A commenter asked a good question at a site which rejects penal substitution:
“Exactly how does Christus Victor save me from my sins?”
In response to your closing question: Can anyone explain how the death/resurrection of Christ is linked to forgiveness of sins in this model?,” I would say: Focus your attention on the whole diamond — our God and Savior Jesus Christ — not just particular aspects like the forgiveness of sins, his vanquishing death, his rising from the dead in isolation from each other. Focus on the Person of Christ. Seek to have a holistic and integrated understanding of salvation.
Maybe I missed it, but was there an actual answer to that question? Here is a tip for Anchorites: come to grips with the fact that Reformed link death-justification-resurrection (Romans 4:25). At first your dishonesty was annoying. Eventually a lot of inquirers will see through it and call it for what it is.
Anchorites point out that Death is the primary problem, not sin. To which I would say, “Paul links sin and death.” Further, in the NT’s use of atonement language, the phrase “dying for our sins” (or some variant) is ubiquitous. This raises the logical truism: If Christ died for my sins, then Christ died for my sins. Conclusion: Christ death forgave my sins. Penal substitution might not be perfect, but it best deals with these issues. Further, Isaiah 53:10 references the guilt offerings in Leviticus 5. It has Christ dying for the guilt of his people.
If I say something like, “Christ’s death overcame the powers,” which is true, the question still remains, “Why did he need to die? What is the connection between that and remission of sins? As Michael Horton points out to Robert Jenson, how is what Christ actually did made pro nobis on a Christus Victor account?