Personal Journal

The Governmental Theory of Atonement

The Atonement of Christ is perhaps the most important doctrine of the Bible. It is because of the atonement that we can be forgiven and saved. This being the case, the atonement is something very important to understand.

The word ‘atonement’ can be understood by breaking up the word into three words: at-one-ment. In other words, the atonement is what made it possible for God and man to be brought together as one. 

The Bible teaches that forgiveness of sins comes only by the shedding of blood. Jesus’ blood was shed for the sins of the world. And now, because of this great sacrifice, ‘whosoever calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’ This is easy to understand. However, what’s not so easy to understand is the ‘why’ and the ‘how.’ Why did Christ have to die for forgiveness to be possible? and how does His death make forgiveness possible? The answer to these questions are sought in atonement theories. And, believe or not, there are several. Most Christians don’t know this. They (like me not too long ago) are only familiar with one atonement theory. This most prevalent theory is called Penal Substitution.

Penal Substitution

Though there are several theories on the atonement (at least eight), Penal Substitution is by far the most popular. It is taught, or alluded to, in most churches today. You are probably very familiar with its general gist, which goes like this: We have sinned and deserve judgment. Jesus paid for our sins by willingly offering Himself up on the cross to be judged in our place. And now, because Jesus took our judgment, we can be saved by grace through faith.

This theory of atonement is also referred to as a Satisfaction theory of atonement. It is referred to as such because the underlying principal is that Jesus satisfied the wrath of God. This idea is popularized in various songs, such as this one: “Til on that cross, where Jesus died, the wrath of God was satisfied, for ev’ry sin on him was laid—here in the death of Christ I live.”

This theory of the atonement is simple enough to understand on a basic level, but problems emerge when one begins to think a bit deeper. I’m going to address some of those problems and then explain what I believe to be the true doctrine of the atonement. (I’m not going to address the other theories in this blog. Perhaps another day.)

Problems with Penal Substitution

First of all, I’d like to point out something very important. In no place does the Bible state that Jesus paid for our sins or that Jesus suffered the wrath of God. I was surprised when I first realized this. Throughout my Christian life I’ve heard people say ‘Jesus paid for our sins on the cross’ so often that I assumed that it must be clearly taught in the Bible, but it’s not. I’ve written about this more in another place. You can read about that HERE (but read this blog first).

Of course, some would argue that Penal Substitution is taught in concept. There are verses that its adherents cite as proof texts. I don’t believe that they are proof texts, but I’ll address those later. Instead, I first want to address what I see as philosophical problems with Penal Substitution.

Here are some problems I see with Penal Substitution. I will list them first and then explain each:

  1. There is no real forgiveness in Penal Substitution.
  2. There is no mercy from the Father in Penal Substitution.
  3. Penal Substitution logically ends with limited atonement or universalism.
  4. Sin or guilt cannot truly be transferred.

Those who hold to Penal Substitution will disagree with these points on all accounts, but I believe that these points are logically sound. I explain here:

1 – There is no real forgiveness in Penal Substitution.

The fundamental idea underpinning Penal Substitution is that sin must be punished. I don’t think this is biblical, but let’s assume that it’s true. Because sin must be punished, those who hold to this view maintain that all of our sin was punished in Jesus. But if this is the case, what logical place is there for forgiveness? No sin is forgiven under this theory; it is always punished. Either in sinners or in Jesus. This wouldn’t be a problem except that the Bible constantly affirms that forgiveness of sins is exactly what is provided for through the atonement. 

In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace; – Ephesians 1:7

The word ‘forgive’ (also ‘remit’) throughout the New Testament never refers to debt that has been paid, but a debt that has been cancelled or forgiven (see Mat 18, for example). If Jesus paid the debt it doesn’t make sense to use the words ‘forgive’ and ‘remit.’ It doesn’t make sense that the New Testament authors would make this logical error. And, of course, they don’t.

A debt that is paid is not a debt that is forgiven, no matter who pays the debt.

2 – There is no mercy from God the Father in Penal Substitution

The Bible constantly affirms the great love, mercy, and grace of God the Father–even in the Old Testament! Under Penal Substitution, however, God the Father is portrayed as one who will extend no mercy whatsoever. For Him, every sin must be punished—either in Jesus or in the sinner. In what way is the Father merciful in Penal Substitution? He shows no mercy for sin. But throughout the Old Testament we see that God is very merciful, extending mercy to cities like Nineveh and greatly desiring to extend mercy to His own people.

