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Featured In support of Penal Substitutionary Atonement

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by atpollard, May 31, 2023.

  1. atpollard

    atpollard Well-Known Member

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    There are multiple threads discussing alternatives to PSA and many more threads arguing about which theory is "Biblical" or "correct". What I thought might be useful would be a thread that simply sought to celebrate PSA Theory by presenting SCRIPTURE, QUOTES and Personal Thoughts that supported the theory and offered a place for those with honest inquiries to ask for clarification on something that we don't understand.

    [Confession time, I am not a strong PSA advocate, however, I am also not prepared to reject it, either. So this is as much my personal inquiry thrown open for all to share as anything else. It starts from only ONE given assumption: PENAL SUBSTITUTION ATONEMENT THEORY IS TRUE and now the burden falls on us to prove it and support it and celebrate it.]

    First Post, a DEFINITION / EXPLANATION of PSA from "GOT QUESTIONS":

    In the simplest possible terms, the biblical doctrine of penal substitution holds that Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross takes the place of the punishment we ought to suffer for our sins. As a result, God’s justice is satisfied, and those who accept Christ can be forgiven and reconciled to God.

    The word penal means “related to punishment for offenses,” and substitution means “the act of a person taking the place of another.” So, penal substitution is the act of a person taking the punishment for someone else’s offenses. In Christian theology, Jesus Christ is the Substitute, and the punishment He took (at the cross) was ours, based on our sin (1 Peter 2:24).

    According to the doctrine of penal substitution, God’s perfect justice demands some form of atonement for sin. Humanity is depraved, to such an extent that we are spiritually dead and incapable of atoning for sin in any way (Ephesians 2:1). Penal substitution means Jesus’ death on the cross propitiated, or satisfied, God’s requirement for justice. God’s mercy allows Jesus to take the punishment we deserve for our sins. As a result, Jesus’ sacrifice serves as a substitute for anyone who accepts it. In a very direct sense, Jesus is exchanged for us as the recipient of sin’s penalty.

    Penal substitution is clearly taught by the Bible. In fact, much of what God did prior to Jesus’ ministry was to foreshadow this concept and present it as the purpose of the Messiah. In Genesis 3:21, God uses animal skins to cover the naked Adam and Eve. This is the first reference to a death (in this case, an animal’s) being used to cover (atone for) sin. In Exodus 12:13, God’s Spirit “passes over” the homes that are covered (atoned) by the blood of the sacrifice. God requires blood for atonement in Exodus 29:41–42. The description of Messiah in Isaiah 53:4–6 says His suffering is meant to heal our wounds. The fact that the Messiah was to be “crushed for our iniquities” (verse 5) is a direct reference to penal substitution.

    During and after Jesus’ ministry, penal substitution is further clarified. Jesus claims to be the “good shepherd” who lays down His life for the sheep in John 10:10. Paul, in Romans 3:25–26, explains that we have the righteousness of Christ because of the sacrifice of Christ. In 2 Corinthians 5:21, he says that the sinless Christ took on our sins. Hebrews 9:26 says that our sins were removed by the sacrifice of Christ. First Peter 3:18 plainly teaches that the righteous was substituted for the unrighteous.

    There are quite a few different theories about how, exactly, Christ’s sacrifice frees us from the penalty of sin. Penal substitution is the most logically and biblically sound view.​
     
    #1 atpollard, May 31, 2023
    Last edited: May 31, 2023
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  2. atpollard

    atpollard Well-Known Member

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    Ligonier Ministries offers this on Penal Substitution:

    In our consideration of Jesus as our High Priest, we saw that His death is one of the key aspects of His priestly work. Christ’s death, Hebrews 9:11-28 explains, was a sacrifice offered “to put away sin.” We cannot understand the work of Christ unless we understand what happened in our Lord’s crucifixion.

