Is the Cross a Legal Fiction? No, Because the Resurrection Changes Us

Many people criticize Penal Subsitutionary Atonement on the basis that it makes justification into a legal fiction. I suppose such a criticism might be valid if a simplistic explanation of PSA was all that happened because of the cross. We have already seen that is not the case. But, more than that we must not think that nothing actually happens to us at conversion. No, we are united with Christ and a real change happens to us — we are born again. This rebirth is explictly linked to the … [Read more...]

Seven New Warnie Awards

The Warnie Awards started as a bit of fun, but I understand that for some they are a sought-after piece of blogging recognition. Today, I will award several more blogs a Warnie. As a result their headlines appear in a box in my side bar so there are even more reasons for you to come back here – even it if is just to keep track of what other Christian bloggers are saying. If it has been a while since you visited, you may want to click "Read More" to see more than just the last 10 posts. I … [Read more...]

The Atonement – Is Penal Substitution the Only Thing That Happened at the Cross?

UPDATE - Andrew Cottingham has posted on how critical this all is to himThe answer to the question "Are you saying that Penal Substitution is the only thing that happened at the cross?" is a definite no. Whilst the concepts of sin, guilt, and punishment are indeed fundamental to what happened at the cross, the full picture of the atonement is much richer than that. Sadly in the current debate, some have aggressively denied that Penal Substitution (PSA) has any place at all. As a result those of … [Read more...]

Christianity Magazine Reviews Pierced For Our Transgressions

UPDATEIn this article I speak of a perception I am beginning to get that those with more traditional understandings are not entirely welcome within the UK evangelical movement. I had hoped that this was just a false impression. Since writing this article, I came across a piece from Carl Trueman that alleges that some UK ministers feel they are being leaned on quite strongly regarding the issue of the atonement. It's important for me to stress that this article is not meant as a criticism of the … [Read more...]

The Atonement – Is Jesus the Good Cop?

I think all too often we have portrayed the God of the Old Testament as a God of anger and Jesus as the “good cop” to God’s “bad cop.” The reality is far from that.As we have already said, God is IN CHRIST reconciling the world, but also Jesus is seen as a God of wrath. It is Jesus who will judge the world. We must understand that the very same God who is full of wrath has graciously provided for us a refuge from that wrath in Himself.I love the way this is stated in Psalm 2 in the … [Read more...]

The Atonement – What Does Imputation Mean?

I am going to use the next few posts to answer some specific questions about the cross. Believe it or not, it will not be very long before I finish this series, so if you have a question, do ask it and if it is not already one I plan to address, I will endeavor to answer it.Today’s question relates to the meaning of “imputation.” I can’t think of a better way to answer this than to allow Wayne Grudem to do so:“God imputed our sins to Christ; that is, he thought of them as belonging … [Read more...]

The Atonement – What Did Jesus Die From?

Make no mistake, crucifixion is a horrific thing. This is how one writer describes it:“Adequate exhalation required lifting the body by pushing up on the feet and by flexing the elbows … However, this manoeuvre would place the entire weight of the body on the tarsals and would produce searing pain. Furthermore, flexion of the elbows would cause rotation of the wrists about the iron nails and cause fiery pain along the damaged median nerves … Muscle cramps and paresthesias of the … [Read more...]

The Atonement – 2 Corinthians 5

The following passage from Paul is possibly the clearest description of penal substitutionary atonement in the New Testament. I particularly like the way it shows how this idea of the cross relates to a broader picture. We see here that Christ died FOR us. We see that as a result of His death and resurrection, something happened TO us. We see that this change is something GOD does to us — some in the comments section seem to think that God counts us as righteous after we have repented, but … [Read more...]

Atonement – Jesus Thought He Was Fulfilling Isaiah 53

There has been a certain amount of reaction to yesterday's post on the atonement. Clearly there are two issues here -1. Do we accept that Isaiah 53 teaches us about Jesus' death or is the suffering servant somebody else?2. If we accept that Isaiah 53 is about Jesus, does it teach Penal Substitution?The answer to the first question is very straightforward if you believe the bible is without error and Jesus can be trusted. For he himself tells us who the prophet is speaking of -Luke 22:37 For I … [Read more...]

The Atonement – Isaiah 53

If there is one passage in the whole of Scripture that contains the doctrine of penal substitution in its most clear form, it is Isaiah 53. Here, truly, we stand on holy ground! Those who criticize the traditional view of the atonement must become contortionists to escape the implications of this passage. Some claim this is not referring to Jesus at all, and yet Jesus Himself and many of the New Testament writers clearly apply this passage to Him. For example, this is the passage which the … [Read more...]


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