The Evangelical Universalist Forum

Did Jesus die in our place?


#1

The “penal substitutionary theory of the atonement” seems to pervade all Chistendom. But is it apostolic teaching? Proponents of the theory presume that Jesus had to die in order to appease the wrath of God who is angry about man’s sin, and would otherwise punish sinners with eternal torment, or at least annihilation. But since God must have “justice” (interpreted as penalty for sin), He was satisfied to see sin punished through seeing His beloved Son tortured on the cross who bore the punishment in place of all mankind, so that He wouldn’t have to punish anyone else unless they rejected Christ’s substitutionary death on their behalf.

However, I asseverate that this view is found neither in the words of Jesus nor in those of His disciples.

There are at least 5 passages that affirm that Jesus died FOR people: Rom 5:6, 5:8, 14:15, 2 Cor 5:4, and 1 Thess 5:10. In each of of these, the preposition is “ὑπερ” (huper) a word that means “for the sake of” or “for the benefit of”. Nowhere does it say that Jesus died “ἀντι” (anti)—“in the place of” people.

However, there is one passage that could be so interpreted if the context is ignored. Two of Jesus’ disciples, James and John, wished to sit, one at each side of Jesus in His Kingdom, and their mother tried to make it happen. She approached Jesus about it to get His assent.The other disciples were displeased.

This time, the second last word “for” is the translation of “ἀντι” (anti)—“in the place of.” Many presume that Jesus was talking about His coming death here. But I suggest that He didn’t change the subject in the middle of his statement. He said that He (the Son of Man) did not come to be served, but to serve. Indeed He gave His life to serve. He gave His whole life as a ransom (a means of deliverance) of many from their bondage of illness, blindness, deafness, lameness, from bondage to demons, and much else. His life was given in place of the suffering lives of others, so that they wouldn’t need to suffer any longer. Jesus used up His life—all of His days in place of others, so that they wouldn’t have to suffer.

Christians throughout the ages have also given their lives (or part of their lives) to serve others. Such are the most Christ-like acts a Christian can do.


#2

He gave His whole life as a ransom (a means of deliverance) of many from their bondage of illness, blindness, deafness, lameness, from bondage to demons, and much else. His life was given in place of the suffering lives of others, so that they wouldn’t need to suffer any longer. Jesus used up His life—all of His days in place of others, so that they wouldn’t have to suffer.

It’s a good observation Paidion and does make sense but in Matt 20.18-19 Jesus does talk about his atonement and ends by saying “and the third day he shall rise again” plus in a parallel section in Luke 18.31-34 Luke specifically groups the two sections together ending with “and the third day he shall rise again” so Luke it seems took this as a reference to the ransom and as pertaining to the atonement.


#3

Yes, this speaks of His death. I don’t see the word “atonement” in those verses.
Apparently, the NKJV translators believed that the subject was changed, beginning in verse 20, since they use the appropriate symbol to indicate such.

And yes, Jesus predicts His death also in the Luke 18 passage. I am not denying the benefits of Jesus death and resurrection for us, that through His death the enabling grace of God is appropriated. If that’s what you mean by “the atonement” then I’m all for it!

However, the word “atonement” doesn’t even occur in the NKJV, NASB, YLT, ASV, ESV, and RSV translations of the New Testament.
The word occurs once in the AV (Rom 5:11), but it doesn’t even mean “atonement” in that verse; it means “reconciliation.” So why use a word that does not occur in the New Testament? And the concept of Jesus’s death as a substitution for us, so that we don’t have to receive God’s wrath, is nowhere found in the NT.

Even Isaiah 53, that is sometimes used to prove “the substitutionary atonement” (e.g. “The Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all”) reads quite differently in the Greek Septuagint translation, which, it seems, the NT writers used when quoting the OT scriptures.


#4

[size=150]Déjà vu or Déjà vécu?[/size] :laughing:


#5

Perhaps the understanding of the purpose of Jesus’ death should be repeatedly experienced.


#6

And yes, Jesus predicts His death also in the Luke 18 passage. I am not denying the benefits of Jesus death and resurrection for us, that through His death the enabling grace of God is appropriated. If that’s what you mean by “the atonement” then I’m all for it!

