I recently began a sermon series at our church on Galatians. As I worked through the first message on 1:1-5, I was again overwhelmed with the substitutional death of Christ that is at the heart of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Paul declared in 1:4 regarding Christ, “Who gave himself for our sins.” The little preposition “for” is the term ὑπέρ. It has the force here of “in behalf of” or “for the sake of” as it also does in Galatians 2:20 and 3:13. Christ gave himself. He gave his life. The world often knows the fact of his death more than the reason for it. Why did he give his life? Paul declares, “for our sins.” He died for the sake of them. He died in our place. This substitutional death of Christ is at the heart of the gospel.
1 Now I make known to you, brethren, the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received, in which also you stand,
2 by which also you are saved, if you hold fast the word which I preached to you, unless you believed in vain.
3 For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures,
4 and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures (1 Cor. 15:14).
Paul made known to them the gospel, and declares in verse 3 that “Christ died for our sins.” And yes, “for” is ὑπέρ.