Dying for or instead

Tragically, the simple words “Christ died for us” (Rom. 5:8) have been grossly misunderstood as meaning that Christ died instead of us.

There are a number of connections between Romans 5 and 1 Cor. 15 (e.g. v. 12 = 1 Cor. 15:21; v. 17 = 1 Cor. 15:22). “Christ died for us” (Rom. 5:8) is matched by “Christ died for our sins” (1 Cor. 15:3). His death was in order to make a way whereby we can gain forgiveness of our sins; it was in this sense that “Christ died for us”. The word “for” does not necessarily mean ‘instead of’; Christ died “for our sins”, not ‘instead of’ them. Because of this, Christ can “make intercession” for us (Heb. 7:25) – not ‘instead of’ us. Neither does “for” mean ‘instead of’ in Heb. 10:12 and Gal. 1:4.

Jesus is Our Representative Not Our Substitute

– Peter Foster

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