But the wages of sin is death and we all sin yet we all have the opportunity for eternal life. Scripture also says Jesus will save his people from their sins , so if he died “for the benefit of” or “for the sake of” then how can you say “eternal life” is not a benefit?
You can claim “enabling grace” is a benefit and i’m not disagreeing but isn’t “eternal life” a benefit? I’m not arguing why we obtain eternal life in other words whether or not it’s to satisfy God but simply that “eternal life” is in fact a benefit to mankind.


#7

Well yes. Eternal life is perhaps the greatest possible benefit. Have I denied this?


#8

Well yes. Eternal life is perhaps the greatest possible benefit. Have I denied this?

No, but until now i don’t recall you affirming it although i could have missed it. So if Jesus died “for the benefit of us” so that we may obtain eternal life and enabling grace , the difference between Jesus dying in our place or for the benefit of us seems to me to be getting pretty immaterial. It may even be just a matter of semantics.


#9

When Jesus got up at the last supper before the drinking of the 4th cup of wine he went to the garden and prayed:

The Bible speaks about this cup:

The cup of wine (blood) is a cup of wrath. Indeed, for us it’s the cup of salvation as we drink the blood (love of Christ)

Indeed, Jesus asks His disciples:

In faith union we are crucified with Christ. Ego death is a painful crucifixion where the old self dies and a new self is resurrected. Paul said “I die daily”

Drinking the love of Christ washes away our sins. We die with Christ. It’s a painful ego puncturing. It’s the same for those in the Lake of fire. They are baptized and reduced to nothing (ashes). They become an empty vessel for the Spirit to fill. Indeed, it’s a baptism in a lake - into water death and fire. A painful ego puncturing that includes God’s wrath.

Those in the lake of fire will be crucified with Christ as the die to self and resurrected to new life.


#10

This is partly what I was pointing out in that former thread… it’s isn’t so much a case of either/or but both, i.e., differing aspects of the redemptive scheme.


#11

Lol, I thought the same thing.


#12

It’s not immaterial. It’s far more than a matter of semantics. There’s all the difference in the world!

1. The Penal Substitution Theory (Jesus dying in our place):

Jesus died to appease the wrath of an angry God. Jesus died in our place in that He took the punishment that we deserved instead of us. As a result, we are clothed with Christ’s righteousness, so when God looks at us, He doesn’t see our sin, but Christ’s righteousness. Thus God will not punish us; His need to punish sin was satisfied by punishing Christ on the cross. God forsook Him, for He cried out in anguish, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me.” All our sins were laid on Jesus so that we get off scott free. Even if we deliberately continue in sin, we’ll get to heaven anyway, since Jesus paid the price for us by dying to let us off the hook. Otherwise, God, who cannot tolerate sin, would have to punish us in hell forever. Eternal life with God is the great benefit of Jesus dying in our place.

2. The Biblical Teaching of Salvation from Sin (Jesus dying for our benefit—to deliver us from sin):

The angel declared to Joseph, “You will call His name “Jesus” (Saviour) because He will save His people from their sins.” (Matt 1:21)
The angel didn’t say, “… because He will save His people from hell” or “… from punishment.” We do read that God gave His only-begotten Son so that whoever entrusts himself to Him should not perish but have lasting life" (John 3:15). But to entrust oneself to Christ results in being delivered from sin, and this is a requirement for obtaining lasting (or “eternal”) life.

Paul made it clear in Romans 2 that righteousness is necessary in order to acheive immortality and receive lasting (or “eternal”) life:

Yes persistence in well-doing is necessary to gain immortality and “eternal” life. Continuing to practise evil results in affliction and anguish. But present this to anyone who has subscribe to the Penal Substitution Theory, and they will immediately accuse you of “works righteousness” or “trying to get to heaven by good works.” They are blind to the fact this this NT teaching of deliverance for sin and self, by the grace made available through Christ’s death, is the means by which “eternal” life is granted.

How do we appropriate this enabling grace? We appropriate it through faith. Jesus died to provide this enabling grace, and by trusting Him to do so, it becomes a reality in our lives. The consequence is salvation from sin (a life-long process) and everlasting life with God.

We cannot through self-effort consistently overcome sin, and God will not unilaterally save us from sin. But “working together with Him” salvation from sin becomes a reality.

