In Galatians 2:21, Paul writes, “I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness were through the law, then Christ died for no purpose.”
If Jesus didn’t exchange our sin for his righteousness (as 2 Corinthians 5:21 tells us he did), then why did he die? Some would say to be an example of the ultimate act of love. This is unconvincing and Jesus didn’t really leave us this option, though. If that is so, then Jesus’ so-called “act of love” really didn’t accomplish anything. When someone makes a sacrifice, it is done so that someone or something else does not need to be sacrificed.
In other words, Jesus is not just an example for us, but our substitute Savior. He lived the life we couldn’t live and died the death we deserved to die. If we could be declared righteous (i.e. justified) without his substitutionary death, then Jesus really lived a tragic life and died an even more tragic death. Praise God this isn’t the case.
“Cursed be everyone who does not abide by all things written in the Book of the Law, and do them…Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us” (Gal. 3:10, 13).