    As we consider the issue of our Lord’s atonement, let us note that Scripture describes what the crucifixion accomplished in a variety of ways. For example, the death of Jesus is described as the ransom paid to God to free us from our bondage to sin and also as the defeat of Satan (Mark 10:45; Col. 2:13-15). Christ even describes His death as the supreme illustration of His love for His friends (John 15:13). However, while we should not forget how the atonement is these things, we must emphasize that the chief reality of the atonement is that it was a penal substitution.

    In penal substitution, the penalty that is due to us for our transgression is paid by a substitute, namely, Jesus Christ. The principle of penal substitution undergirds the old covenant sacrificial system. God told Adam that the penalty for sin was death (Gen. 2:16-17). In the old covenant sacrifices, the people placed their hands on the sacrificial animals, thereby identifying with them, and then the animals were put to death (see Lev. 4). This depicted the transfer of sin and guilt from the sinner to the substitute. The sinner could live because the animal died in the sinner’s place, bearing the punishment the sinner deserved.

    But since “it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins” (Heb. 10:4), the animal sacrifices of the old covenant did not effect true atonement. They were types and shadows that pointed to the only true atoning sacrifice, which was offered once for all on Calvary by our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (Heb. 10:5-18). This final and only effective act of penal substitution was foreshadowed by the entire old covenant sacrificial system and explicitly predicted in Isaiah 53. The prophet tells us that God laid on the Suffering Servant (Christ) our iniquity (Isa 53:6)—our sin was transferred to Him in the atonement. He was pierced and crushed for our iniquities, “cut off out of the land of the living . . . for the transgression of my people” (Isa 53:4-5, Isa 53:8). In other words, Christ endured the punishment His people deserve in their place. If we trust in Him alone for salvation, we need not fear eternal death, for Jesus bore our sin on the cross so that we will not receive everlasting judgment (Isa 53:10; John 3:16).​
     
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  3. DaveXR650

    DaveXR650 Well-Known Member

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    In these other threads I kept looking around for a good definition of penal substitution and was having a hard time finding one that was brief yet had aspects of the actual substitution and transfer and also tied it to Christ's priestly work and the connection to the Old Testament types. This is about the best I have seen so far. Thanks for putting that up, @atpollard .
     
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  4. 37818

    37818 Well-Known Member

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    Only two passages.
    Matthew 20:28, ". . . Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many. . . ."
    And, Mark 10:45, ". . . For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many. . . ."

    . . . αντι . . . anti, in exchang, instead of.
     
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  5. JonC

    JonC Moderator
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    It gets difficult to find a good definition. @Martin Marprelate provided a reasonable definition some time back.

    But it gets difficult also because some definitions are so broad they cover all Christian belief.

    For example - Some have defined the Penal Substitution Theory of Atonement as Jesus sufferer the penalty due our sins.

    We all agree with that, but when people start pointing out what they do not believe all of a sudden they don't fall under the Theory.

    And there is the issue if definitions.

    Substitution Theory holds that Christ died for our sin and experienced a punishment. BUT substitution in the form of dying FOR us, not INSTEAD OF us. And punishment as "satisfactory punishment" rather than "simple punishment" (Aquinas write extensively on this point).


    Ultimately the Penal Substitution Theory of Atonement is one of several theories because it is not actually stated in Scripture. It is a relatively new theory.
     
  6. JonC

    JonC Moderator
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    You left our "for the sake of" and "in return for".
     
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  7. 37818

    37818 Well-Known Member

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    Thank you.

    "Thayer Definition:

    1. over against, opposite to, before
    2. for, instead of, in place of (something)
      1. instead of
      2. for
      3. for that, because
      4. wherefore, for this cause"
     
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  8. Martin Marprelate

    Martin Marprelate Well-Known Member
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    Dr. D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, in his great series of sermons on Romans (lasting, I believe, 11 years), gave two sermons on Romans 3:25. In the first, he gave an explanation of the word 'propitiation.' He defined the verse thus:

    "This is a statement to the effect that God's wrath has been appeased and that God has been placated as the result of the work which our Lord did there by dying upon the cross.'

