Jesus died in our place? Or for our sake?

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Jesus died in our place? Or for our sake?

Postby Paidion » Wed Jul 26, 2017 6:01 pm

What was the purpose of Jesus' death? Translations of the Greek New Testament contain many verses that say Christ died FOR us? But what do those little words translated as "For" mean?

Did He die for us in order to save us from our sin, that is, from our wrongdoing?—from ourselves?
Or did He die for us in the sense of dying in our place, to appease the wrath of an angry God so that His suffering satisfied God's wrath, and thus God wouldn't be angry at us anymore?

I looked up as many verses as I could quickly find containing the phrase or similar phrase as "Christ died for us" and found that in nearly every instance, the word "for" is translated by the Greek preposition "ὑπερ" which means "on behalf of" or "for the benefit of" or "for the sake of" or "because of".

The following verses are from the ESV. I have reddened every "for" that is translated from "ὑπερ". Try reading them, substituting one of the three phrases I gave above as the meaning of "ὑπερ".

I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. (John 10:11)

For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly.(Rom 5:6)

...but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Rom 5:8)

For if your brother is grieved by what you eat, you are no longer walking in love. By what you eat, do not destroy the one for whom Christ died. (Rom 14:15)

And so by your knowledge this weak person is destroyed, the brother for whom Christ died. (1 Cor 8:11)

For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures (1 Cor 15:3)

For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died (2 Cor 5:14)

...and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised. (2 Cor 5:14) [Note: in this one the ESV has translated it as I would. Other translations have "for them."]

By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers. (1 John 3:16)


In one verse, the Greek proposition "περι" is translated as "for". That word means "concerning". Jesus died concerning us. We were His concern.

...who died for us so that whether we are awake or asleep we might live with him. (1 Thess 5:10)


If any of these verses were meant to mean that Jesus died in our place, the writer would have used the preposition "ἀντι". This word means "instead of" or "in place of". I believe there is NO VERSE that uses this preposition concerning Jesus' death for us.

There is one that, at first blush, might be thought to be an instance:

For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Mark 10:45)


This time, it is the preposition "ἀντι" which is translated as "for". So am I wrong? Is this a clear case of Jesus having died in our place. No! If we examine the context, we can see that in this case "giving his life" is not a reference to his death, but rather giving his life here on earth to serve others.

35 And James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came up to him and said to him, “Teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we ask of you.”
36 And he said to them, “What do you want me to do for you?”
37 And they said to him, “Grant us to sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your glory.”
38 Jesus said to them, “You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I drink, or to be baptized with the baptism with which I am baptized?”
39 And they said to him, “We are able.” And Jesus said to them, “The cup that I drink you will drink, and with the baptism with which I am baptized, you will be baptized,
40 but to sit at my right hand or at my left is not mine to grant, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared.”
41 And when the ten heard it, they began to be indignant at James and John.
42 And Jesus called them to him and said to them, “You know that those who are considered rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them.
43 But it shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant,
44 and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all.
45 For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”


So whoever among them wanted to be great, they could not attain greatness by persuading Jesus to let them sit next to Him in His glory—not by lording over other people like the Gentile rulers—but by serving other people. This is how Jesus spent His life, not for Himself, but for others. He came not to be served, but to serve others. He gave His life to serve others. Jesus is not here referring to giving up His life by dying on the cross, but giving up His life while living in this world, by serving others. He gave His life as a ransom in place of many others—living for them. Paying “a ransom” is a means of liberating others from misery. Jesus' earthly life was the price He paid in order to liberate others.
Last edited by Paidion on Thu Jul 27, 2017 1:41 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Jesus died in our place? Or for our sake?

Postby DaveB » Wed Jul 26, 2017 6:32 pm

That post is a keeper, Don. I've wanted to put something like that together but I'm ....what's the word?....ah yes, Lazy. :(

Anyway, thanks.
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Re: Jesus died in our place? Or for our sake?

Postby davo » Wed Jul 26, 2017 10:13 pm

Paidion wrote:If any of these verses were meant to mean that Jesus died in our place, the writer would have used the preposition "ἀντι". This word means "instead of" or "in place of". I believe there is NO VERSE that uses this preposition concerning Jesus' death for us.

