In times past there was a practice of having a "whipping boy." A whipping boy was a servant that would take the place of punishment for a disobedient child. Often times those who were wealthy or of noble blood would have many servants, but this kind of servant had a specific and undesirable purpose. For instance when the son of a noble or wealthy person would get into some sort of trouble serious enough for physical punishment, like being whipped, rather than have the one who deserved to be beaten for their wrong doing actually take the fall, the whipping boy would be put in his place.
This was of course a terrible thing to do. Placing the punishment and shame that one person deserved and placing it upon another. But nonetheless this was something that was often done. After all the crime had to be punished, it could not go left alone. Someone had to pay the price for this wrong doing.
Sounds kind of familiar doesn't it? Well if you are a Bible reading Christian, it should. Even though this is not itself a Bible story, though something that really did happen, Jesus Christ was indeed the whipping boy for sinful man. Yes, taking the punishment for sinners who rightfully deserved death, Jesus took their place, their punishment and their pain.
"23for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God's righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. 26It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus."
I love the word "Propitiation!" It's not exactly a word that we hear used in every day conversation, but what a word it is! The biblical understanding of the word propitiation means "an appeasement for, and turning away of the wrath of God." When Christ put Himself on the cross for sinners, He turned away the wrath of God's furry against sin for those whom He died. He literally took the place of, substituted for, sinners who deserved death and Hell. Jesus Christ is the "whipping boy" of sinful man.
The entire purpose of a whipping boy, or in Christ's case a propitiatory sacrifice, is to appease and turn away the wrath that one has earned for wrongdoing. When a noble boy stole something, the whipping boy took his place and punishment. After the whipping boy was whipped, the price was paid and the noble boy no longer owed anything because his debt was paid for him. This is the very same truth that is presented in Scripture when we think of the cross of Christ Jesus. Those whom Jesus died for are no longer held to their debt, it has been paid for them.
So what then would it be on the part of he who punishes to whip the whipping boy and the noble boy both? It would be unheard of, the price was already paid! It would be unjust! And yet so many Christians believe this to be true of God. By saying that Jesus died in the place of "ALL" meaning every person, every place, for all time, they assert that God punishes Christ for the sin that He is going to punish others for also. That is not justice.
If Christ is truly a propitiation, a whipping boy, then those whom He died for are free from the wrath of God because Christ paid their fine. God the Father would not be just to place His wrath against every person's sin upon Christ and then punish many of those same people for their sin that Christ already suffered for. Jesus Christ as we are told in Romans 3:25 was "put forward as a propitiation." Jesus died LITERALLY in the place of sinners. So if Jesus died for absolutely everyone, then no one is going to Hell. But we know by Scripture's account that people are going to Hell, and lots of them. So then, it only makes sense that Jesus died not for all people, but for those whom He chose to save. If Christ suffered truly "in the place of" sinners, then those whom He died for are free.
"So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed."
If you assert that Christ died in the place of all people, you assert that He failed to satisfactorily satisfy the Fathers wrath, or that God is unjust giving double punishment. But If you believe that Christ died actually in the place of sinners, then you must know that He accomplished His work and died not for all, but for the elect.