The way in which one views the atonement is paramount to discovering truth. With that in mind, I am going to repost part of a post I sent to DHK on the thread entitled “Are Ananias and Sapphira in Heaven?” I hope this post will serve as a catalyst for some interesting discussion on this most important issue. Of a truth, Christ bore our sins, IN THE SENSE OF SATISFYING THE PENALTY OF THE LAW, but What He did not do in any literal sense is to make or pay a ‘literal payment’ of eternal death for even ‘one’ ‘specific’ sin. Absolutely He suffered only once, all the more evidence that whatever he accomplished was not the literal payment of the penalty you agreed with me, that served as the common truth which allowed for this boat ride together, that was said to be the penalty for sin, i.e., eternal separation from God. Christ NEVER suffered that literal payment once DHK. If that happened, He would still be suffering throughout millions of eternities. (The reason why that sounds absurd, is because such would be absurd to consider) To follow your dance around the word “eternity,” trying to render the meaning of the word consistent with the meaning of “even in eternity,’ is beyond any semblance of proper or fair interpretation. That is simply a poor attempt to dodge the consequents of your own admission as to the penalty for sin and what it consists of. Who said that the sufferings of Christ were “mere” anything as you falsely concluded was consistent with my beliefs? Christ suffered more than any man had ever suffered or will suffer at the hands of evil men. I simply pointed out that the penalty for sin, which was none other than eternal separation from God, was NOT LITERALLY paid, nor logically could it have been. The sufferings of Christ, as heinous and broad in scope as they were a SATISFACTION MADE, not a literal payment to, THE DEMANDS OF THE LAW. That is not to ‘mere’ anything, but rather it speaks to what was in actuality ‘paid for,’ in relationship to the necessitated logic of Scripture’s revelation and truth. If this was a literal payment transaction, Christ would have had to pay an eternal death for every one that ever sinned. It could not have been accomplished once for all, but rather would have continued though out eternity. You cannot escape the literal logical end of the ‘literal payment theory’s’ argument you are espousing. A satisfaction being made to the demands of the penalty of the law, and the setting aside of that penalty being accomplished in relationship to an individuals actual sins by the fulfilling of certain conditions, are NOT notions synonymous with the idea of the literal payment theory you are setting forth. The principle target of the atonement was not any ‘single sin’ or sins in particular, nor was it the corporate sins of the elect alone, nor was it the literal payment of the sins of the entire world, (which again would amount to multiple ETERNAL separations for God, a preposterously absurd notion, leading to the necessitated conclusion of universalism if one is logical consistent). The focus and target of the atonement was to accomplish a ‘satisfaction of the debt the law demanded as ‘the’ penalty for sin.’ The penalty of God’s law was being satisfied via a SUBSTITUTIONAL sacrifice, directed at the penalty of sin as demanded by the law, not a literal payment for any sin or sins directly. A bridge had been built by this substitution sacrifice that paved the way, or made possible, the forgiveness of sins of all men for all ages. If a literal payment had been made for each individual sin, all sins would have been remitted and again universalism upheld. If you try and tell me that it was just for the sins of the elect, I will tell you that that would been nothing more or less than the last nail in the coffin of God being a respecter of persons, and the nail that would establish once and for all the false notion of the predestination of the damned, having never had the possibility of their sins being forgiven. The purpose of the atonement was to make a way for the forgiveness of sins, not to literally pay for any ‘specifically.’ The purpose of the atonement was to take the literal demands of the ‘penalty for sin’ out of the way, nailing ‘THE PENALTY’ of sin to the cross once for all by a ‘satisfaction of the penalty of sin’ seen by God as sufficient to uphold the sanctity of the law and it’s demands, making possible a show of His mercy and grace that without which could not have been wisely shown. This substitutional atonement made possible the setting aside the penalty for sins, and completed the groundwork of satisfying the penalty of the law, by the mediatory work of salvation accomplished by Christ’s suffering and atonement made on the cross This selfless, merciful, loving , and gracious act on the part of God and Christ and made ‘possible’ the forgiveness of the sins of all men, upon certain conditions being met, by individuals willing to comply with the conditions set forth by God in Scripture and mandated that ‘without which’ NO penalty for sin would be set aside for any individual or on behalf of any individual sin. The conditions of salvation in order to accomplish in our lives individually, that which Christ bought with the substitutional willing sacrifice of His own precious blood, that satisfied God that the sanctity of the law and it’s penalty, had been upheld and substitutionally made and accepted by Him as the debt of that penalty being paid in full, were always and will remain the same until the end of time; repentance, faith and continued obedience until the end. If we are to take advantage of this substitutional offer for the forgiveness of sins, we must comply with God’s commanded conditions. The ‘penalty’ for an ‘individuals sin’ has been set aside for the offender, ‘if and when’ he fulfills the conditions God has established. ‘THE PENALTY’ that would normally been applied to the individual for his sins has been satisfied completely, set aside, and accepted as such by God Himself, as the individual meets God’s conditions. The grounds have been laid, and the bridge built to establish the possibility of the salvation of all men. All that remains is for the sinner to hear of the good news, repent for all sins that are past, receive of the pardon made possible and the substitution made for the penalty of sins, and by the grace, strength, and help God has promise to afford us, remain faithful until the end. Such I believe is a proper concept of the atonement and the ends to which it addressed, accomplished, and made possible. I believe I have correctly set forth a Scriptural map, even though presented as a mere faltering and finite human attempt to elucidate spiritual realities, by which a wayfaring man though a fool, may follow and not error therein. Isa 55:7 Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.