At this point, the believer in substitutionary atonement will declare, “So are you perfect now?” He believes that this understanding is a proclamation of “sinless perfection.” Well, it does look forward to the goal of perfection. Salvation from sin is a life-long process:

As Paul declared in Philippians 1:6 (ESV)

In my late teens, the only “salvation message” I had ever heard was that of penal substitution. But when Tom O’shiro, became the pastor of the little Baptist Church I had attended, I soon realized that he never preached that view. He was always speaking about submitting to Christ. I wondered when he was ever going to preach the gospel (that Christ died as our substitute, and that we had to accept Him as our personal Saviour, so that we would go to heaven instead of hell.)

I used to be a young people’s leader at the time. One day, Tom realized from what I had said to the young people, that I had a great misunderstanding of salvation. So he asked me, “Don, what are we saved from?” I knew the scriptural answer, and so I replied, “From sin.” Then he asked, “And what does that mean?” I answered, “That means that we are saved from the result of sin.” I had in mind that we “get saved” we are saved from hell. Tom then affirmed, “Don, nowhere does it say that we are saved from the result of sin. It says that we are saved from SIN!”

Well I wasn’t ready to accept that at the time. But Tom’s words planted a seed in my heart that eventually bore fruit. The day came when I realized he was right, and when I truly entered the door of salvation. Many years later, I gave testimony to this at a meeting in which Tom was present. He asked me whether he could relate this testimony to his congregation in the east. Of course, I agreed.

Tom spent the last 25 years of his life in service at The Mustard Seed in Victoria. People loved him so much that he could scarcely walk more than a few steps without somebody approaching him and hugging him. Please look at this short 4½ minute video of his retirement from Mustard Seed:

youtube.com/watch?v=U360Bdb78Ok

And an earlier one:
youtube.com/watch?v=GUFzjbPlfUI

Tom died last June at the age of 89.


#13

Thanks Don. I watched the first video just now and he appears to have been quite a man, with hard shoes to fill I expect.


#14

Let’s ask John Piper

50 Reasons Why Jesus Came To Die

  1. To absorb the wrath of God

  2. To free us from the slavery of sin

  3. That we may die to sin and live for righteousness

  4. To please His heavenly Father

  5. To achieve His own resurrection from the dead

  6. To show God’s love and grace to sinners

  7. To cancel the legal demands of the law against us

  8. To become a ransom for many

  9. For the forgiveness of our sins

  10. To provide the basis for our justification

  11. To complete the obedience that becomes our righteousness

  12. To take away our condemnation

  13. To abolish circumcision and all rituals as the basis for salvation

  14. To bring us to faith and keep us faithful

  15. To give us a clear conscious

  16. To make us holy

  17. To obtain for us all things that are good for us

  18. To heal us from moral sickness

  19. To give eternal life to all who believe in Him

  20. To deliver us from the present evil age

  21. To reconcile us to God

  22. To bring us to God

  23. So that we might belong to Him

  24. To give us confident access to the holy place

  25. To become for us the place where we meet God

  26. To bring the Old Testament priesthood to an end

  27. Become our High Priest

  28. Free us from the futility of our ancestry

  29. So that we would die to the law and bear fruit for God

  30. To enable us to live for Christ and not ourselves

  31. To make His cross the ground of all our boasting

  32. To enable us to live by faith in Him

  33. To give marriage it’s deepest meaning

  34. To create people passionate for good works

  35. To call us to follow His example of lowliness and love

  36. To create crucified followers

  37. To free us from the fear of death

  38. So that we will be with Him after death

  39. To secure our resurrection from the dead

  40. To disarm the rulers and authorities

  41. To unleash the power of God in the Gospel

  42. To destroy hostility between the races

  43. Ransom people from every tribe and nation

  44. Gather His sheep from around the world

  45. Rescue us from final judgment

  46. Gain His joy and ours

  47. So that He would be crowned with glory

  48. To show the worst evil in human history was meant by God for good.

  49. To learn obedience and be perfected

  50. Become a sympathetic helpful priest


#15

I’m glad you appreciated Brother O’Shiro, Dave. I hadn’t found out that he died until today, and so I had a time of grief. Interestingly, when the Baptist Church hired him, they thought they were getting an Irish man (O’Shiro). I think some of them were a little shocked at first to discover that he was Japanese.

Michael, the New Testament doesn’t give all those reasons for Christ’s death. And some of them don’t apply.