If Penal Substitution were true, those who are justified would be so by justice, not grace. If our sin was truly transferred to and punished in Jesus then it would be unjust for God to punish us. There is no mercy or forgiveness here. However, under the true theory of the atonement, God’s grace is greatly magnified

3 – Penal Substitution logically ends with limited atonement or universalism.

What I mean by this is that, in Penal Substitution, it must be that Jesus died only for a chosen limited or else all mankind is ultimately saved. Calvinists will not argue with this. They understand that if Jesus died for all then all would be ultimately saved. This is why Limited Atonement is a core Calvinistic doctrine. However, many Christians maintain that the atonement is universal in extent (i.e. Jesus died for all) but effectual for only those that believe (i.e. only those who believed will be saved). This is the teaching of the Bible, of course, but it doesn’t make sense under Penal Substitution. If Jesus paid for the sins of the whole world, if He suffered the judgment due every man, woman, girl, and boy, how can God justly punish anyone afterwards? Did Jesus truly take the judgment of God for everyone or did He not? Was our sin imputed to Him or not? The Calvinists recognize this logic and therefore do not accept that Christ was punished for everyone, but only for the elect.

The Universalist take this to the other logical end. For them, since Christ was judged for all, all will eventually be saved. These two extremes make logical sense under Penal Substitution. But how can it be logical that Jesus paid for everyone’s sins yet some will still pay for them eternally in Hell? Under Penal Substitution, it doesn’t make sense. The true theory of the atonement answers all this perfectly.

4 – Sin or guilt cannot be transferred

The transfer of sin or guilt to Christ is essential to the doctrine of Penal Substitution: ‘He who knew no sin became sin for us that we might be made the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus.’ This scripture is often quoted as a proof text for Penal Substitution. But what does this mean? Does it mean that Jesus became a sinner? Does it mean he was counted a sinner? Does it mean that our sin was somehow put in/on Him? Or (as I hear some people say) that He ‘literally’ became sin? (whatever that means). The correct interpretation of this verse makes perfect sense under the true theory of the atonement (which I will address later).

The question is, can sin really be transferred? Can sin be imputed? Can one person be held liable for the sin of another? In criminal law, this is unthinkable. Would any earthly judge think it reasonable to accept a substitute to be punished for a criminal? If a man commits murder, is there any legal system in the world that would allow an innocent person to be punished in his place? No. If the penalty is a fine, then another can pay it, but for serious criminal offenses, a fine is never suitable. God considers our sin such a serious offense that it is punished with eternal hell. Certainly this can’t be equated to a minor crime that can be paid off with a fine. The punishment for our sin is death–our death. No earthly judge would think of allowing an innocent person to die in the place of a man on death row. Death row inmates are never released upon the ground of another person taking the penalty. They are released from time to time, however, by pardon (albeit, rarely, and for good reason). If substitutionary penalty is God’s method, why does He not leave us with some examples of this in the God-ordained governments of man? We do see pardons, however, and it is in this vein that we can better understand the atonement. 

Patterns in the Old Testament

The Atonement is foreshadowed through the various sacrifices and ordinances of the Mosaic law. One would be hard pressed to find the idea that the animals sacrificed in the Old Testament were punished in the place of the sinner. The Bible never teaches this nor implies this. Instead, an offering is given and the Bible states that the offerer is ‘forgiven.’

Example:

It is a sin offering. The priest shall make atonement for him, for his sin that he has committed in any of these matters; and it shall be forgiven him. – Lev 5:12-13

The man sins, atonement was made, and the man was forgiven. I want to make a very important distinction here: the animal was offered as a substitute for punishment, not actual punishment. The animal suffered and died as a substitute for the man’s punishment. Once again, it’s not substituted punishment, but a substitution for punishment. This is very important. 

Consider the Day of Atonement. On this day, two goats were brought before the Lord to make ‘atonement.’ One was offered to the Lord as a sin offering (Lev 16:9). Over the other, Aaron confessed the iniquity and transgressions of the people. This goat was sent out into the wilderness (Lev 16:20-22).

Many people have offered their various interpretations of what these things mean. I have my own, but I’m not willing to share it here. However, what I do want to point out is that if Penal Substitution is meant to be foreshadowed here, then it is not a very good foreshadowing. It was the second goat that bore the iniquities. Why wasn’t that goat killed if Penal Substitution were true? Some extra-biblical records say that is was killed, but what does that matter? The Bible does not say it. Instead of using extra-biblical sources to prop up doctrine we should conclude that the general idea here is clear: another suffered in our place as a substitute for punishment so that our sins could be carried far away, never to be seen again. These goats typify Christ–two goats representing two aspects of Christ’s atonement.

