This might be the most shocking statement you read all day: The death of Christ was not enough to save us. Now, before you write me off as a heretic, read what RC Sproul has to say about it.
If Jesus had only paid for our sins, He would have succeeded only in taking us back to square one. We would no longer be guilty, but we still would have absolutely no righteousness to bring before God. So, our Redeemer needed not only to die, but also to live a life of perfect obedience. The righteousness that He manifested could then be transferred to all who put their trust in Him. Just as my sin is transferred to Him on the cross when I trust in Him, His righteousness is transferred to my account in the sight of God. So, when I stand before God on the judgment day, God is going to see Jesus and His righteousness, which will be my cover.
By His obedience, He redeemed His people for eternity.
It is important, then, that we not minimize the work of Christ throughout His life by focusing too narrowly on the work of Christ in His death.
—RC Sproul, The Work of Christ (David C. Cook, 2012), 8.