We have seen that the animal sacrifices were not completely representative of sinful men. Jesus was representative of us, being in all points "made like unto his brethren" (Heb. 2:17). "He tasted death for every man" (Heb. 2:9). When we commit a sin - e.g. we are angry - God can forgive us "for Christ's sake" (Eph. 4:32). This is because God can compare us with Christ, a man like us who was tempted to sin - e.g. to be angry - but who overcame every temptation. Therefore God can forgive us our sin - of anger - on account of our being in Christ, covered by his righteousness. Christ being our representative is therefore the means by which God can show us His grace, whilst upholding His own righteous principles.
If Jesus was God rather than being solely of human nature, he could not have been our representative. This is another example of where one wrong idea leads to another. Because of this, theologians have developed many complex ways of explaining Christ's death. The popular view of apostate Christendom is that man's sins placed him in a debt to God which of himself he could not pay. Christ then cleared the debt of each believer by his blood, shed on the cross. Many a Gospel Hall preacher has expressed it like this: "It was as if we were all lined up against a wall, about to be shot by the devil. Jesus then rushed in; the devil shot him instead of us, so we are now free."
These elaborate theories are without any firm Biblical support. There is the obvious contradiction that if Christ died instead of us, then we should not die. As we still have human nature, we must still die; salvation from sin and death will finally be revealed at the judgment (when we are granted immortality). We did not receive this at the time Christ died. Christ's death destroyed the devil the devil destroying him.
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