And let us not forget the Passover. Christ is specifically called ‘our passover’ in 1 Corinthians 5:7. In this great type there is absolutely no indication that the lamb was punished in the place of the first born. But it’s clear that the lamb was offered as a substitution–a sacrifice (See Exodus 12). The death of the sacrifice was offered in the place of the first born. All these sacrifices, without the penal element, are typical of Christ. He was like them, or more properly, they were like Him.

The Governmental View of Atonement

The theory of the Atonement that I am persuaded to be true is called the Governmental Theory. This theory of atonement was held by many great men of God of days gone by, including Charles Finney, Albert Barnes, William Booth (of the Salvation Army), Jonathan Edwards Jr., and more. It was prominent among the great Methodists of the 19th century, who blazed the light of the gospel all across this great country.

The Governmental view is similar to Penal Substitution but parts from it on key, important details. In both views, the sacrifice of Christ is essential to salvation. In both views, Christ is offered as a substitute. In both views, salvation comes by grace alone, through faith. In fact, for many Christians, learning about the Governmental view of atonement will have no great effect on their Christian lives. It wouldn’t be worth exploring this topic so deeply except that in recent times there have crept into the church teachings that are erroneous and dangerous. These unbiblical teachings spring forth from a logical deductions grounded in Penal Substitution. I’ll bring these up later.

The key distinction in the Governmental theory of the Atonement, as I’ve mentioned already, is that Christ died as a substitute for punishment. This is to be held in contrast with substituted punishment. Christ wasn’t punished by God, but offered Himself up as a sacrifice that would meet the same end (or better) that punishment ultimately is designed to meet. In this way He was our substitution. 

To put this doctrine in the simplest terms, Christ offered His life on the Cross as a sacrifice for our sin, as a substitute for punishment, that God might be righteous in forgiving sin.

To understand this properly, one must think of God as a Ruler. God is not just the Creator, but also the King of all the universe. As a benevolent King, He desires well-being and ultimate happiness for all of His creation. As a wise Ruler, God instituted His law to promote this end. This law is often called the moral law. Jesus sums up this law in two commands: Love God and your neighbor. Obedience to this law would result in universal happiness and well-being to all of God’s creation. Disobedience to this law results in universal misery. The greater the conformity to God’s law, the greater the well-being of His creatures. God’s ultimate goal is to secure for Himself a people who will enjoy the happiness that this law of love produces for all of eternity. 

Moral law is promulgated, not by force, but by moral influence. God uses His Word, His Spirit, His promises, His threatenings, His prophets and apostles, the revelation of nature, and the human conscience to persuade men to follow His law. God has revealed to us that those who obey His law will be rewarded (i.e. inherit eternal life) and those who disobey will be punished (i.e. eternal hell). This is explicitly taught throughout the scriptures (e.g. Romans 2:7). All law has punishment installed for law-breakers. Without penalty, law is not law, but advice or suggestion. Penalty is what makes law law.

It is vitally important for the strength of the law, for the respectability of the ruler, and to uphold and promote the great ideals of the law, to clearly communicate the great evils of breaking that law, and to eliminate any hope that would-be law-breakers could have impunity in breaking the law, that punishment be executed upon law-breakers. Rulers throughout history have understood this, and none better then those in Medo-Persia, who restricted themselves to laws that ‘could not be altered’ (Daniel 6:8). This gave great strength and authority to the law. No one in Medo-Persia could doubt that this law meant business. And when the king, who had all power and authority, was fooled in to making a law against Daniel, even he could not find a way around it. 

This is a good picture of God and His government. God’s laws are great and powerful and good, and great punishment is ascribed to those who break it. And like the king loved Daniel, God loves the world. Yet, without an atonement, His hands are tied. It would be unrighteous for Him to forgive sinners rather than punish them. His law would fall apart and lose its strength. In other words, it wouldn’t be right for Him to forgive. The right thing to do, the thing that would best promote the well-being of all creatures under his rule (both in heaven and on earth), the thing that would best secure a kingdom of righteousness in the world to come, would be to carry out the punishment of the law. Unless, of course, there is an atonement.