Take #9 for example: “For the forgiveness of sins.” If Jesus’ death were necessary for the forgiveness of sins, then how was He able to forgive sins while He walked this earth prior to His death?

True, that expression is found in many TRANSLATIONS. For example:

But that little Greek word “αφεσις” (aphesis), though It might mean “forgiveness” in some instances, it more often does not. The verbal form can mean “to leave” or “to forsake”. For example Acts 13:38 perhaps should read “Therefore let it be known to you, brethren, that through this Man is preached to you for the forsaking of sins.” Or perhaps “freedom from sins.”

And here is a passage whose meaning would be ludicrous, if “αφεσις” were translated as “forgiveness”:

The captives don’t need forgiveness; they need freedom. The oppressed don’t need forgiveness; they need liberty.

Virtually every translation has something very similar to the NKJV:

In the following passage, consider how much more sense the reddened words make when translated “freedom from sins” instead of “forgiveness of sins.” This is Paul talking to his Jewish brethren:


#16

Even if that’s true about forgiveness John Piper and others who believe in Penal Substitution believe in freedom from sins. Indeed, it’s on the list I gave from John Piper. Yes Christ died for the benefit of expiating and cleansing and freeing us of our sins. This happens to a large degree when we come into faith union with Christ and are crucified. According to John Owen:

Of course, the cross is across time and not time bound. So ego puncturing can happen tomorrow even though Christ was slain some 2000 years ago. For some, being crucified with Christ happens daily or over a period of time. I may agree with you about forgiveness. If our sins are blotted out and remembered no more then there’s nothing to forgive.


#17
  1. The Penal Substitution Theory (Jesus dying in our place):

Jesus died to appease the wrath of an angry God.

But the reason he died “to appease the wrath of an angry God” i don’t think is really biblical , more like a church doctrine perhaps associated with eternal torment. Take away that reason and “dying in our place” doesn’t sound that different from “for our benefit” as i see it.


#18

St Michael said: Yes persistence in well-doing is necessary to gain immortality and “eternal” life. Continuing to practise evil results in affliction and anguish. But present this to anyone who has subscribe to the Penal Substitution Theory, and they will immediately accuse you of “works righteousness” or “trying to get to heaven by good works.” They are blind to the fact this this NT teaching of deliverance for sin and self, by the grace made available through Christ’s death, is the means by which “eternal” life is granted

St Michael said, Let’s ask John Piper :smiley:

50 Reasons Why Jesus Came To Die

*All Right ST Michael, not necessarily knowing which position you have taken, I’ve taken a considerable amount of time to counter what Mr. Piper has alleged. My response is in the parentheses :laughing: And I have to say that I have not read the book but am just responding to what ST Michael has said the book has said, though it makes for great debate non the less * :laughing:

  1. To absorb the wrath of God (I agree that the wrath of God is totally taken away by Christ)

  2. To free us from the slavery of sin (Christ is the Atonement for Israel and in total, the nations. He took away the sin of the world!)

  3. That we may die to sin and live for righteousness (Our dying to sin is a temporal condition in 2017. In Jesus’ time they needed to make a decision about the Messiah so they could escape the coming wrath.)

  4. To please His heavenly Father :smiley:

  5. To achieve His own resurrection from the dead (Not sure what this means)

  6. To show God’s love and grace to sinners (Love and grace is ultimately realized when we understand the total redemptive value of Christ to the Israelites and thus the rest of humanity)

  7. To cancel the legal demands of the law against us (the problem is that all Calvinist’s want to cancel all legal demands by saying only certain ones are chosen)

  8. To become a ransom for many (Ransom for Israel, and thus the atoning work for all humanity)

  9. For the forgiveness of our sins (yep, through Jesus all of the sin problem with God was taken care of. Be advised that we will still sin in the temporal /fleshly realm)

  10. To provide the basis for our justification (Yes, Christ is our justification. We need to do nothing. He has done it all

  11. To complete the obedience that becomes our righteousness (NO NO NO HE IS OUR RIGHTIOUSNESS)

  12. To take away our condemnation (It goes without saying Christ took sin upon himself)

  13. To abolish circumcision and all rituals as the basis for salvation (duh)

  14. To bring us to faith and keep us faithful (Christ wants all to love their neighbors as them selves)

  15. To give us a clear conscious (when we understand what Christ has truly done, and the scope of the sacrifice and gift, we can truly have peace)

  16. To make us holy (I have a hard time being holy, and I am thankful that I don’t have to be because of Christ)

  17. To obtain for us all things that are good for us(yes we benefit from following Christ’s teachings)

  18. To heal us from moral sickness (good luck with that)

  19. To give eternal life to all who believe in Him (a seven hour old baby that dies, a mentally challenged person, a tribal person that has never heard of Christ, are we really saying that some how God is going to turn His back on them?)