    The following week he set out to answer the question, in what sense is the Lord Jesus Christ the propitiatory sacrifice? He examined several NT texts and then argued that the OT sacrificial system provides the crucial background, noting, as I have done repeatedly, that 1 Peter 2:24 refers back to Isaiah 53:4-6, and summarized as follows:

    "That means that not only have the sins been laid upon Him, but that the wrath of God has been poured out upon Him. The punishment that should have come to you and to me on account of our sinfulness and our sins came to Him."

    You can listen to the sermons in question at Free Sermon | Book of Romans | Chapter 1 | Page 1 of 2
    or buy the books from Banner of Truth.
     
    #8 Martin Marprelate, May 31, 2023
    Last edited: May 31, 2023
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  9. Van

    Van Well-Known Member
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    Before we assume PSA is true, lets back up and consider the basis of the theory.

    From the OP, here is the definition provided:
    In the simplest possible terms, the biblical doctrine of penal substitution holds that Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross takes the place of the punishment we ought to suffer for our sins. As a result, God’s justice is satisfied, and those who accept Christ can be forgiven and reconciled to God.​

    The first claim is that Jesus' sacrifice on the cross "takes the place" of the punishment others ought to suffer. So rather than providing the means of reconciliation from our sinful state of unholiness, Jesus's sacrifice actually removed the punishment due to some people. However, in the next sentence, reconciliation is placed in the future, as occurring not when He sacrificed. But then, two paragraphs later, once again Christ's sacrifice is said to have "propitiated" (past tense) God.

    If God was propitiated, then those whose sin burden has been paid, were reconciled the instant God accepted His sacrifice, thus everyone to be reconciled, has already been reconciled. Clearly, that is false doctrine because we have the ministry of reconciliation, where we present the future opportunity of salvation.
     
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  10. JonC

    JonC Moderator
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    It does need discussing (and that definition is Satisfaction Theory...the Penal Substitution Theory of Atonement considers Christ to have been punished instead of us and by God....the OP is incorrect).
     
  11. JonC

    JonC Moderator
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    The above is called Satisfaction or Substitution Theory (not the Penal Substitution Theory of Atonement).

    The difference is the Substitution Theory insists that Christ did not suffer punishment for sin and did not suffer in our place (instead of us).

    Penal Substitution Theory is not called "Penal" because of punishment but because of the type of substitution and punishment (penal substitution and simple punishment as opposed to ontological substitution and satisfactory punishment).

    Substitution Theory also believed that Christ was punished, but punished for rather than instead of us. And the punishment was not for sin but a satisfactory punishment in behalf of human beings.


    The Penal Substitution Theory of Atonement was a reworking of Substitution Theory, so they are similar but their differences set them miles apart.


    The Penal Substitution Theory of Atonement states that God gave himself in the person of his Son to suffer instead of us the death, punishment and curse due to fallen humanity as the penalty for sin.
     
  12. Martin Marprelate

    Martin Marprelate Well-Known Member
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    Well here you are again for about the twentieth time.
    The doctrine of penal substitution states that God gave Himself in the person of His Son to suffer instead of us the death, punishment and curse due to fallen humanity as the penalty for sin.

    The definition is not my own. It comes from the book Pierced for our Transgressions by Jeffery, Ovey and Sach (IVP, 2007. ISBN 978-1-84474-178-4). The names may not be familiar to those from the USA. Mike Ovey, before his death 2 or 3 years ago, was Principal of Oak Hill Theological College in the UK and Steve Jeffery and Andrew Sach were two of his PhD students, Both are now in Christian ministry and Andrew Sach is increasingly in demand as a conference speaker.

    The book itself is highly recommended (foreword by John Piper) and is the most complete work on Penal Substitution to have been published for many years.
     
  13. Martin Marprelate

    Martin Marprelate Well-Known Member
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    One of the errors that opponents of the doctrine of Penal Substitution make is to assume that the Greek preposition huper must always mean 'on behalf of' rather than 'in the place of' or 'instead of.'
    Of course this does not stand up, even in English.
    If I write a letter for you or on your behalf, I write it; you don't. I write it instead of you.
    If I pay a debt for you or on your behalf, I pay it; you don't. I pay it instead of you.
    If I die for you or on your behalf, I die, you don't. I die instead of you or in your place..
    And so on.