There is one that, at first blush, might be thought to be an instance:

For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Mark 10:45)


This time, it is the preposition "ἀντι" which is translated as "for". So am I wrong? Is this a clear case of Jesus having died in our place. No! If we examine the context, we can see that in this case "giving his life" is not a reference to his death, but rather giving his life here on earth to serve others.

I’m a little confused why you bring up ‘anti’ and its relative meaning, which is as you say… “means "instead of" or "in place of".” — but seemingly ignore the <ὑπὲρ> hyper which likewise as you say… “means "on behalf of" or "for the benefit of" or "for the sake of" or "because of".” So maybe I’m misreading you?? But anyway, there is this text from Hebrews where…
Heb 9:24 For Christ did not enter a sanctuary made by human hands, a mere copy of the true one, but he entered into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf.

This appearing “on our behalf” was of course by way of the Cross, i.e., his death… on our behalf — <ὑπὲρ> hyper.

But that said, I think BOTH elements are there… so this is not a case of either/or but both. Certainly, Jesus came to serve in laying down his life, not only by that which he demonstrated in life-conduct, BUT also in his death which really is the focus of that Hebraic notion of RANSOM as per Mk 10:45; Mt 20:28. Then there is this…
1Tim 2:5-6 For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.

THAT ‘testimony’ was Calvary, i.e., his death. Interestingly here in this verse appear both words in the phrase… “ransom for all” = < ἀντίλυτρον ὑπὲρ πάντων> antilytron hyper pantōn. Along similar lines is Isaiah’s…
Isa 53:10-11 Yet it pleased the Lord to crush Him; He has put Him to grief. When You make His soul an offering for sin, He shall see His seed, He shall prolong His days, and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in His hand. 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.

Thus Mark’s choice of ἀντὶ πολλῶν. <anti pollōn> = “instead of many” meant… the redemptive saving thereof, which is what we see spoken of in John’s gospel, as per…
Jn 11:48-52 If we let Him alone like this, everyone will believe in Him, and the Romans will come and take away both our place and nation.” And one of them, Caiaphas, being high priest that year, said to them, “You know nothing at all, nor do you consider that it is expedient for us that one man should die for the people, and not that the whole nation should perish.” Now this he did not say on his own authority; but being high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus would die for the nation, and not for that nation only, but also that He would gather together in one the children of God who were scattered abroad.

So, to the two options posed in the OP above the answer can be… “both”.
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Re: Jesus died in our place? Or for our sake?

Postby Paidion » Thu Jul 27, 2017 1:29 pm

Davo, you wrote:I’m a little confused why you bring up ‘anti’ and its relative meaning, which is as you say… “means "instead of" or "in place of".” — but seemingly ignore the <ὑπὲρ> hyper which likewise as you say… “means "on behalf of" or "for the benefit of" or "for the sake of" or "because of".” So maybe I’m misreading you?


Davo, you are probably thinking of "on behalf of" as meaning "as a representative of," which indeed is a correct meaning of the phrase. But, I not think "υπερ" ever means that. However, according to the Cambridge Dictionary "on behalf of" also means "done for another person’s benefit or support, or because you are representing the interests of that person." This is what I had in mind by including "on behalf of" as one of the meanings of "υπερ".

"
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Re: Jesus died in our place? Or for our sake?

Postby maintenanceman » Thu Jul 27, 2017 2:55 pm

Hey Paidion you said:
So whoever among them wanted to be great, they could not attain greatness by persuading Jesus to let them sit next to Him in His glory—not by lording over other people like the Gentile rulers—but by serving other people. This is how Jesus spent His life, not for Himself, but for others. He came not to be served, but to serve others. He gave His life to serve others. Jesus is not here referring to giving up His life by dying on the cross, but giving up His life while living in this world, by serving others. He gave His life as a ransom in place of many others—living for them. Paying “a ransom” is a means of liberating others from misery. Jesus' earthly life was the price He paid in order to liberate others.

Thanks Don, and I revel that this is your position. That is pretty cool.
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Re: Jesus died in our place? Or for our sake?

Postby davo » Thu Jul 27, 2017 4:01 pm

Paidion wrote:Davo, you are probably thinking of "on behalf of" as meaning "as a representative of," which indeed is a correct meaning of the phrase. But, I not think "υπερ" ever means that.