  20. To deliver us from the present evil age ( First of all, All of the New testament was written some two thousand years ago to people that were very far removed from our culture and understanding)

  21. To reconcile us to God (yepper, we through Christ are reconciled to God. Thank the Lord AMEN)

  22. To bring us to God (in Christ’s time he was sent as a prophet to warn the Israelites of their coming doom if they did not believe in Jesus as the Messiah.)

  23. So that we might belong to Him (We all belong to him. HE FREEKING MADE US)

  24. To give us confident access to the holy place ( Read Hebrews :laughing: )

  25. To become for us the place where we meet God (no, Christ Died so The promises to Israel could be fulfilled, and unfortunately, He also foretold of the coming calamity that was about to overtake the Jewish nation at that time.)

  26. To bring the Old Testament priesthood to an end (ABSOLUTLY)

  27. Become our High Priest (YES SIR)

  28. Free us from the futility of our ancestry (YEPPER)

  29. So that we would die to the law and bear fruit for God (so that the first century Jews would rethink their reliance on the law and realize Jesus was the real deal)

  30. To enable us to live for Christ and not ourselves (Jesus said , love your neighbor as your self. I’m not sure he ever said to live for him. Though Paul definitely had that slant)

  31. To make His cross the ground of all our boasting ( :question: it depends on what your view of the cross means to you)

  32. To enable us to live by faith in Him (actually, we just need to* understand *the Faith that God had in humanity to send us HIS SON to die so we can be reconciled to Him, thus our understanding has nothing to do with the reconciliation, but that it simply is a matter of ‘understanding’ that will change peoples lives)

  33. To give marriage it’s deepest meaning (no comment)

  34. To create people passionate for good works (what is one persons good works is another’s burden)

  35. To call us to follow His example of lowliness and love (yes yes)

  36. To create crucified followers (I have no Idea what this means)

  37. To free us from the fear of death (Oh God , if John Piper could ever believe tis for all of humanity there would be angels rejoicing in the heavens :laughing: )

  38. So that we will be with Him after death (we believe in the resurrection)

  39. To secure our resurrection from the dead .(yes, Christ did this, no need on our part to do anything. Christ was the total sufficiency for all of humankinds BS.)

  40. To disarm the rulers and authorities (not sure about this , I’ll get back to you)

  41. To unleash the power of God in the Gospel (my friend, the power has been unleashed, the new covenant has been instituted, The new creation is at hand no matter haw hard humans try to rebel against the fact)

  42. To destroy hostility between the races (ALL OF HUMANITY)

  43. Ransom people from every tribe and nation (ALL OF HUMANITY)

  44. Gather His sheep from around the world (this verbiage is indicative of the understanding that Christ was talking to first century Jews who were about to experience the wrath of God if they did not listen to Jesus)

  45. Rescue us from final judgment (that through Christ has already been accomplished)

  46. Gain His joy and ours (not sure what is meant)

  47. So that He would be crowned with glory (yes all the saints are crowed with glory, thus our admonition to follow the first century saints and martyrs to follow Christ)

  48. To show the worst evil in human history was meant by God for good. (I believe in free will.)

  49. To learn obedience and be perfected (okay, I agree to a point)

  50. Become a sympathetic helpful priest (Yes our life is to help others, to become servants, to die to self centeredness so others may live.)

So, I would welcome some (and I am sure many will come) criticisms that I have with St Michael’s portrayal of Mr. Pipers book.


#19

Maintenace,

I don’t agree with all of it just some of it. If you want to see my summary of what being crucified with Christ is see my post above the Piper quote. My point was that people who believe in penal substitution not only believe that God’s wrath was removed but also that our sins are cleansed and expiated.


#20

Cool, but you opened a door for dialog. When you post 50 reasons for anything, you get what you ask for.

Thanks, :smiley: