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Atonement page 10 of 14

2Co 5:18-19  And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.

The Atonement

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somewhat in its influence, the theory continues to hold support, as evidenced by this declaration: “Thus penal substitution of Christ is the vital center of the atonement, the linchpin. . . ..”[23] Another theologian writes this strong affirmation: “In this book Schreiner makes a compelling case for substitutionary atonement from the biblical evidence, and his defense of penal substitution as an essential component of a proper view of the work of Christ is irrefutable.”[24]

            The basic premise of the penal substitution view is that all humans are guilty when compared to the just law of God because of our sins and depravity. We have no possible way to make restitution for our sins in a way that would satisfy the perfect and holy God. The penalty for our sins is death, or more to the point, eternal punishment and separation from God. “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8 NIV). Because of His great love for us, God sent His Son into the world to take the penalty (thus, penal) as our substitute. “The penal substitution view rightly heralds that human beings stand in debt before God and that they desperately need more than anything else in the world his forgiveness. Such forgiveness is secured through the cross and resurrection of Jesus Christ.”[25]


            In short, Jesus paid the price (penalty) for our sins. With God’s righteous demands preserved completely through Christ and as an act of pure divine love, the sins of humankind are covered by Christ’s atonement. God’s love and justice are seen at the heart of atonement. “It may be helpful for us to see the penal substitutionary death of Christ in the context of God’s loving


[23] Roger Nicole, “Postscript on Penal Substitution,” in The Glory of Atonement: Biblical, Historical & Practical Perspectives: Essays in Honor of Roger Nicole, eds. Charles E. Hill and Frank A. James III, (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2004), 451.
[24] Glenn R. Kreider, “Book Review: The Nature of the Atonement: Four Views,” Bibliotheca Sacra 165 (2008): 360.
[25] Thomas R. Schreiner, “Penal Substitution View,” in The Nature of the Atonement: Four Views, eds. James Beilby and Paul R. Eddy (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2006), 70