Means are designed to serve ends, and John Owen ( The Death of Death in the Death of Christ ) says that the means are of two sorts. Some are good in themselves without any reference to the means. Others “have no good at all in any kind, as in themselves considered, but merely as conducing to that end which they are fit to attain. They receive all their goodness (which is but relative) from that whereunto they are appointed, in themselves no way desirable; as the cutting off a leg or an arm for the preservation of life, taking a bitter potion for health’s sake, throwing corn and lading into the sea to prevent shipwreck.”

The death of Christ is of the latter sort:

“The death of Christ had nothing in it (we speak of his sufferings distinguished from his obedience) that was good, but only as it conduced to a farther end, even the end proposed for the manifestation of God’s glorious grace . . . . what good was it, that the Son of God should be made sin and a curse, to be bruised, afflicted, and to undergo such wrath as the whole frame of nature, as it were, trembled to behold? What good, what beauty and form is in all this, that it should be desired in itself and for itself? Doubtless none at all.”