Penal Substitutionary Atonement

THEOLOGY THURSDAY, MARCH 25, 2021

PENAL SUBSTITUTIONARY ATONEMENT – Christ was punished by God (penal), in the place of sinners (substitutionary), when He died on the cross (atonement). – See Romans 3:9-30; 8:32; Isaiah 53, etc.


The Gospel is the good news Christ was a substitute – that He died in the place of sinners. The good news is that His death accomplished something on behalf of sinners they could not do themselves.

God is so holy, and we so unholy, it takes God the Father delivering up His own perfect, precious Son as a sacrifice to vindicate Himself, appease His righteous wrath and by that sacrifice forgive sinners. 


This biblical teaching is rejected by those who believe humans are essentially good. They reject that we are enemies of God, helpless and hopeless in our sin.

Those who deny Christ as a substitute argue that, whatever Jesus did, it didn’t have anything to do with us being sinners rightly deserving of God’s righteous judgment. Rather, Jesus was an example for us to follow, but He certainly wasn’t a bloody sacrifice.


For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. — 1 Corinthians 1:18

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