The Biblical Basis for Penal Substitution

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by Martin Marprelate, Dec 2, 2015.

  1. Martin Marprelate

    Martin Marprelate
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    Since I believe that the Doctrine of Penal Substitution is of primary importance, I think it may be helpful to discuss the Biblical basis for it. I want to introduce one text, discuss it, and then move on.
    I believe that P.S. is found in several places in Genesis, but I think it is probably simpler to start in Exodus:

    Exodus 12. The Passover. In the first nine plagues, disaster falls only upon the Egyptians, but in the tenth, it will fall also upon the Israelites unless they take certain precautions. A lamb must be slaughtered, and its blood applied to the door frame of every house. The clear implication is that unless this is done, the first-born child will die in every house that is not covered by the blood. V.13. 'When I see the blood, I will pass over you.' Implication: "If I don't see the blood, I won't pass over you." Thus the lamb becomes a substitute for the firstborn son, dying in his place.
    This applied to every single house of the Israelites. If one house neglected to perform the rite, the fact that the neighbours had done it wouldn't help. A particular lamb died for a particular child.

    The blood was to be applied to the doorposts with a sprig of hyssop (v.22). So when David, in the midst of his sins, cries, "Wash me with hyssop and I shall be clean" (Psalm 51:7), he is pleading that the blood of the Passover lamb be applied to him also. The Holy Spirit also tells us today that 'Indeed Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us' (1 Cor. 5:7). Christ's blood was shed for those hearts are sprinkled with the blood of the Passover Lamb (Heb. 9:19-22; 10:19-22).

    It might be asked, what were the sins for which the Israelites needed atonement? Ezek. 20:4-10 tells us that they had shared in worshipping the false Egyptian gods. Thus we are particularly told that the plague on the firstborn is 'Judgement on all the gods of Egypt' (Exod. 12:12).

    That's very brief, but I hope it's reasonably clear. Please comment and then we can move on to the next text.
     
  2. percho

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    And it came to pass, when Pharaoh would hardly let us go, that the LORD slew all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both the firstborn of man, and the firstborn of beast: therefore I sacrifice to the LORD all that openeth the matrix, being males; but all the firstborn of my children I redeem. Ex 13:15
     
  3. Martin Marprelate

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    I'm not quite sure of the point you're making here. Would you like to expand?
     
  4. agedman

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    Penal substitution (imo) is one aspect of the work of the Cross.

    The questions that must be asked is why was there physical suffering involved and was forensic payment made for God, man or both?

    First, why was there physical suffering?

    The sacrifice of the OT that involved the blood for the mercy seat, did not involve beating, moving bones out of joint, pulling out the wool, whipping and other wounding of the lamb. So why would the Son have to endure such?

    I think the answer may come from two aspects.

    First, that it pleased God. That God provided prophetic statements indicating the treatment of the Son was not for His benefit but but for believers. "wounded for our transgressions, bruised for our iniquities, chastised for our peace, healed by his stripes..." are all found in Isaiah. So, there is certainly aspects of the whole of redemption that were not part of the picture presented at the tabernacle / temple.

    Second, there is that example of suffering in which the believer can rest. Throughout the life of Christ as recorded by the apostles, Christ suffered. At each suffering, there is a certain comfort to the believer that their own suffering is evidence of a kinship.

    Paul said,
    "...that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death; in order that I may attain to the resurrection from the dead." (Philippians 3)​

    To Paul, the suffering of the believer brought fellowship and experiential understanding of His suffering.

    Christ had no bed, and there are believers who also have not a pillow to lay their head.
    Christ hungered and thirsted, and there are believers who also hunger and thirst.
    Christ experienced silence of communication from the Father, believers also experience times of when prayers seems to bounce back from the entrance of the throne room.

    Second, did the forensic suffering make some kind of payment to God, man or both?

    There is much made by some on the suffering of Christ, and often that the suffering is what brought some manner of payment desired or required for redemption.

    However, I personally have a concern with some aspects of that thinking.
    1) It places suffering as necessary. If that were true, then the only picture given (that of the tabernacle services) would most certainly had included that aspect.
    2) It diminishes in some manner the blood. It incorporates some work the lamb had to submit too in order for the blood to be satisfactory. The only aspect that was required of the lamb was the purity - both inside and out.
    3) Isaiah makes it clear that the suffering was not from God nor was it for God. (Isaiah 53)​

    Certainly, the suffering of Christ is important. It should be noted and held in high regard.

    As I mentioned on another thread, the suffering was not uncommon and was part of the experience of others. The case can be that others may have in some way had more gruesome suffering (not more painful or in some manner greater in aspects of physical pain).

    What makes the Cross special is that it was done to the Son. That the very creator was so horribly treated by the creation not by accident, but on purpose, with the direct and clearly stated gifts to be given by God to humankind was the result.