Ok, so I’ve only gone with the texts you’ve mentioned above (there are oddles more) with regards to <ὑπὲρ> hyperRom 5:6, 8; 14:15; 1Cor 15:3; 2Cor 15:14; 1Jn 3:16 = “on behalf of” <ὑπὲρ> hyper.

Alfred Marshall’s ‘Interlinear Greek-English New Testament’ reads “on behalf of” for each and EVERONE of those references, AND Harold K. Moulton’s ‘The Analytical Greek Lexicon Revised’ gives these renderings for <ὑπὲρ> hyper… prep. with a genitive, above, over; met. in behalf of, instead of, in maintenance of, for the furtherance of, for the realization of; equivalent to <περί> peri (I left out all the textual references to these). Along with that is this online rendering of the same… 1) in behalf of, for the sake of 2) over, beyond, more than 3) more, beyond, over.

So, given your “ But, I not think "υπερ" ever means that.” can you give your defined meaning, and application of this, and lay out your rationale for as to why, thanks.
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Re: Jesus died in our place? Or for our sake?

Postby Paidion » Thu Jul 27, 2017 4:41 pm

Davo, I thought I had done exactly that!

I agree with the translation of "ὑπερ" in English as "on behalf of."

But not in the English sense of "as representative of" but rather in the sense of "done for another person’s benefit or support, or because you are representing the interests of that person." That is what Jesus did for us through His death. His death was for our benefit or support. His death released God's enabling grace to deliver us from sinful inclinations, when that enabling grace is received through faith. And Jesus also represents our interests—that is our interests in being delivered from the propensity to do evil, if we are willing to accept it through faith.

I am not claiming that by receiving this enabling grace through faith, we will never do anything wrong again. Our deliverance is contingent on our willingness to be delivered by that enabling grace (Titus 2:11-15). This deliverance (or salvation) is a process, that continues through faith. Some day the process will be complete. As the apostle Paul wrote (as recorded in Philippians 1:6):

And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.
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Re: Jesus died in our place? Or for our sake?

Postby Paidion » Thu Jul 27, 2017 4:47 pm

MM wrote:Thanks Don, and I revel that this is your position.


Thank you, Chad. I am glad to appreciate this view.
Thank you too, Dave B, for your gracious comment.
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Re: Jesus died in our place? Or for our sake?

Postby davo » Thu Jul 27, 2017 7:53 pm

Paidion wrote:I agree with the translation of "ὑπερ" in English as "on behalf of."

But not in the English sense of "as representative of" but rather in the sense of "done for another person’s benefit or support, or because you are representing the interests of that person."

Ok, I can appreciate that but I think such DOES cover both… but we can agree to disagree on that.

My thoughts, however, is that you’ve made your argument BASED around what I would see as an unnecessary splitting-of-hairs in rejecting the given meaning of the Greek <ὑπὲρ> hyper, saying it means something other than its English rendering (my understanding of your words). And this rejection is the mainstay of your proposition… I’m merely asking for you to explain with LXX or GNT evidence, or whatever other sources, that which backs up your claim that with regards to an apparent lack of “as representative of” aspect relative to the Greek <ὑπὲρ> hyper, that such does NOT cover the aforementioned.

IOW, I think you could make your argument without appealing to the Greek, disagreeing with the application you place on the Greek and then NOT showing how/why you’ve reached that conclusion *from any Greek text*… thus not demonstrating the validity of your assertion to justify your claim upon which your whole position is based etc.
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Re: Jesus died in our place? Or for our sake?

Postby Paidion » Fri Jul 28, 2017 8:38 am

In any case, Davo, I have not found that the Greek preposition "ἀντι" (instead of) used anywhere in the New Testament to indicate that Christ died as a sacrificial substitute for us, thus appeasing God so that God was satisfied in punishing Him instead of us.

If you think "ὑπερ" does the job of proving penal substitution, then, yes, we disagree.
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Re: Jesus died in our place? Or for our sake?

Postby davo » Fri Jul 28, 2017 6:08 pm

Certainly we can look at those two things, but first… can/will you answer the basic question relative to your argument to clear matters up because two things you said seem a little contradictory. First you said…
Paidion wrote:…the word "for" is translated by the Greek preposition "ὑπερ" which means "on behalf of" or "for the benefit of" or "for the sake of" or "because of".