    In the NT there is a very good example of huper meaning 'instead of' or 'in the place of.'
    John 11:49-50. 'And one of them, Caiaphas being high priest that year, sdaid to them, "You know nothing at all, nor do you consider that it is expedient for us that one man should die for [Gk. huper] the people and not that the whole nation should perish.'

    In Caiaphas' mind, Christ dies for the people. He dies, they don't. He dies instead of them or in their place.
     
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  14. Piper

    Piper Active Member
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    Anyone with 2 years of Greek study will agree. Words always have a range of meanings, and need to be interpreted in context.
     
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  15. JonC

    JonC Moderator
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    A mistake people often make is thinking a Greek word must always mean (fill in the blank).

    I am not arguing that the word can never mean "instead of". Even if we take it to mean the normal definition of "on one's behalf" it could still carry the meaning of "instead of".

    Christianity, for the first millennia and a half took the position that Christ died for us (not instead of us). But you are correct that the language could also mean "in our place".
     
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  16. JonC

    JonC Moderator
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    I agree. I'm not sure why @Martin Marprelate brought it up (I was speaking of how the word was interpreted differently between Substitution Theory and Penal Substitution Theory).

    But even in English words can have different meanings. I expect most people realize this.
     
  17. JonC

    JonC Moderator
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    I like the definition.

    The book, on the other hand, is another story. Several scholars have criticized it for extracting comments out of context. But to be fair and as even a TGC article points out, the book is superficial when it comes to history and intended as a popular (rather than scholarly) book. It is written to strengthen the resolve of those who already hold the Theory and perhaps to slow the transition of reformed theology away from it.
     
  18. Martin Marprelate

    Martin Marprelate Well-Known Member
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    :Rolleyes Clearly you have never read it. It was not intended to be an academic book, but at 336 pages it is hardly superficial. Here are some endorsements to be found at the beginning of the book. I will give only U.S. ones rather than British. Note how often the word 'comprehensive' is mentioned.

    1. The treatment of the biblical material is in itself worth the price of the book. A model of biblical theological exposition. They expound the weightiest texts so concisely and so clearly - as they argue for the rugged truth about the rugged cross.
    Dale Ralph Davies

    2. The Bible historically has been understood to teach explicitly and implicitly that Christ died as a penal substitute for sinners. That's what this excellent volume teaches us too. Carefully studying the primary biblical texts and then answering numerous objections, this book explains and defends the understanding that Christ died in our place, taking our penalty for us. From the biblical material to patristic quotations, from pastoral implications to present objections, this book is a responsible and comprehensive introduction. All the authors' careful work promises to make this book the new standard text on Christ's atoning work. Now I can't wait to read it again, devotionally.
    Mark Dever

    3. Agreement on the nature of the atonement has long been a defining feature of classical Christianity. Today, however, all is in crisis. For some time the writings of a number of scholars reared in evangelicalism have eroded, even denied, that the heart of the Gospel is to be found in Christ's penal, substitutionary death. and his glorious resurrection. But now - inevitably - this view has begun to appear in books written by popular authors who are viewed as contemporary, cutting=edge leaders.
    Sadly, nuch that is said and written unwittingly repeats what was long ago rejected as unorthodox. In the past, those views irrevocably led - within a generation - to a rejection of evangelical faith; unchecked, they will inevitably do so again. The stakes could scarcely be higher - the very nature of the Gospel itself. Pierced for our Transgressions is a courageous , timely comprehensive and welcome study. It is biblically sensitive and pastorally astute, with the added strength of being aware of where similar false steps in the past eventually led. Here is a sure-footed guide to the message of the cross - and therefore to Christ Himself, and ultimately to God the Trinity. It deserves widespread and careful reading.
    Sinclair Ferguson (at that time a Pastor in South Carolina)

