Atonement: Substitution & Participation
“Were you there when they crucified my Lord?” DISTINGUO!
No. Jesus died alone (John 18:8-9). He died instead of us. This is substitution.
Yes. “I have been crucified with Christ” (Galatians 2:20). I died with him. This is participation
The Bible teaches both.
Substitution: Jesus died and I did not
“If the sins of the entire world are on that one man, Jesus Christ, then they are not on the world. But if they are not on him, then they are still on the world. Again, if Christ himself is made guilty of all the sins that we have all committed, then we are absolved from all sins…. But if he is innocent and does not carry our sins, then we carry them and shall die and be damned in them.” [Luther, Lectures on Galatians]
Romans 8:1-3 “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus … By sending his own Son … for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh”
1 Kings 16:18-19, “Zimri died for his sins, which he had committed”
1 Corinthians 15:3, “Christ died for our sins”
So why do Christians still die?
Death has changed its character. Christians do not “die in their sins” (John 8:24) but “fall asleep in Christ” (1 Corinthians 11:30; 15:6, 18, 20, 51; 1 Thessalonians 4:13, 14, 15; 5:10)
Participation: Jesus died and I died in him
You died (Galatians 2:20; Romans 6:5)
You were set free (Romans 6:7, 12, 14, 18)
Therefore offer your members… (Romans 6:13, 17)
Therefore put to death… (Romans 8:13; Colossians 3:5)