Friday, October 29, 2010

Was Jesus Our Substitute?

The doctrine of substitutionism says that Jesus was our substitute and that He took our place on the cross as a substitutionary sacrifice. But the word ‘substitute’ is not found anywhere in the scriptures. Let’s take a closer look at the word of God to see what Jesus really was for God and for us.

The scripture used to support this doctrine is 2nd Corinthians 5:21

“For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” (NKJV)

Where is; for He made Him who knew no sin to be a substitute for us? It’s not written in the scriptures because it’s not true! Jesus is the propitiation for our sins, He made an atonement for our sins by willingly coming to earth and sacrificing Himself to God to pay the penalty of sin that was due God.

Look at Young’s Literal Translation:

“For him who did not know sin, in our behalf He did make sin, that we may become the righteousness of God in him.”

"The Literal Translation is unusual in that, as the name implies, it is a strictly literal translation of the original Hebrew and Greek texts." (Wikipedia)

We don’t see the word ‘substitute’ used in either translation, and Young’s Literal Translation renders the text in a much different way than the KJV or NKJV. And I don’t know about you, but I would like to get as close to the original Word’s of God as I can!

Here is the translation of 2nd Cor. 5:21 from the bible I use: The Interlinear Greek-English New Testament, With Strong’s Concordance Numbers Above Each Word. By: Jay P Green, Sr. (Volume IV)

“The (One) for not knowing sin on behalf of us sin He made so that we might become (the) righteousness of God in Him.”

These two literal translations from the Greek Received Text gives us a much better understanding of 2nd Corinthians 5:21, and should remove any idea from our minds that Jesus was a substitute for us.

Look at what substitute means:

Main Entry: sub·sti·tute  “A person or thing that takes the place or function of another.” (Merriam-Webster)

How could Jesus ever be a substitute for us? This would mean that we could have gone to the cross for our own sins, but Jesus came and took our place instead. Were we ever sinless? Were we ever perfect? No. God manifested Himself in the flesh taking on a physical body and doing what no one else could have ever done. Paul said while we were still SINNERS Christ died for the ungodly!

Here is what John said Jesus was for our sins:

1st John 2:1-2

"My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world."

Propitiation means: 2 : something that propitiates; specifically : an atoning sacrifice (Merriam-Webster)

Romans 5:10-11

“For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life. And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement.”

Atonement means: 2 : the reconciliation of God and humankind through the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ. (Merriam-Webster)

The word of God tells us that Jesus Christ was an atoning sacrifice for our sins that reconciled us to God, not a substitute.

Jesus was a perfect, sinless, and unblemished sacrificial lamb that was sacrificed on the cross to God, paying the penalty of sin that we could never pay. God laid our sins upon the body of Christ who became a sin bearer, and He willingly and knowingly sacrificed Himself so that we could once again have a covenant relationship with God.

Isaiah 53:6,10-12

“All we like sheep have gone astray; We have turned, every one, to his own way; And the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.”

“Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise Him; He has put Him to grief. When You make His soul an offering for sin,”

“He shall see the labor of His soul, and be satisfied. By His knowledge My righteous Servant shall justify many, For He shall bear their iniquities. Therefore I will divide Him a portion with the great, And He shall divide the spoil with the strong, Because He poured out His soul unto death, And He was numbered with the transgressors, And He bore the sin of many, And made intercession for the transgressors.

1st Peter 2:24

who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness—by whose stripes you were healed.”

During the priestly ministry of the Old Covenant, once every year the Levitical high priest had to offer unblemished goats and calves for the sins of Israel, and by placing his hands upon the animal, the high priest symbolically transferred the sins of Israel onto it, causing the animal to become a sin bearer, and it was then sacrificed to God. The Levitical priesthood sacrifices were a shadow of Christ and pointed towards the one bodily sacrifice of Jesus. God prepared a body for His Christ to reconcile the world back to Himself, and He laid the sins of the whole world upon Jesus who bore our sins in His body becoming a sin bearer and an unspotted lamb who sacrificed Himself to God.

Hebrews 9:6-7

“Now when these things had been thus prepared, the priests always went into the first part of the tabernacle, performing the services. But into the second part the high priest went alone once a year, not without blood, which he offered for himself and for the people’s sins committed in ignorance.”

Hebrews 9:12-14

“Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption. For if the blood of bulls and goats and the ashes of a heifer, sprinkling the unclean, sanctifies for the purifying of the flesh, how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?”

Jesus offered Himself without spot to God on our behalf because we could never do anything to take away our own sins. Jesus was not a substitute.

Hebrews 9:26-28

“but now, once at the end of the ages, He has appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself. And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment, so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many.

Jesus Christ was a sin offering to God, a sin bearer, an unblemished and unspotted sacrificial lamb who bore the sins of the whole world in His body. He was NOT a substitute.

Hebrews 10:5-7

“Therefore, when He came into the world, He said: “Sacrifice and offering You did not desire, But a body You have prepared for Me. In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin You had no pleasure. Then I said, ‘Behold, I have come—In the volume of the book it is written of Me—To do Your will, O God.’”

The sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross had everything to do with a loving and righteous God who wanted to re-establish the covenant relationship He had with man before he fell in the Garden of Eden; God prepared a body for the Word who became flesh and dwelt among us. God sent His only Begotten Son to do what only God Himself could do, live a perfect, sinless life, and offer Himself as a sacrifice and shed His blood to save all man-kind. Jesus was not, and never will be, a substitute.

With Love And Sincerity,


  1. Tyrone: Agree wholeheartedly with your excellent point from Scripture. This doctrine of 'substitution' has enabled many of us to grow up thinking that we don't have to die, that Jesus did it for us. However, He is our forerunner, and shows us the way to perfection in Him. In actuality, we all must die as Christ did, in order to find His resurrection into new life. That was the clear teaching of the apostles, and that is what God is saying today. We die to ourselves, our own self-focused lives, and instead of seeking 'self-fulfillment' as this generation of Christians teaches, we seek the Kingdom of God. We hate our own lives in the sense Jesus meant it, and are willing to give up anything for Him. We are the narrow gate disciples, the needle's-eye people, who love Christ enough to go to Gethsemane and Golgotha on a daily basis, bearing our crosses!

    The current easy doctrines, easy teaching, in the churches is a result of the easy teaching that starts with substitution.

    Amen, brother Tyrone. This is a difficult, but important stone in the foundation of what God is doing today among those who truly seek Him.

    All encouragements to you and your wife.

    A. Brother

  2. Praise the Living God brother Gary, I agree with your comment wholeheartedly :-) And I am very encouraged by your words and posts as we both seek first the Kingdom and His righteousness. God is tearing down all the doctrines and traditions of man that Has kept us bound and not able to come to maturity in Christ. He surely doing a new thing in these last days.

    We continue to pray and fast for you and your wife! God bless you.

  3. I agree Jesus was not our penal substitute. I am not sure you went far enough, however. Jesus did not have our sins transferred to himself. The scapegoat was not Jesus. The Passover lamb was Jesus. Hebrews tells us that Jesus in the Day of Atonement was actually the priest and the goat that was sacrificed, not the scapegoat. We are to die with Jesus and be the sacrificed goat. Men who reject all that will carry the sin into the wilderness and die there

    Jesus subjected himself to the wages of sin--death. That is the way in which he died for our sins. He died the first death so that we do not have to die the second death discussed in Revelation.

  4. Thanks for the comment! The scriptures that I quoted in this message are quite clear that Jesus bore our sins and "the LORD laid upon Him the iniquity of us all" (Isaiah 53)

    God Bless,

  5. John 1:29

    "The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world."