Then you said…
Paidion wrote:Davo, you are probably thinking of "on behalf of" as meaning "as a representative of," which indeed is a correct meaning of the phrase. But, I not think "υπερ" ever means that.

So, if as you state… “on behalf of” and “as a representative of” equates to, or is as you say… which indeed is a correct meaning of the phrase but then… “I not think "υπερ" ever means that.” Then WHAT on earth are you saying <ὑπὲρ> hyper ACTUALLY means?

It’s a little hard to move forward UNTIL you actually clear this up first: what are you saying <ὑπὲρ> hyper means?
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Re: Jesus died in our place? Or for our sake?

Postby Paidion » Fri Jul 28, 2017 6:41 pm

So, if as you state… “on behalf of” and “as a representative of” equates to, or is as you say… “which indeed is a correct meaning of the phrase” but then… “I not think "υπερ" ever means that.” Then WHAT on earth are you saying <ὑπὲρ> hyper ACTUALLY means?


I have answered the question already several times, Davo. Here is the final repetition. I still stand by my initial statement:

... the word "for" is translated by the Greek preposition "ὑπερ" which means "on behalf of" or "for the benefit of" or "for the sake of" or "because of".


The only thing that I have added is that by saying the word means "on behalf of", I had in mind ""done for another person’s benefit or support, or because you are representing the interests of that person." (that definition comes straight from an English dictionary.) I then went on to explain that Jesus died for our benefit and support, and that in his dying, He represented our interest of overcoming wrongdoing. THAT IS WHY I INCLUDED "ON BEHALF OF" AS ONE MEANING OF THE PREPOSITION.

I also stated that if you take the other meaning of "on behalf of" id est "as representative of" that this is not the meaning of the preposition as Paul used it. He was not saying that Jesus died to represent us, to take our place, and to take the punishment that we deserved, deflecting God's wrath—in other words "penal substitution" as fundamentalist preachers teach it.

I cannot make it any clearer. There is nothing more to explain. If you still do not understand me, then there is nowhere else to go.
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Re: Jesus died in our place? Or for our sake?

Postby davo » Fri Jul 28, 2017 7:08 pm

Paidion wrote:I also stated that if you take the other meaning of "on behalf of" id est "as representative of" that this is not the meaning of the preposition as Paul used it.

Ok, so that makes sense… but apart from just saying this, have you proved that case? So far NO! In fact above you said…
Paidion wrote:However, according to the Cambridge Dictionary "on behalf of" also means "done for another person’s benefit or support, or because you are representing the interests of that person." This is what I had in mind by including "on behalf of" as one of the meanings of "υπερ".

So you’ve said in this statement above (which I highlighted)… “also means” AND “one of the meanings of "υπερ".” — THUS you CANNOT preclude the likes of *as representative of* as a legitimate rendering AS WELL; especially given that you yourself also CLEARLY AGREED that… “"on behalf of" as meaning "as a representative of," which indeed is a correct meaning of the phrase.” You then dismiss this BUT haven’t explained WHY apart from just saying Paul rejects using <ὑπὲρ> hyper accordingly. It is one thing to say something but you have not proven it. In which case we are left talking past each other. :shock:
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Re: Jesus died in our place? Or for our sake?

Postby davo » Fri Jul 28, 2017 8:53 pm

Paidion wrote:…the word "for" is translated by the Greek preposition "ὑπερ" which means "on behalf of" or "for the benefit of" or "for the sake of" or "because of".

So you’ve stated 4 options but then have argued that none of these can possibly conclude a meaning resembling *as representative of* and yet Paul indicates in our stead, place or position i.e., representative, Christ wherefore *died* — or at least that “our” covers such as Paul was writing to, as per here…
Rom 8:34 Who is the one to condemn? It is the Messiah Jesus who is interceding on our behalf. He died, and more importantly, has been raised and is seated at the right hand of God.
1Jn 2:1 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.

What does a priest do, especially a High Priest, but advocate ON BEHALF OF those He *represents* — Jesus did this via his death and resurrection and consequently to benefit all… thus it is as I initially noted, a BOTH/AND scenario not as you would posit it, EITHER/OR.

We have Paul here…
Rom 8:15 For I tell you that Christ has become a servant of the circumcised on behalf of the truth of God in order that he might confirm the promises given to the patriarchs.

