SERMON TOPIC: Calvinism-Part6b-The-atonement

Speaker: Gavin Paynter

Language: ENGLISH

Date: 9 April 2017


Sermon synopsis: There are different models or Atonement theories. Some of these views are not necessarily mutually exclusive and are simply equally valid images of the same event.

One reason for the various views is that the Bible reveals many truths about the atonement and it is hard, if not impossible, to find any single “theory” that fully encapsulates or explains the richness of Christ’s work of redemption. The Scriptures present a rich and multifaceted picture of our redemption, putting forth many interrelated truths concerning the atonement.

But any view that ignores man’s sinfulness, the substitutionary nature of the atonement, or the centrality and significance of the cross - is deficient at best and heretical at worst.
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DEFINITION: The English word atonement is one of the few theological terms of English origin. It was coined by William Tyndale and originally meant at---one---ment i.e. being “to make one”, in harmony, with someone.

There are different models or Atonement theories. Some of these views are not necessarily mutually exclusive and are simply equally valid images of the same event.

One reason for the various views is that the Bible reveals many truths about the atonement and it is hard, if not impossible, to find any single “theory” that fully encapsulates or explains the richness of Christ’s work of redemption. The Scriptures present a rich and multifaceted picture of our redemption, putting forth many interrelated truths concerning the atonement.

But any view that ignores man’s sinfulness, the substitutionary nature of the atonement, or the centrality and significance of the cross - is deficient at best and heretical at worst.








Irenaeus? / Athanasius

2nd C / 4th C

Early church, Eastern Orthodox


Origen / Gregory of Nyssa

3rd C / 4th C

Early church



11th C


Moral influence

Peter Abelard

12th C

Modern liberals

Penal substitution


15th C

Lutheran, Calvinist & Arminian Protestants


Hugo Grotius

17th C

Some Arminian Protestants

Christus Victor

Gustaf Aulén

20th C

Early church?

Ransom (modified)

Kenyon, Hagin (Snr), Copeland

20th C


We saw that one early theory of the atonement is called the Ransom Theory.

The idea is that the death of Christ was a ransom sacrifice in satisfaction for the bondage and debt on the souls of humanity as a result of inherited sin.

But who was the ransom paid to? Origen and Gregory of Nyssa believed it was owed to Satan!

While it is clear that a price was indeed paid by Jesus to redeem us, we rejected the notion that anything was owed to Satan. The purpose of the atonement is to save us from God’s wrath, not Satan’s.


We noted that many in the Word-Faith Movement teach a modern-day variation of the Ransom to Satan Theory, that is far more extreme and perverse than its predecessor.

They declare that Jesus’ physical death was only the beginning of the redemptive work and that redemption was a process completed in hell. They contend that Jesus died physi­cally on the cross, but this was not sufficient for the atonement. Jesus had to die spiritually as well. He did this by taking on a Satanic nature and then descended into hell after his death, where he was tormented by Satan and his demons. This torture was the ransom God paid to Satan.

Anyone teaching that the atonement was completed in hell is denying the sufficiency of Christ's sacrifice on the cross.


The Ransom theory only has merit for those who believe that the ransom was payable to God. In fact the “ransom” is mentioned in context of Christ’s mediation work between God and man.

1 Tim 2:5-6 For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all people.

So Jesus mediated between God and man, not between God and the devil. Rather than paying a ransom to Satan by being tortured in hell, Jesus paid the price on the cross with his blood and he is depicted in Hebrews as offering himself as a sacrifice to God in heaven.

In any event we saw that neither Satan nor the demons are in hell yet.



Definition: The Atonement is seen as a divine conflict and victory; Christ – Christus Victor - fights against and triumphs over the evil powers of the world, the 'tyrants' under which mankind is in bondage and suffering, and in him God reconciles the world to Himself.

The Swedish Lutheran theologian Gustaf Aulén (1879 –1977) identified three main theories of the Atonement.


The “Christus Victor” is a modified form of the classic Ransom theory. Aulén argued that the Church Fathers' theory was not that the crucifixion was the payment of a ransom to Satan, but rather that it represented the liberation of humanity from the bondage of sin, death, and the devil. Aulén advocated a return to this “classic view”.





Christus Victor

Early church

2nd cent

Classic view



11th cent

Scholastic view

Moral Exemplar

Peter Abelard

12th cent

Idealistic view

Man is indeed held in bondage to sin, the devil and death.

Gal 3:22 But the Scripture declares that the whole world is a prisoner of sin

John 8:34 I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave to sin

2 Tim 2:26 … and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will.

Hebrews 2:15 and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death.

As a slave of prisoner unable to help himself man is in need of a “kinsman redeemer” who can liberate or redeem him.


There are two way of redeeming something, either by buying it back, or by defeating the one who holds it.

Modern example: When the Israelis were faced with the hostage situation at Entebbe in 1976, they didn’t grant any of the demands of the terrorists – they launched a special forces rescue operation to liberate the captives by attacking and overpowering the hostage-takers.


Some of the Entebbe rescue team

Biblical example: When God redeemed Israel from slavery he didn’t buy them back from Pharaoh, but forcefully took them from him. Likewise Satan is not compensated by the atonement, but conquered by Jesus. So the idea of “ransom” is not be seen in terms of a business transaction, but more in the terms of a battle against the powers which hold mankind in bondage: sin, death, and the devil.


Gregory of Nazianzus (329-390 AD) in particular refuted the suggestion that God would pay any ransom to a robber (Satan). He argues that the devil was “vanquished by force.”

As the term Christus Victor (Christ the Victor) indicates, by his death Christ defeated the powers of evil, which had held humankind in their power. Mankind was rescued or liberated humanity from the slavery and bondage to sin.

Col 1:13 For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves…

Col 2:15 And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.


While not being a complete picture of the atonement (regarding the debt to God), the Christus Victor view is certainly scriptural. It is a valid depiction of how Christ conquered the forces of evil by his death on the cross.

1 John 3:8b The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work.

Heb 2:14-15 Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might break the power of him who holds the power of death--that is, the devil

John 12:31 “Now is the time for judgment on this world; now the prince of this world will be driven out.”

John 16:11 “and about judgment, because the prince of this world now stands condemned.”


It is also very much in line with the doctrine of the Kinsman Redeemer, where mankind has to be redeemed by a relative (the Son of Man) who exacts vengeance on an enemy (Satan) who has stolen our liberty, land, legacy and life.



Definition: Jesus is seen as the new Adam who succeeds where Adam failed. He said “Yes” where Adam said “No” and thus undid the wrong that Adam did. Because of his union with humanity, he thus leads humankind on to eternal life.

One of the earliest views is what is known as the “recapitulation” view of the atonement. It was first clearly expressed by Athanasius in AD 318 (although possibly alluded to by Irenaeus).

The name refers to the recapitulation of the last Adam (Christ) who retraces the steps of the first Adam.

Definition of recapitulation: an act or instance of summarizing and restating the main points of something.

Rather than emphasizing the cross, the entire life lived by Jesus, culminating in his obedience at the cross represent the salvific work of Jesus.


Man was made in the image of God, but lost this image by his sin. Through Jesus, God renews his image in man..

What else could (God) possibly do, being God, but renew His image in mankind, so that through it men might once more come to know Him? And how could this be done save by the coming of the very Image Himself, our saviour Jesus Christ? …” 


again, and then the likeness is re-drawn on the same material. Even so was it with the All-holy Son of God. He, the Image of the Father, came and dwelt in our midst, in order that He might renew mankind made after Himself”. 1

1 Athanasius - On The Incarnation


 “The Word of God came in His own person, because it was He alone, the Image of the Father, who could recreate man after the image You know what happens when a portrait that has been painted on a panel becomes obliterated through external stains. The artist does not throw away the panel, but the subject of the portrait has to sit for it

The recapitulation view is held today by the Eastern Orthodox Church. This is how they explain it:

Recapitulation sees the model through which God dealt with man’s sin as a hospital rather than a courtroom. Instead of viewing the atonement as Christ paying the price for sin in order to satisfy a wrathful God, Recapitulation teaches that Christ became human to heal mankind by perfectly uniting the human nature to the Divine Nature in His person. Through the Incarnation, Christ took on human nature, becoming the Second Adam, and entered into every stage of humanity, from infancy to adulthood, uniting it to God. He then suffered death to enter Hades and destroy it. After three days, He resurrected and completed His task by destroying death. 1

1 2011/ 11/ 09/ the-recapitulation-theory/


The key support scripture for this view is Romans 5.

Rom 5:12-21 Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned—for sin indeed was in the world before the law was given, but sin is not counted where there is no law. Yet death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those whose sinning was not like the transgression of Adam, who was a type of the one who was to come. But the free gift is not like the trespass. For if many died through one man’s trespass, much more have the grace of God and the free gift by the grace of that one man Jesus Christ abounded for many. And the free gift is not like the result of that one man’s sin.