    What payment for redemption could the suffering of Christ bring that the human suffering could not? For Christ had a physical form, which could not withstand the onslaught of evil hands any better than any other human form, except that Christ could, as the authority given Him did allow, such attempts of harm to be rejected. That was clearly demonstrated earlier in His ministry.

    Rather, by Christ allowing the Father's purpose to be fulfilled by the suffering, believers directly benefit.

    God didn't need the Son to suffer to have the blood applied to the mercy seat, humankind did.

    Did the suffering add to redemption, or in some aspect replace believer suffering?

    I don't see that aspect taught in Scriptures.

    However, as with most areas, I am open for correction and instruction.
     
  5. percho

    percho
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    I considered it to back up the OP.
     
  6. Martin Marprelate

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    Thank you! :)
     
  7. Martin Marprelate

    Martin Marprelate
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    I agree. P.S. is a very important aspect of the cross- I would say the most important - but it is not the only one.

    The Passover Lamb was roasted along with bitter herbs. I think these speak of the suffering of Christ, both during His life and in His death. He was tested in every way, just as we are; He was a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief as many of us are. All this was necessary if He was to be a true substitute. Like us, he lived and suffered on the cursed earth, so that the curse could be lifted (Rev. 22:3). On the cross He bore the punishment due to us and endured the separation from the Father that we deserve that we might live forever in the presence of God..
     
  8. percho

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    Do we have to consider this, when speaking of penal substitution?

    But Jesus answered and said, Ye know not what ye ask. Are ye able to drink of the cup that I shall drink of, and to be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with? They say unto him, We are able. And he saith unto them, Ye shall drink indeed of my cup, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with: but to sit on my right hand, and on my left, is not mine to give, but it shall be given to them for whom it is prepared of my Father. Matt 20:22,23

    And there are many verses speaking of us still having to suffer with him.

    Is that the same? I'm asking without having my mind made up.
     
  9. Martin Marprelate

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    That's a great question. The suffering of God's people are not redemptive as Christ's sufferings were. Look at verse 28: 'The Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and to give His life as a ransom for many.' This did not apply to the suffering of James and John. But there is more suffering for God's people to do (eg. Phil. 1:29) in order for the progress of the Gospel. So all our Lord's disciples (that's you and I) will share to some degree in the sufferings of Christ, not to redeem mankind but to spread the Gospel and hasten His kingdom (2 Peter 3:12).
     
  10. JonC

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    When we speak of penal substitution we are speaking of that wrath being the punishment set aside for our Sin. For us, that debt is paid but for those who die without Christ the debt remains and they await punishment. What is this punishment?
     
  11. agedman

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    Here is a bit of problem with what came AFTER the lamb slaying.
    1) It was not a part of the live lamb but after the death. It is a picture of (the roasting of the lamb) the decent into hades and paradise the Lord took after death.
    2) The eating was done by the living priests - not the whole nations, but exclusive. It is a picture of the "this is my body..." in which the believe priests are to partake, not just in the ordinances, but the "abiding in Him" and "He abiding in us" type statements.
    3) The bitter herbs signify the bitterness of the the walk of the believer in which is NOT part of the lamb but taken with the lamb. As one experiences the ingestion of the lamb it was not without bitterness. Just as even today, one does not experience the in working of Christ without some measure of bitterness.
    The suffering Savior is not to be compared to the shedding of His blood as some measure of forgiveness or payment of transgressions or sin. Rather, as an example of the suffering that every believer will endure and even may desire, as Paul said to partake of in fellowship and follow-ship.

    The other problem with the "curse" thinking being aligned with suffering is just what is the curse?
    Was not the curse of Eden's tree, death?

    Physical suffering is certainly the result of not only sin, but the curse God gave to the things of this earth, but God did not (except in child birth) state any measure of a curse upon the physical other than what the rebuke of sin would by its nature bring.

    If one is to take the Cross at face value, redemption is through and by the blood. Suffering is the example to be lived by the believer.

    Forensic suffering of Christ gained nothing of redemption for the believer, it was not part of the OT sacrifice picture, and not part of the plan of redemption. If it were, then humankind suffering could on some level or measure be a condition of salvation, and not the rebuke that comes by the nature of sin, and that believers would then NOT suffer in this present world, for all suffering would be satisfied upon the Cross just as the blood was satisfactory.
     
  12. percho

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    Was it not through the cup of suffering, the Son learned obedience, therefore being and or becoming, obedient unto death even the death of the cross? Was not this cup of suffering, the wrath of God toward ungodliness which was laid upon the Son for learning obedience which was the belief of the Father of the Son? And the Son did so learn?

    Was it not, because of, this learning and being obedient, that God the Father, exalted and gave the Son a name above all names?

    Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: Phil 2:9

    What is that name? Is it not, "Thou art My Son, this day have I begotten thee"? And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Matt 3:17 I consider a post resurrection statement. Post this baptism. But I have a baptism to be baptized with; and how am I straitened till it be accomplished! Luke 12:50 And declared, the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead: Romans 1:4
     
  13. JonC

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    Let me rephrase. A biblical basis for penal substitution theory is that the wrath pored out by the Father on the Son was our punishment for our Sin. For those being saved the debt was paid on the cross when Jesus took our individual punishments for our Sin as individuals thereby satisfying that debt. For those who will not be saved, they can only look towards that punishment being visited upon them as their sin remains. As this punishment is essential to PST, what exactly is this punishment?
     
  14. agedman

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    Questions for those that argue for "forensic punishment:"
    1) Why do believers continue to suffer in this living?
    2) Where is the Scriptures that suffering was a payment of a debt?
    3) At what point is the forensic suffering of the cross different than that of any other crucified?
    4) Is not the judgment upon the unbeliever based on unbelief, not on the amount, type, or depth of sin?
    5) Does the Scriptures state that God's vengeance and or wrath was "poured out" upon the Son, or is it stored in bowels to be poured out upon this earth?
     
  15. Martin Marprelate

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    I'm sorry I haven't posted today but I'm suffering with eye-strain and can't look at a computer screen for more than a couple of minutes just now. I also have a sermon to give tomorrow.
     
  16. JonC

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    I hope you recover (and are not reading this but resting your eyes).

    Agedman asks some of the questions that I wonder as well.
     
  17. JonC

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    Another question that concerns me and that I'd like to add to the list here is divine forgiveness. PST teaches that in order to meet the demands of divine justice, God had to punish Jesus with our punishments and account that payment to our debt. Only then could God forgive. In that scheme, God demands retribution and upon receiving payment in full he declares the debt forgiven.

    We are told to forgive as God has forgiven us (Col. 3:13; Eph. 4:32, for example). But it seems that we are working off of different definitions of forgiveness. In fact, I am not certain that forgiving a debt only upon receipt of payment in full constitutes forgiveness. Are there examples of this type of forgiveness in the Bible (other than, supposedly, at the cross)?
     
  18. JonC

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    My apologies for not commenting in context of the OP. My questions remain.

    This is an excellent example, IMHO, of atonement. God's wrath on those residing in Egypt is passed over by the blood of a lamb. It points to the Atonement and emphasizes what Peter called the "precious blood of Christ." Christ was sacrificed for us, and those of us "in Christ" do not need to fear the Judgment.
     
  19. Iconoclast

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    Jesus = our Guarantor, our Security that there will be no annulment of the Better covenant. (A description occurring only here).

    Has become (ginomai) is in the perfect tense which speaks of the permanence of His guarantee! Our Lord Jesus does more than mediate the New Covenant. He also guarantees it. He has become surety for it. All of God’s promises in the New Covenant are guaranteed to us by Jesus Himself. He guarantees to pay all the debts that our sins have incurred, or ever will incur, against us. Hallelujah. Amen.

    Spurgeon on guarantee - We are absolutely certain that the covenant of grace will stand because the Redeemer has come into the world and has died for us. The gift of Christ is a pledge that the covenant, of which He is the substance, cannot be dissolved. Christ has been born into the world, God Himself has become incarnate. That is done and can never be undone; how can the Lord draw back after going so far? More, Christ has died: He bears in His flesh today the scars of His crucifixion. That also is done, and can never be undone. The priests of the house of Aaron were poor sureties of the former covenant, for they could not keep it themselves. But Christ has kept the covenant of grace; He has fulfilled all that was conditional in it, and carried out all that was demanded on man’s part. It was conditional that Christ should present a perfect righteousness and a perfect atonement; He has effected this to the full, and now there is no “if” in it. The covenant now reads as a legacy, or a will—the will of God, the New Testament of the Most High. Christ has made it so, and the very fact that there is such a person as Jesus Christ the Son of Man living, bleeding, dying, risen, reigning, is the proof that this covenant stands secure.

    Guarantee (1450) (egguos from eggúe = pledge, bail, security) describes one who gives security, who guarantees the reality of something. It was used of one who guarantees someone else's overdraft at a bank, thus becoming surety that the money will be paid. Someone who goes bail for a prisoner; he guarantees the prisoner will appear at trial. It also refers to a bond, bail, collateral or some kind of guarantee that a promise will be fulfilled. In Greek secular writings egguos referred to in legal and promissory documents as "a guarantor" or "one who stands security." The idea of surety of one person for another was not new. Judah promised surety for Benjamin (Ge 43:9, 44:33); Paul promised to be surety for Onesimus (Philemon 1:18,19)


    from AW PINK
     
  20. Iconoclast

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    William Gouge on Hebrews vol1 pg521
    The office of surety, being applied to Christ sheweth that he hath engaged Himself for us. Earth may sooner be removed than he not perform His engagement;

    He hath undertaken all that can be required of us,or desired by us.
     

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