Therefore All Died

II Corinthians 5:14-15, “For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one died for all, therefore all have died, and he died for all, that those who live would no longer live for themselves but who for themselves for him who for their sake died and was raised.”

We can think about a “for” which is not substitution. I can score a goal for my team, without any idea that I am the only one playing the game. I score the goal for the sake of others on my team, and not only for myself, but that does not mean they do nothing and I do everything. In II Corinthians 5:14-15, it is not the “for” which get us to the idea of substitution. What gets us to substitution is “therefore all died”.

It is a MISTAKE to reference the “died with” to a “faith-union” given by the Holy Spirit. The idea is NOT that Christ died one kind of death and as a result the Holy Spirit selects and unites some to “the church” by using water baptism as a “laver of regeneration”. The idea is NOT that Christ rose again from death and as a result the Holy Spirit “pours the power of Christ into” believers.

The idea of “therefore all died”, the idea of “union with Christ’s death” is NOT that the Holy Spirit becomes the agent of that death, and selects who will be on the team. But in the Torrance/Letham view of “Calvinism”, Christ died to have a team, and there is no freewill, so you don’t get to decide to be on the team, but the Holy Spirit does.

The Romans 6 idea of “died with Christ”, the II Corinthians 5:15 idea of “therefore all died” is that Christ died to propitiate God’s wrath because of ALREADY IMPUTED SINS, and that this death is credited by God to the elect.

The elect do not (and did not) die this kind of death. Their substitute replaced them and died it for them. Christ alone, in both His Deity and His Humanity, by Himself, without the rest of humanity, died this death. Christ the Elect One, without the elect, died this death that God’s law required if the elect were going to one day be justified.

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6 Comments on “Therefore All Died”

  1. MARK MCCULLEY Says:

    Donald Mcleod, p202, the Person of Christ, IVP, 1998–

    The hypostatic union did not by itself secure the theiosis of every human being. In fact, the hypostatic union did not by itself secure the theiosis of even our Lord’s human nature. He was glorified not because He was God incarnate but because he finished the work given him to do (John 17:4).

    It is perfectly possible to be human and yet not be in Christ, because although the incarnation unites Christ to human nature it does not unite him to me.

  2. MARK MCCULLEY Says:

    either-ors? OR BOTH–We died with Christ, OR Christ died with us

    we in time are united to Christ, OR Christ was united to us

    E P Sanders—“Paul and Palestinian Judiasm”, 1977, p 520–“Here is a distinction that will not go away, the distinction between saying that Christ dies for Christians and that Christians die with Christ, between saying that Christians are justified from their past transgressions and that they have died with Christ to the power of sin.”

    mark:

    1. guilt and accusation is the enslaving power of sin (and Satan)—I Cor 15:56
    2. we should not assume that “union” and “participation” are not forensic
    3. Are we talking about our union with Christ, or Christ’s union with us (Christians, the elect)?
    4. We do not participate because of faith given us. It’s not God’s gift of faith which unites us to Christ.
    5. Christ’s participation results in the participation of the elect “in Christ” and with “Christ in us”

    Romans 8:3 FOR SIN

    Christ’s condemnation for the imputed sins of the elect is Christ’s participation with the elect.

    Beware of those who say “both guilt and power”. Some of them do that because they want to exclude “mere guilt and forgiveness” and because they deny the enslaving power of the despair of guilt.

    Yes, we were handed over by God to sin, we were victims of sin, so that sins were God’s wrath against us. But no more. But not because we pulled out our victim identities in our own defense.

    Romans 1: 28 And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased (reprobate) mind to do what ought not to be done.

    Despite our minds, we were the doers of sin, the agents of sin.

    Even genocide is the result of human order and agency. Especially. It takes a lot of thought, organization and imagination to kill so many people.


  3. D A Carson—Gathercole’s introduction begins by asking the question raised by the old spiritual: “Were you there when they crucified my Lord?” If we answer “yes,” we presuppose that we somehow participated in his death, or that in his death Jesus somehow represents us: “We have died with Christ” (Rom 6:8). If we answer “no,” then we were not there: Christ died alone. “He was there, taking our place in our stead” (p.13). In much biblical scholarship, the former answer is widely assumed: on the cross, Christ represents us, but it is a mistake to think that substitution occurs when Jesus dies. While not denying that the Bible can present Christ’s death on the cross as an act of representation, in this slender volume Gathercole sets out to rehabilitate substitution.