 For the judgment following one trespass brought condemnation, but the free gift following many trespasses brought justification. For if, because of one man’s trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ. Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men. For as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous. Now the law came in to increase the trespass, but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, so that, as sin reigned in death, grace also might reign through righteousness leading to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.


While the previous passage gives credence to this view as a picture of atonement, it is definitely not a complete picture – by neglecting the aspect of Christ’s death being a payment to God.

In the same context, this key proof chapter teaches the necessity of Jesus’ blood to appease God’s wrath.

Rom 5:9 Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him!

So while the Recapitulation Theory portrays a valid part of Christ’s redemptive work, taken by itself, it is incomplete. It fails to account for the many other metaphors used in Scripture to describe Jesus’ atoning work.


On closer examination, we see that Athanasius understood the idea of “substitution” (i.e. Christ in place of us)

Because God is immortal, “He assumed a body capable of death, in order that it, through belonging to the Word who is above all, might become in dying a sufficient exchange for all”. 1

He writes that there was “a debt owing which must be paid”. He saw the debt that man owed being payable to Death itself. 2 But he says that Jesus “surrendered his body to death in place of all, and offered it to the Father.”

1 On The Incarnation 2 Ibid. - But beyond all this, there was a debt owing which needs be paid; for, as I said before, all men were due to die. Here, then, is the second reason why the Word dwelt among us, namely that having proved His Godhead by His works, He might offer the sacrifice on behalf of all, surrendering his own temple to death in place of all, to settle man’s account with death and free him from the primal transgression.


Jesus died our death for us, paying our debt to Death.

“It was by surrendering to death the body which He had taken, as an offering and sacrifice free from every stain, that he forthwith abolished death for his human brethren by the offering of the equivalent.” 1

As in Jesus’ death - all die, death loses its power for men. 2

1 Ibid. … through this union of the immortal Son of God with our human nature, all men were clothed with incorruption in the promise of the resurrection. For the solidarity of mankind is such that, by virtue of the Word’s indwelling in a single human body, the corruption which goes with death has lost its power over all. 2 Ibid. “This he did for sheer love for us, so that in his death all might die, and the law of death thereby be abolished because, when he had fulfilled in his body that for which it was appointed, it was therefore voided of its power for men.”



Definition: In this view Jesus came to set an example by his life and death. We are saved by following his example. So Jesus’ life is equally important as his death, and his death serves as a motivational influence on us.

This view of the atonement is the only one that is more flawed than thee Modified Ransom-to-Satan view of the Word Faith teachers.

Peter Abelard (1079-1142) first proposed the moral influence theory. It has been resurrected by Protestant liberals.

The Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry describe the moral influence theory as follows:

The moral influence theory of the atonement maintains that the death of Christ was not necessary as a means of removing sin. Instead, the loving sacrifice of Christ, as such a wonderful and selfless act, influences the hearts and minds of those who hear about it and moves them to repentance and trust in Christ.


Support verses:

John 15:13 Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.

2 Cor 5:14 For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died.

Rather than atone for our sins, Jesus’ death inspires us to live better.

But although it is true that Jesus’ life and death inspires us to live better – that is not what saves us!

While there is some merit in this view, it cannot stand on its own as it effectively amounts to a “good works” gospel.


Supporters of Anselm’s Satisfaction Theory of atonement, such as Bernard of Clairvaux, entered into public conflict with Peter Abelard and other supporters of the Moral Influence view.

Abelard’s view never really got much support, with Anselm’s view dominating Catholic theology.

But modern liberals have dug it up again.

As many of them do not even believe in the deity of Jesus, they prefer to see his life and death (as a man) simply serving as a positive role model for us.

The Moral Influence view is espoused by theologians such as Friedrich Schleiermacher (1768–1834) often called the “Father of Modern Liberal Theology”.



Criticism of Moral Influence theory

It underestimates the seriousness of sin and the wrath of God against sin. It denies the fact that past sin must be paid for.

It teaches that humans have to save themselves by moral effort alone, but the New Testament teaches the impossibility of salvation through moral works.

It denies the essential part played by Jesus’ death. Many passages speak of the effects of Christ’s death, often using language from the Jewish sacrificial system.

It contradicts various Biblical passages which teach the necessity of faith in salvation.

It does not support the uniqueness of Christianity.


Definition: Rather than owing a debt to Satan, this theory teaches that Jesus was crucified as a substitute for human sin, to satisfy God’s just wrath against man’s transgression due to Christ's infinite merit.