    4. This is certainly one of the most comprehensive treatments available of the doctrine of penal substitutionary atonement. It presents exegesis, historical theology and responses to contemporary debate, al in one volume. In all these areas, the book is excellent, both in its exposition and its argument. It presents a cogent defence of the biblical and historic church doctrine, and in my view it devastates the criticisms of this position. The writing is clear and understandable to non-specialists, but its authors fully understand the technical issues, so that the book makes a real contribution to the academic discussion as well. I am delighted to see the book appear, and hope that it gets a very wide readership.
    John Frame

    5. The doctrine of the penal substitutionary atonement of Jesus Christ can be abandoned only by eviscerating the soteriological heart of historic Christianity. This teaching has deep roots in both the Catholic and Protestant theological traditions and deserves to be taken seriously in the church's proclamation of the doctrine of reconciliation today. This is an important scholarly contribution to a current doctrinal debate with enormous spiritual; and pastoral implications.
    Timothy George

    6. A well-thumbed copy of Pierced for our Transgressions ought to rest upon the bookshelf of every thoughtful Christian. This even-handed, masterful defence of PSA is clear and convincing. Readers will quickly grasp the theology and the urgency of the issues, and will be especially grateful for the classic objection-response format of Part Two, which makes for easy reference. A crucial read.
    R. Kent Hughes

    7. Pierced for our Transgressions is a treasure trove of information and analysis on the important, yet disputed doctrine of penal substitution As a biblical scholar, I enthusiastically commend the authors for their careful exegesis of the biblical text. From this point on, critics of the biblical teaching must interact with the arguments of this book. Further, every Christian, whether aware of the debate or not, can greatly benefit from this comprehensive and penetrating treatment of this crucial doctrine.
    Trumper Longman III.

    Several more to come. :)
     
  19. DaveXR650

    DaveXR650 Well-Known Member

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    I don't mind Jon bringing up a subject like this because if I get interested it causes me to dig a little for information in order to be somewhat informed. But in this area, because I don't have any Greek, when I get to the level of papers done by what look like seminary level folks I am quickly in over my head and frankly, find this subject a little disconcerting.
    Martin just put this up and I'll get a copy of that book because it keeps coming up in my looking around the web.
    I have been reading B.B Warfield on this and find it helpful because he sheds some light on the current (for him at the time) things that were going on. I did not realize that this has become an issue nowadays. I guess I'm a little sheltered but I had always sort of assumed that looking at Christ's shed blood as the means for our salvation was a given in orthodox Christian minds.
     
  20. JonC

    JonC Moderator
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    ??? You know that I read it. You and I did used the book a few years ago.

    The issue I have is the authors viewed earlier Christians who said that Christ died for our sins, took upon Himself our curse and the like as proof they held Penal Substitution yet made the decision not to include their teachings (FROM THE SAME TEXT) that contradicted Penal Substitution Theory (like Satan imitating the "Ransom", redemption being through solidarity as Christ shared in humanity and humanity shared in Christ (His divinity), Christ dying for the human race to unify man (lost and saved) in a new type of humanity, Christ's death being a repetition of what all men will suffer because of sin, and so on.

    It was, because of that, a very dishonest book.

    It was like your claim that Gregory believed the Penal Substitution Theory by ignoring the context Gregory provided:


    "When the enemy (Satan) saw the power, he recognized Christ as a bargain which offered him more than he had. For this reason he (Satan) chose him (Christ) as the random for those he (Satan) had shut up in death's prison."


    That you believe Gregory's position is Penal Substitution highlights the problem.

    We are stewards of history. Those men cannot speak to us except through what they have already written. It is not for us to remove sections of their words and place in our own context. That is not only dishonest towards history it is also dangerous as it replaces history with mythology.



    That said, let's look again at Gregory's statement and you tell us exactly how he held Penal Substitution Theory:

    "When the enemy saw the power, he recognized Christ as a bargain which offered him more than he had. For this reason he chose him as the random for those he (Satan) had shut up in death's prison."
     
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