Union, Not Substitution

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Union with Christ is the means of life and reconciliation to God. The word “substitution” should be never be used, since it is not scriptural and conveys to the minds of many the idea that Christ did something INSTEAD of us, in such a sense that we are excluded.

The Scriptures, so far from teaching that Christ suffered and died “in our stead,” as it is often expressed, plainly show that we “suffer WITH Him” (Romans 8:17), and “be made CONFORMABLE unto His death” (Philippians 3:10), in order to share His resurrection life and glory.

This is the grand doctrine, and we think it should not be dishonored by being even seemingly linked, by the use of an unscriptural word, with the barbaric and unjust idea that God “substituted” His innocent Son to suffer the punishment due to sin instead of the guilty. Neither love nor justice could either demand or be satisfied with such an arrangement. Both love and justice will be satisfied when, IN and THROUGH Christ, all mankind will be “reconciled to God.”

John H. PatonJohn H. Paton (1843-1922)
The World’s Hope
September 15, 1890
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