had never violated God's will. We needed a person who was willing to sacrifice himself for sins on the cross. But also I want to say that, at the same time, he needed to be fully divine. A human being alone could not atone for our sins, one single human being. But a person united with divinity, such a person is of infinite worth and therefore, he can offer a sacrifice that is of infinite effectiveness. And therefore, we can gain from him forgiveness of sins if we put our trust and faith in him, if we repent of our sins.

Answer by Dr. Thomas R. Schreiner

Dr. Tom Schreiner joined the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary faculty in 1997 after serving 11 years on the faculty at Bethel Theological Seminary