Penal Substitutionary Atonement
- In our entries on justification, here and here, we saw how God could justify wicked sinners in light of Proverbs 17:15.
o Now we will examine how God can condemn Jesus who was perfectly righteous.
§ Proverbs – He who justifies the wicked and he who condemns the righteous, both of them alike are an abomination to the LORD.
- First, Jesus’ death was substitutionary in nature.
o Jesus’ death was foreshadowed and prophesied about in the Old Testament.
§ Genesis 22:1-14 - Abraham & Isaac – Instead of Isaac being killed, God provided a ram in his place.
· See vs 7-14.
§ Abraham called the name of that place, “The Lord will Provide.”
· What did the Lord provide? A ram as a substitute for Isaac.
o The Passover in Exodus 12:1-13; 23-28 – The Israelites were to sacrifice a lamb without blemish and put some of the blood on the doorposts and lintel.
§ The Lord would see the blood on the doorposts and not strike the firstborn.
· See vs 21-23.
o The Day of Atonement in Leviticus 16:2-28 – Aaron was commanded to lay both his hands on the scapegoat and confess all the transgressions and sins of
§ The scapegoat bore the sins and was sent off into the wilderness.
· Read 21-22
o Isaiah prophesied about the messiah in Isaiah 53.
§ In vs 6 he said - “The Lord has caused the iniquity of us all to fall on him.”
§ In vs 11 - “My servant will justify the many, as He will bear their iniquities.”
- Jesus is the substitutionary lamb who bore our iniquities.
o John & 36 – He is “The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.”
§ Revelation refers to Jesus as the Lamb at least 30 times.
o Read all of Hebrews 9:6-10:25.
§ Vs 28 - Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many.
§ Vs 26 – “Put away sins by the sacrifice of Himself”
o 1 Peter - He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed.
§ See also 1 Peter , 2 Corinthians
o When we say Christ bore our sins, what exactly do we mean? Did Christ, internally and in His nature, become sin?
§ NO! Our sin was imputed to Christ, which is the second imputation,
o Psalm 32:1-2 -”1) How blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is not covered! 2) How blessed is the man to whom the Lord does not impute iniquity…”
§ God did not count David’s sin against him
§ Theologians have called this the Great Exchange.
· Our sins are imputed to Christ and Christ’s righteousness is imputed to us.
- We don’t just call it a substitutionary atonement, but a penal substitutionary atonement.
o Because when Jesus bore our sins, He took the…
§ Guilt of our sins.
§ Condemnation our sins deserved.
- Biblical background for this:
o Galatians – “Christ became a curse for us.”
§ God’s curses were meant to destroy
for breaking His Law. (See Deuteronomy 28:45) Israel
· Christ was cursed and took God’s wrath upon himself, which was the result of our disobedience to God’s law.
o Matthew 26:39,42 – In the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus was anguishing over a cup He had to drink.
§ The cup Christ was talking about was an allusion to the cup of God’s wrath.
· The Old Testament makes this clear.
o Psalm 75:1-8
o Jeremiah 25:15-18
o Isaiah 51:17-21
§ Jesus bore our sins, therefore drank the cup reserved for wicked sinners.
- Also in Isaiah 53, the suffering servant not only bore the iniquity of many but we read the following in Isaiah 53:10
o Vs 10 The LORD was pleased to crush Him, putting Him to grief.
§ The LORD crushed Him and this is what caused great anguish in His soul at
o Romans -26 – Is one of the clearest expressions of Christ taking the guilt of our sins and punishment they deserved.
§ The Old Testament sacrifices never took away sins, or the punishment our sins deserved.
· Christ’s propitiatory sacrifice did!
o Wayne Grudem’s definition of propitiation – A sacrifice that bears God’s wrath to the end and in so doing change’s God’s wrath toward us to favor.
§ The Greek words lend themselves to these definitions because they have the sense of appeasement of satisfaction.
· In the context of God’s judgment, it is God’s wrath that needs to be appeased as we have seen.
§ These passages also refer to Jesus’ death as a propitiation: Hebrews , 1 John 2:2, 1 John .
- Jesus is our propitiation, having died as a penal substitute in our place, there will no longer be condemnation for those who trust in His completed work on the cross.
o For us who are in Christ, we can rejoice in Christ’s finished work on the cross and rest in His peace.
o For those who have not trusted in Christ’s work alone, the wrath of God still abides on you.
§ Repent and trust in Christ to remove it.