The call to suffer in Christianity is a most definite reality, but a misunderstood reality at that. Perhaps a question that gets assumed in the church today is “if Christ died in my place, why would I have to die for others.” You see, the Bible does teach that Jesus substituted himself for us to make atonement for our sin and to make us right before God. Christ was set forth as the propitiation for our sin (Romans 3:25). In other words, Christ’s death was a death that absorbed the just wrath of God and credited his divine favor to those whom Christ includes in his death (all who believe).
The death that we die isn’t a death for sin’s punishment; Jesus soaked up every ounce of God’s wrath on the cross. And yet this doesn’t mean that we won’t die. Until Jesus comes back, we all die. But the death we die is still a death we die for others. Not a sin-bearing, favor-securing death, but rather a sin-despising, love-motivated death. The death of Christ pays for sin and cultivates affection in the hearts of all who truly believe.
We live and die, not for the favor of God, but out of a knowledge of God’s already purchased favor.