The Christus Victor or related Ransom theories were the dominant models of the Atonement for 1000 years, until the medieval theologian Anselm of Cantebury (1033-1109) supplanted it in the West with his Satisfaction (or Commercial) theory.

It was not until Anselm’s famous book Cur Deus Homo (lit. ‘Why the God Man’) in 1098 that attention was focused on the theology of redemption with the aim of providing more exact definitions.

1 https:// wiki/ Penal_substitution & satisfaction-theory-of-the-atonement


Anselm in his personal seal

The main improvement over the Ransom Theory is that he believed that when Jesus died, he did not pay a debt to Satan but to God. The ‘ransom’ that Jesus referred to in the Gospels would be a sacrifice and a debt paid only to God the Father, on behalf of ‘many’. 1

Anselm was a Benedictine monk and a theologian of the Catholic Church. He was the second archbishop of Canterbury after the Norman invasion of England.

His theory of the atonement relied heavily on the feudal system of his day, in which serfs worked on an estate for an overlord.

1 Ibid


The overlord - a knight - protected the estate from attack. The serfs owed the knight a debt of honour for their protection and livelihood. 1

Anselm pictured God as the overlord of the world to whom is owed a debt of honour. Failure to honour God is therefore a sin. God cannot overlook such an offence and demands satisfaction. 1

1 satisfaction-theory-of-the-atonement


Anselm’s argument is as follows:

Human sin dishonours God in such a way that repayment is required. It is unfitting for God to forgive sin without satisfaction.

The satisfaction due to God was greater than what all created beings are capable of doing, since they can only do what is already required of them. Therefore, God had to make satisfaction for himself.

Yet if this satisfaction was going to avail for humans, it had to be made by a human. Therefore only a being that was both God and man could satisfy God and give him the honour that is due him. A God-man must be born with the power, obligation, and will to make the satisfaction.

The death of the God-man outweighs all sins.



Definition: Christ, by his own sacrificial choice, was punished (penalised) in the place of sinners (substitution), thus satisfying the demands of justice so that God can justly forgive man’s sin, while still punishing sin.

Penal Substitution is really a derivative of Anselm’s view.

The Protestant reformers shifted the focus of this satisfaction theory to concentrate not merely on divine offense but on divine justice. God’s righteousness demands punishment for human sin. God in his grace both exacts punishment and supplies the one to bear it. 1

This is an important difference.

For Anselm, Christ obeyed where we should have obeyed.

For the Reformers, he was punished where we should have been punished.

1 satisfaction-theory-of-the-atonement


Penal substitution differs from the Satisfaction theory in that it sees Christ’s death not as repaying God for lost honour, but rather paying the penalty of death that had always been the moral consequence for sin (e.g., Genesis 2:17; Romans 6:23).

The key difference here is that:

For Anselm, satisfaction is an alternative to punishment, “The honour taken away must be repaid, or punishment must follow.” By Christ satisfying our debt of honour to God, we avoid punishment.

In Penal Substitution, it is the punishment which satisfies the demands of justice.

https:// wiki/ Satisfaction_theory_of_atonement



The doctrine of penal substitution teaches that:

Man has sinned and is in rebellion against God. As a righteous judge God cannot simply overlook sin – it must be paid (atoned) for.

Christ died on the cross as a substitute for sinners. (substitutionary punishment). God imputed the guilt of our sins to Jesus, and he bore the chastisement that we deserve, being punished as though he himself committed the sin.

This constituted a full payment for sins, which satisfied both the wrath and the righteousness of God, so that he could forgive sinners without compromising his own holy standard.

In this way, Jesus reconciled man and God.


Unlike the Ransom theory where a debt is owed to the devil, the Bible teaches that Jesus was a sin sacrifice. The sin sacrifice is required of, and made to God – not the devil.

Rom 5:9-10 Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him! For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!

John 3:36 Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on him.”


As unbelievers, we are under God’s wrath because of our sin.

Eph 2:3 All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath.

Rom 1:18 The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness,

According to Col 2:14, Jesus cancelled the debt and the record completely. I have no legal demands on me.

(ESV) by cancelling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross.

Through his blood, Jesus has restored our relationship with God.

Eph 2:13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near through the blood of Christ.

Col 1:19-20 For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.

Col 1:21-22 Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behaviour. But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation—


Eph 2:14-18 For he himself is our peace, who has made the two one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, by abolishing in his flesh the law with its commandments and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new man out of the two, thus making peace, and in this one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility. He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit.


