JESUS CHRIST THE SAME YESTERDAY, TODAY, AND FOREVER. Hebrews 13:8
The Substitionary sacrifice of Jesus Christ Romans 5:12 Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned--
Romans 5:14 Nevertheless, death reigned from the time of Adam to the time of Moses, even over those who did not sin by breaking a command, as did Adam, who was a pattern of the one to come.
1 Corinthians 5:22 For as in Adam all die, so also in the Messiah will all be made alive.
Therefore, Christ was a substitute for others in that he took their place and suffered their punishment. It was also a legal act whereby Christ fulfilled the law and lawfully paid the penalty of sin.
Is it biblical to say that Christ took our place and suffered our punishment? Yes it is. First of all, we see vicarious sacrifice in the Old Testament.
Genesis 22:13 "Then Abraham raised his eyes and looked, and behold, behind him a ram caught in the thicket by his horns; and Abraham went and took the ram, and offered him up for a burnt offering in the place of his son."
Notice that the ram was offered in place of Isaac. This was a substitutionary sacrifice which is exactly what "vicarious" means. Further, we see a prophecy of the atoning work of Christ in Isaiah. Notice the substitutionary language:
Isaiah 53:4-5, "Surely our griefs He Himself bore, and our sorrows He carried; yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. 5 But He was pierced through for our transgressions. He was crushed for our iniquities. The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him and by His scourging we are healed."
We see in the above verses in Isaiah that Jesus was prophesied to bear our sorrows, to be smitten of God (which is what is due us, the sinners), and that our chastening fell upon him. Can it be any clearer? What was due to us, because of our sinfulness, is what fell upon Christ. He was our substitution.
- 2 Cor. 5:21, "He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him."
- Rom. 4:25, "He who was delivered up because of our transgressions, and was raised because of our justification."
Clearly, Jesus was a substitution in that he was made sin on our behalf. Just as the RAM was offered as a substitute for Isaac, Christ was offered in substitution for us. This is why the Bible says he became sin on our behalf, that he was delivered because of our transgressions, that he bore our griefs, carried our sorrows, was pierced for our transgressions, and was crushed for our iniquities.
Jesus did what we could not. He took our place and bore our sins in his body on the cross (1 Pet. 2:24) and made propitiation for our sins.
- Rom. 3:25, "whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation in His blood through faith. This was to demonstrate His righteousness, because in the forbearance of God He passed over the sins previously committed."
- 1 John 2:2, "and He Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world."
- 1 John 4:10, "In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins."
The word propitiation "properly signifies the removal of wrath by the offering of a gift." Propitiation properly deals with the wrath of God. The wrath of God is due to the legal requirements of punishing the sinner. Remember, the sinner is someone who has broken the law of God; hence, the legality of punishment, and since Jesus is our propitiation and turns away the lawful wrath of God, we have further evidence that Christ's sacrifice was to avert God's righteous wrath against us, the sinners. Since the law of God must be met and cannot be ignored, it is proper that the law be fulfilled. Jesus is the one who fulfilled the law and never sinned (1 Pet. 2:22). But, he bore our sins in his body on the cross (1 Pet. 2:24) and became sin on our behalf (2 Cor. 5:21) thereby suffering the penalty of sin, which is death.
Here is how the substitute works. Jesus Christ is God (John 1:1-18) and is therefore an infinite being. We are finite, created beings. Since the sins we commit are against an infinite being (God), the punishment must also be infinite. There are two ways for this punishment to be carried out. Either an infinite being must die once to pay for sins (the cross), or finite beings must to pay for their sins infinitely (hell). Jesus lovingly offered Himself up and died in our place when He was crucified on the cross. This was an infinite Being making a one-time payment for sins that satisfied God’s requirement (Hebrews 10:10, 14). When this happened, “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Corinthians 5:21). This atonement is spoken of again, in 1 Peter 3:18, “For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive by the Spirit.”