    His introduction is devoted to some careful definitions. “I am defining substitutionary atonement . . . as Christ’s death in our place, instead of us. The ‘instead of us’ clarifies the point that ‘in our place’ does not, in substitution at least, mean ‘in our place with us.’ (Jesus was, for example, baptized in our place with us – that is, the baptism was not a substitution.) In a substitutionary theory of the death of Jesus, he did something, underwent something, so that we did not and would never have to do so” (p.15). Again: “Substitution entails the concept of replacement, X taking the place of Y and thereby ousting Y: the place that Y previously occupied is now filled by X. In representation, X in one sense occupies the position of Y, as in substitution. There are differences, however. In representation, X does not thereby oust Y but embodies Y” (p.20). Gathercole provides extensive quotations from Martin Luther, Robert Letham, and Karl Barth “to illustrate this definition” (p.15). Along the way he sketches the relationship between substitution and satisfaction, substitution and penalty, substitution and propitiation, and substitution and representation, partly in order to stipulate that in this “essay” his restricted aim is to defend substitution, not representation, satisfaction, propitiation or anything else – not, as becomes evident, because Gathercole has not thought about these things or is unwilling to defend them, but to keep this work sharply focused.[1]

    Gathercole concludes his introduction by briefly listing and responding to common criticism raised against substitution: it is a legal fiction and an immoral doctrine, surrounded by philosophical, logical, and exegetical difficulties. For example, against the charge that substitution is a form of “cosmic child abuse” (in recent work, think Peter Carnley and Steve Chalke), in which God vents his wrath on his Son, Gathercole responds in several ways. The two most important are these: (1) the charge neglects “the obvious fact that the death of Christ is not that of a third party but is the ‘self-substitution of God’ [to quote John Stott’s expression]. Outside of a context of high Christology or of the doctrine of the Trinity, substitution might of course be open to such charges as those leveled above. But as far as I can see, most theologians seriously advocating substitution also hold to a high Christology” (pp.24-25). (2) In any case, Jesus “offers himself as a sacrifice in line with his own will. . . . (Gal. 1:4; 2:20).”

    The last of these several categories of objections, exegetical challenges to substitution, occupies the first of three numbered chapters after the introduction (pp.29-54). The four exegetical errors on which he focuses are these:

    (1) Representation in the sense of “place-taking,” as in the Tübingen school nicely represented by Hartmut Gese and Otfried Hofius, and, in English, by Richard H. Bell. The focus is on the day of atonement ritual described in Leviticus 16. “The problem [as Gese sees it] is not so much individual transgressions but that the Israelite needs to be rescued from death” (p.31). When the hand is placed on the animal, this does not represent a transfer of sins but an identification with the animal. When the animal dies, “the people symbolically enter into the judgment of death” (p.32). When the blood of the animal is taken into the Most Holy Place, the animal is symbolically bringing the people of Israel into the presence of God with him. In other words, there is no substitution but a form of representation. Gathercole objects, in the first place, to Gese’s interpretation of Leviticus 16. Everything depends on the significance of the hand being placed on the sacrificial animal, but Leviticus 16 says nothing about that: the hand is placed instead on the other animal, the scapegoat – and here it is hard to avoid the conclusion that the scapegoat (the live goat) is a substitute.
    (2) Representation in the sense of “interchange” with Christ, the view of Morna Hooker. She holds that substitution is not only un-Pauline, but that Paul speaks against it. In her view, Jesus does not swap places with his people but “goes to the place where they are and takes them from there to salvation” (p.39). She relies heavily on her distinctive reading of 2 Cor 5:21 and 8:9, and rests on her understanding of union with Christ. Christ enters into the human condition of sin and death, but human beings must also unite with him, and we pass out of death and into resurrection with him. Gathercole acknowledges the importance of the union with Christ theme, but denies that Paul ever criticizes substitution, and insists that a right understanding of what the death of Christ achieves readily embraces substitution. Moreover, the union theme tends to focus on Adamic sin as a whole, but does not really address individual sins.

    (3) Apocalyptic deliverance, not least as articulated by J. Louis Martyn and M. C. de Boer. They hold that human beings do not so much need forgiveness of sins as deliverance from slavery to sin; they appeal to (inter alia) Gal 1:4. Gathercole insists that even if this view is defended from Galatians, it really does not work in Romans, where a major component of sin is personal guilt (e.g., Rom 1-3). Sin may sometimes be presented as a major external cosmic force that Christ overcomes, but even more commonly sin is presented in terms of individual sins and transgressions.

    (4) All three of these views tend to downplay the place of individual sins in Paul’s thought. Gathercole provides an admirable summary of the biblical evidence that refutes the common assumption that “sins” play only a little part in Paul’s thought. He then shows how this evidence shapes our reading of several atonement passages.