God instituted the whole OT sacrificial system to teach us about the ultimate way of redemption.

It a well known that “without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness” (Heb 9:22).

Lev 17:11 (ESV) For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it for you on the altar to make atonement for your souls, for it is the blood that makes atonement by the life.


John the Baptist introduces Jesus as “Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29), clearly invoking a familiar image found in the OT sacrificial system, which included the sacrifice of a lamb as a sin offering (Lev 4:32,33).

Jesus himself said, “This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.” (Matt 26:28)


Paul says that “Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed” (1 Cor 5:7).

In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace. (Eph 1:7)

“Be shepherds of the church of God, which he bought with his own blood.” (Act 20:28)

Peter says that we were redeemed “with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect” (1 Pet 1:19).


The author of Hebrews writes:

Heb 9:12 He did not enter by means of the blood of goats and calves; but he entered the Most Holy Place once for all by his own blood, having obtained eternal redemption.

Heb 9:14 How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death

Heb 10:19 … we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus

Heb 13:12 And so Jesus also suffered outside the city gate to make the people holy through his own blood.


John introduces Jesus in Revelation as “him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood” (Rev 1:5).

He tells of the elders who sing to Jesus, “Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain” (Rev 5:12) and “You are worthy… because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased men for God from every tribe and language and people and nation” (Rev 5:9).

He sees a great crowd before God’s throne who “have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb” (Rev 7:14).

And he writes in his epistle:

1 John 1:7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.



Penal substitution obviously carries the concepts of substitution (Christ died in our place) and the imputation of our sins to Christ.

Christ died in our place.

Rom 5:6-8 You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

The word Atonement in English well translated the meaning of the Hebrew word ‘Kippur’ (as in Yom Kippur – the Day of Atonement) which means ‘reconciliation’ - specifically reconciling sinful men with a Holy God. It is used to describe the saving work that God did through Jesus to reconcile the world to himself.

2 Cor 5:19 that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting [imputing] people’s sins against them.

On the Day of Atonement a blood sacrifice was made to God, prefiguring Jesus’ atonement for us. The sacrifice is made to God, not Satan (so no idea of a ransom paid to the devil). The sacrifice is made as a substitution on behalf of the people (so no idea of a salvation due to following good examples).


Today a scapegoat is defined as a person who is blamed for the wrongdoings, mistakes, or faults of others.

The origin of the term is from the Bible where a goat sent into the desert after the Jewish chief priest had symbolically laid the sins of the people upon it (Lev 16).


The scapegoat was used for symbolic removal of the people’s sins with the literal removal of the goat as an outcast in the wilderness on the Day of Atonement.


Two goats were chosen by lot: one to be a sacrifice and the other to be the scapegoat.

The blood of the slain goat was taken into the Holy of Holies behind the veil and sprinkled on the mercy seat. This process prefigures the blood sacrifice of Christ on the cross.

Later in the ceremonies of the day, the High Priest confessed the intentional sins of the Israelites to God placing them figuratively on the head of the other goat, the scapegoat, who would symbolically carry them away into the desert. Since the goat was sent away to perish, the word “scapegoat developed to indicate a person who is blamed and punished for the sins of others. This process prefigures the work of Christ who became the scapegoat for our sins (they were imputed to him).


There is the clear idea of substitution in the atonement.

1 John 2:2 He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.

Gal 3:13 (ESV) Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree”

1 Pet 3:18 For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God…


In the Book of Acts, Philip indicated to the Ethiopian eunuch that Isaiah 53 speaks of Christ. Likewise Peter applies the passage to Jesus’ work on the cross.

1 Pet 2:24 “He himself bore our sins” in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; “by his wounds you have been healed.”

Isaiah 53 clearly speaks of a substitutionary sacrifice for sin.

53:4a Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering

53:5 But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.


53:6b the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.

53:8b For he was cut off from the land of the living; for the transgression of my people he was punished.

53:10 Yet it was the Lord’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer, and though the Lord makes his life an offering for sin

53:11b by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many, and he will bear their iniquities.

53:12b … because he poured out his life unto death, and was numbered with the transgressors. For he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.


The idea of Christ being a substitutionary sacrifice similar to those made in the OT is particularly displayed in the Book of Hebrews.

Heb 7:27b He sacrificed for their sins once for all when he offered himself.

Heb 9:23-28 It was necessary, then, for the copies of the heavenly things to be purified with these sacrifices, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. … But now he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to do away with sin by the sacrifice of himself.