Jesus wasn’t a servant to the benefit of God’s truth, BUT was fully *representative* thereof. (2Cor 13:8)

Likewise “on behalf of” has *representative* connotations beyond just beneficial ends…
1Cor 15:29 Otherwise, what will those people do who receive baptism on behalf of the dead? If the dead are not raised at all, why are people baptized on their behalf?

The apostles were *representing* Christ… not to Christ’s benefit but to the hearers…
2Cor 5:20 In behalf of Christ, then, we are ambassadors, as if God were calling through us, we beseech, in behalf of Christ, `Be ye reconciled to God.

There are more… Paul definitely DOES on occasion use <ὑπὲρ> hyper in the sense of *as representative of* — to state otherwise is not factual.
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Re: Jesus died in our place? Or for our sake?

Postby Paidion » Sat Jul 29, 2017 1:14 pm

Davo wrote:So you’ve said in this statement above (which I highlighted)… “also means” AND “one of the meanings of "υπερ".” — THUS you CANNOT preclude the likes of *as representative of* as a legitimate rendering AS WELL; especially given that you yourself also CLEARLY AGREED that… “"on behalf of" as meaning "as a representative of," which indeed is a correct meaning of the phrase.


"On behalf of " in English—YES. One of the meanings is "as a representative of".
"υπερ" in Greek—NO. "AS a representative of" is NOT one of the meanings.

I didn't intend to repeat this for the (is it the 5th time?). But you drive me to it.
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Re: Jesus died in our place? Or for our sake?

Postby Paidion » Sat Jul 29, 2017 1:23 pm

By the way, Davo, none of the scriptures you posted above are clear indications that "υπερ" means "as a representative of" or "in the place of" though some may INTERPRET them that way.

Even the one about baptism from the dead doesn't necessarily means baptism "in the place of the dead." It may well mean baptism "for the benefit of the dead." The thinking of those who were practising baptism for the sake of the dead probably was that the dead would receive the benefits that they would have received had they been baptized while they still lived.

Paul's point in bringing this up was that if the dead will never be raised to life again, there would be nobody to benefit.
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Re: Jesus died in our place? Or for our sake?

Postby davo » Sat Jul 29, 2017 6:00 pm

Paidion wrote:"On behalf of " in English—YES. One of the meanings is "as a representative of".
"υπερ" in Greek—NO. "AS a representative of" is NOT one of the meanings.

I didn't intend to repeat this for the (is it the 5th time?). But you drive me to it.

The one thing you ARE indeed consistent on Don is this repetitious denial that the Greek <ὑπὲρ> hyper CAN and DOES, on occasion, lend itself to having STRONG connotations towards meaning *as representative of*, i.e., in the stead of, aka *on behalf of*. I have provided both Greek lexical references and link (there are more than just the one link confirming this) as well as quoting two biblical Greek masters, i.e., Marshall and Moulton, along with numerous textual examples of the point being made. And yet mostly you offer… “"υπερ" in Greek—NO. "AS a representative of" is NOT one of the meanings.” — and yet with no real viable explanation demonstrating this other than your mere say-so; thus what you espouse seems nothing more than doctrine-driven opinion. Citing the ‘English Cambridge Dictionary’ till the cows come home does diddly squat in grasping the Greek.

So… for the benefit of any others interested enough to be following along I offer this as EVIDENCE of the *representative* nature of <ὑπὲρ> hyper i.e., “ON BEHALF OF” as per PAUL…
2Cor 5:20
ὑπὲρ Χριστοῦ οὖν πρεσβεύομεν ὡς τοῦ θεοῦ
On behalf of Christ therefore we are ambassadors as though God

παρακαλοῦντος δι' ἡμῶν: δεόμεθα ὑπὲρ Χριστοῦ, καταλλάγητε τῷ θεῷ.
were pleading through us: imploring on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.

Paul and the apostles’ plea is CLEARLY of a *representative nature* demonstrated by the FACT that their plea or beseeching were *as though God* Himself was pleading *through us*, as indeed He was. Paul’s repetitious “on behalf of Christ” is NOT indicative of a “benefit” towards Christ, NO… to the contrary, such was God’s active moving through His disciples as His ambassadors towards those addressed. NO ONE denies the beneficial reality that flowed from that BUT that is NOT the point of Paul’s words HERE.
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