    The final two chapters provide detailed exegeses of just two verses: chap 2, “Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures” (1 Corinthians 15:3), and chap 3, treating Romans 5:6-8. As for the former, Gathercole notes that Paul is writing about the matters he views as “of first importance”: Christ died for our sins. He focuses on the phrase “according to the Scriptures”: which Scriptures? Drawing attention to several passages, Gathercole treats Isaiah 53 at length – how it is used in Paul generally, and in particular in 1 Corinthians 15:3. He provides a shrewd and convincing exegesis (pp.61-70). Gathercole also draws attention to several passages where the OT asserts that so-and-so dies for his sins (e.g., Num 27:3; Deut 24:16; Josh 20:22; 1Kg 16:18-19): this use of the preposition hyper (in the Greek translation of these OT passages) does not itself signal substitution, for in these texts the person dies in consequence of his sins. “It is when this is set in the framework of one person doing this for the sins of others (and not for one’s own) that the substitutionary sense is achieved” (p.74). “It is not that huper [sic] in itself has a substitutionary sense; this would in any sense be meaningless, as Christ is not dying in the place of the actual sins but in place of the people who are saved. The substitutionary meaning arises out of the unusual language of one person dying for the sins of others” (p.79). And this is what Paul declares to be of first importance.

    After a short excursus (“An Objection – Why Then, Do Christians Still Die?”, pp.80-83), Gathercole delivers his final chapter, which provides a close exegesis of Romans 5:6-8, no less convincing than his treatment of 1 Corinthians 15:3. http://www.reformation21.org/articles/defending-substitution.php


  4. p 214, Donald Macleod, Christ Crucified, IVP, 2014— Romans 8:3 says that it not Jesus but God the Father who condemns sin in the flesh. While it was indeed in the flesh of his Son that God condemned sin but it was not only in his Son as incarnate, but in his Son as a sin-offering.. God condemned sin by passing judgement on his Son. Theosis (participation in the divine nature, II Peter 1:4) is NOT the reason for God being reconciled to us. We are justified as ungodly (Romans 4:5), not as partakers of a nature which has been united with the divine.

    Carl Trueman, p 96—”Owen claims that that the union of Christ with the elect in his atonement is not actual direct participation but that it must be understood in terms of federal representation. The imputation of sin to Christ is thus not strictly parallel to the imputation of Christ’s death to sinners. This is because it is not simply incarnation which is the foundation of salvation, but the covenant which lies behind the incarnation.”

    Participation in Christ is not of the Holy Spirit but by God’s imputation of Christ’s death and resurrection.
    Bruce McCormack—-“The work of the Holy Spirit does not complete a work of Jesus Christ which was incomplete without it. The work of the Holy Spirit does not make effective a work of Jesus Christ which is ineffective without it.”, p 229, “The Actuality of God, Engaging the Doctrine of God“

    Mike Horton—Even if it is granted that justification is an exclusively forensic declaration, the rest of the order of salvation has usually been treated in Reformed theology as the consequence of an entirely different event the implantation of new life in regeneration.” (Covenant and Salvation p 216)

  5. markmcculley Says:

    Here’s a good review of a book defending “replacement” and not simply representation or “participation”

    http://www.reformation21.org/articles/defending-substitution.php

    Gathercole’s introduction begins by asking the question raised by the old spiritual: “Were you there when they crucified my Lord?” If we answer “yes,” we presuppose that we somehow participated in his death, or that in his death Jesus somehow represents us: “We have died with Christ” (Rom 6:8). If we answer “no,” then we were not there: Christ died alone. “He was there, taking our place in our stead” (p.13). In much biblical scholarship, the former answer is widely assumed: on the cross, Christ represents us, but they think it is a mistake to think that substitution occurs when Jesus dies. While not denying that the Bible can present Christ’s death on the cross as an act of representation, in this slender volume Gathercole sets out to rehabilitate substitution.

    His introduction is devoted to some careful definitions. “I am defining substitutionary atonement . . . as Christ’s death in our place, instead of us. The ‘instead of us’ clarifies the point that ‘in our place’ does not, in substitution at least, mean ‘in our place with us.’ In a substitutionary theory of the death of Jesus, he did something, underwent something, so that we did not and would never have to do so” (p.15).

  6. markmcculley Says:

    Just because we are old and about to die does not mean that our times are the worst of times. The entire age before Jesus comes to earth again is an evil age.

    Paul Helm–These two attitudes – being on the right side of history, and the judgment that the times are uniquely bad – have this in common, that they are each kinds of exceptionalism.

    Galatians 1:3-4 Grace to you and peace from God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ, 4 who gave Himself for our sins to rescue us from this present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father.
    Apocalyptic deliverance, as articulated by J. Louis Martyn and Fleming Rutledge, teaches that we do not so much need forgiveness of sins as deliverance from slavery to sin. They appeal to Gal 1:4. Even if this view is defended from Galatians, it really does not work in Romans 1-3, where a major component of sin is personal guilt

    http://www.reformation21.org/articles/defending-substitution.php

    http://paulhelmsdeep.blogspot.com/2017/02/unique-times.html


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