Heb 10:10 And by that will, we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.

Heb 10:12 But when this priest had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God.

Heb 10:14 because by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy.


3) Christ’s righteousness to man

1) Adam’s sin to man

2) Man’s sin to Christ


2 Cor 5:21 God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

1 Cor 15:22 For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive.


While Arminians and 5-point Calvinists disagree on the extent of the Atonement, they generally agree that the Penal Substitution model of Atonement is the best.

Even the Governmental theory held by some Arminians is just a derivative of the Penal Substitution theory. And that in turn was derived from Anselm’s Satisfaction theory (the Catholic view).

All of these views hold that a debt was owed to God, not Satan and that Jesus was a substitute for man, either by satisfying his lost honour or by repaying the debt owed.

Around AD 400, Augustine mentions ideas familiar in Penal Substitution.

Substitution – “Christ, though guiltless, took our punishment, that he might cancel our guilt and do away with our punishment…” 1

Imputed sin – “Confess that he died, and you may also confess that he, without taking our sin, took its punishment.” 1

1 Reply to Faustus the Manichean 14:4, 7, in Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers



Luther clearly taught what we call penal substitution.

But now, if God’s wrath is to be taken away from me and I am to obtain grace and forgiveness, some one must merit this; for God cannot be a friend of sin nor gracious to it, nor can he remit the punishment and wrath, unless payment and satisfaction be made. Now, no one, not even an angel of heaven, could make restitution for the infinite and irreparable injury and appease the eternal wrath of God which we had merited by our sins; except that eternal person, the Son of God himself, and he could do it only by taking our place, assuming our sins, and answering for them as though he himself were guilty of them. 


This our dear Lord and only Saviour and Mediator before God, Jesus Christ, did for us by his blood and death, in which he became a sacrifice for us; and with his purity, innocence, and righteousness, which was divine and eternal, he outweighed all sin and wrath he was compelled to bear on our account; yea, he entirely engulfed and swallowed it up, and his merit is so great that God is now satisfied and says, “If he wills thereby to save, then there will be a salvation.” 1

1 Second Sermon on Luke 24:36-47, Sermons of Martin Luther, vol. 2, p. 344)


Calvin (who trained as a lawyer) also believed in penal substitution. He notes on Jesus’ trial before Pilate:

… he played the part … of a guilty wrongdoer… we see the role of sinner and criminal represented in Christ, yet from his shining innocence it becomes obvious that he was burdened with the misdoing of others rather than his own… This is our acquittal, that the guilt which exposed us to punishment was transferred to the head of God’s Son… At every point he substituted himself in our place to pay the price of our redemption. 1

1 Institutes II. XVI. 5, 7


The work of the Reformers, including Ulrich Zwingli and Philip Melanchthon, was hugely influential. It took away from religion the requirement of works, whether corporal or spiritual, of the need for penances, belief in purgatory, indeed the whole medieval penitential system; and it did so by emphasizing the finality of Christ’s work. 1

1 https:// wiki/ Penal_substitution


John Wesley also held to the penal substitution view.

Our sins were the procuring cause of all his sufferings. His sufferings were the penal effects of our sins. “The chastisement of our peace,” the punishment necessary to procure it, “was” laid “on him,” freely submitting thereto: “And by his stripes” (a part of his sufferings again put for the whole) “we are healed”; pardon, sanctification, and final salvation, are all purchased and bestowed upon us. Every chastisement is for some fault. That laid on Christ was not for his own, but ours; and was needful to reconcile an offended Lawgiver, and offering guilty creatures, to each other. So “the Lord laid on him the iniquity of us all”; that is, the punishment due to our iniquity. 1

1 The Doctrine of Original Sin

The OT sacrifices were not sufficient to take away sin, serving only as a reminder.

Heb 10:3-4 But those sacrifices are an annual reminder of sins, because it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.

Jesus’ sacrifice is sufficient because it is of infinite intrinsic value and all-sufficient as a sacrifice.

1 Pet 1:18-19 For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect.


In contrast with the OT yearly sacrifice on the Day of Atonement, Scripture declares the sufficiency of Christ’s death and his atoning death.

Heb 7:27 … He sacrificed for their sins once for all when he offered himself.

Heb 9:28 so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people

Christ’s sacrifice was to satisfy God’s justice.

Rom 3:26 He did this to demonstrate his righteousness, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished— he did it to demonstrate his righteousness at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus.



We have to believe and receive this substitutionary atonement through faith.

Rom 3:23-25 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood—to be received by faith.


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