Did Jesus Die in Our Stead?

Text: Romans 5:8

Jesus died for us – no Bible believer will deny this. But what was the nature of His death? Did He die “in our stead,” as a “substitute”? This is a common theory, and many brethren believe it, yet it is not Biblical.

Punishment vs. Consequences for Sin

  • It is vital that we understand the difference between the punishment for sin & the consequences of sin
  • Misunderstanding this gave us the doctrine of original sin – we inherit the guilt of Adam’s sin

Four Deaths that Came as a Result of Sin

  • Physical death – consequence for sin; Adam’s sin caused all mankind to lose access to the tree of life (Genesis 3:22-24)
  • Second death – eternal punishment for sin (Revelation 20:13-15); based upon our deeds (sin)
  • Spiritual death – consequence for sin; God can have no fellowship with sin (1 John 1:5-7); if not dealt with, spiritual death will lead to the second death (eternal punishment)
  • Sacrifice for sin – consequence for sin; this was God’s plan for dealing with the problem of sin (Hebrews 9:22); forgiveness provided in blood of Christ (Hebrews 9:14; Ephesians 1:7)

What Happened when Jesus was Crucified?

  • Physical death? – Yes; but not as a substitute, we all still face physical death (Hebrews 9:27)
  • Second death? – Absolutely not; Jesus went to paradise (Luke 23:43), later ascended to heaven (Luke 24:50-51)
  • Spiritual death? – No; the Father was with Him, despite a common misunderstanding that the Father turned His back on Him (Matthew 27:46; Psalm 22:1,22-24)
  • Sacrifice for sin? – Absolutely; this was His mission (John 18:11)

Jesus’ Sacrifice: Atonement, not Substitution

  • Jesus’ death was necessary because of our sins (2 Corinthians 5:14) – but not to somehow take our place in physical death (we still die), spiritual death (anyone can still be separated from God for sin), or the second death (anyone can still be lost)
  • His death was an atonement sacrifice – appeased God, delaying His wrath, giving us time to repent
  • God’s wrath still exists (Romans 2:4-6) – therefore we must now repent & obey

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