Paul addresses this very issue in Romans 3:25-26.

whom (Jesus) God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus. – Romans 3:25-26

This verse speaks of God ‘demonstrating’ (or ‘declaring’) His righteousness in forgiving sin and in justifying those who have faith in Jesus. In other words, without the atonement, God could not be justified in releasing sinners from the punishment of the law. It would be unrighteous for Him to do so. The sufferings and death of Christ provided an equivalent to the purpose of punishment. This equivalent accomplished at least the same ultimate governmental goal that punishment would accomplish in the sinner. In this way, God could be righteous and forgive those whom He wills, when He wills, while still retaining important the governmental principles that punishment usually provides.

This is the key distinction in the Governmental view of the Atonement. Christ’s sacrifice accomplished in God’s government what a sinner’s punishment would have accomplished. It is an equivalent and a replacement for punishment in the sense that it can meet the same ultimate purpose of punishment. 

Think again of Daniel. Daniel ‘sinned’ against the government of Medo-Persia. The king wanted to forgive him just as God wants to forgive truly repentant sinners. But to uphold the law, the king was forced to send Daniel to the lions’ den. However, if there was a way the king could have forgiven Daniel and upheld his law at the same time, he most certainly would have done it. God has a way to do it. It is called the Atonement of Christ.

The atonement of Christ does an even greater job of exalting the law and Law-Giver then simply executing the penalty of the law upon sinners. It not only satisfies justice, but also satisfies God’s greater desire for mercy.

All this is accomplished without the need for Christ to suffer the wrath of God or pay the debt of our sin. Christ’s sufferings were exactly what the Bible says they were: a demonstration of the righteousness of God. To say that Christ suffered the wrath of God is to add to scripture. 

How the Atonement substitutes punishment

In government, penalty for law-breakers serves an important purpose. Law-breakers deserve punishment because they have broken the law, but in the rulers mind, their punishment is necessary for a purpose greater than personal vengeance. In fact, the ruler has no obligation to punish the law-breaker on a personal level, nor may He want to. Darius had no desire to punish Daniel, but as a king, he had an obligation to uphold his law. On a public level, a ruler has an obligation to carry out the penalty of the law for the greater good of his subjects. This is why God commanded harsh punishments under the Mosaic law. Law-breakers were to be shown no pity (e.g., Deut 19:21, 25:12). The Lord revealed the purpose of these harsh punishments: “And those who remain shall hear and fear, and hereafter they shall not again commit such evil among you” (Deut 19:20). As much as a ruler may want to forgive an offender, doing so would endanger the law, his rule, and the well-being of the community.

Other examples of this in the Bible would be God’s punishment upon David for his sin and the punishment of the seven sons of Saul.

David was forgiven his sin. He should have been put to death. Adultery and murder were to be punished by death. However, upon David’s repentance the prophet said, “the Lord has put away your sin; you shall not die.” This shows us that God is under no obligation to punish sin in a personal sense. He is the One who is sinned against and it is His prerogative to forgive or not forgive. But notice what the Lord says next: “However, because by this deed you have given great occasion to the enemies of the Lord to blaspheme, the child also who is born to you shall surely die” (2 Samuel 12:14). We see here that God felt that it was of great importance to send a message to the world that this sin was utterly abhorrent to Him and that this sin was not being swept under the rug. This is a perfect picture of the Atonement.

Think also of the seven sons of Saul. In 2 Samuel 21 we see that a famine was upon Israel. When David inquired of the Lord about it, He said, “It is because of Saul and his bloodthirsty house, because he killed the Gibeonites.” Saul had broken covenant with the Gibeonites (See Joshua 9) and the Lord wanted to be sure that the world knew that this was not ok. Look at what David asks the Gibeonites:

Therefore David said to the Gibeonites, “What shall I do for you? And with what shall I make atonement, that you may bless the inheritance of the LORD?” 2 Samuel 21:3

Here David rightly uses the word ‘atonement.’ What can be done to cover this sin? The key message that the Lord wanted to send was that this thing that Saul did was evil and ought not to be done. By having seven of Saul’s descendants hang, the message was clearly sent. When that was done, the famine ceased.

In regards to the harsh passages of the Old Testament, and the punishments ascribed for those who broke the law, we ought not think, “God’s not like that anymore.” No, God does not change. He’s the same God then as He is now. He’s the same God that loves and cares with a tender heart. He’s the same God that is lavish in grace and slow to anger. These harsh measures are not out of a heart of anger, but out of heart that cares for the well-being of all. Harsh penalty is not prescribed out of hatred for the law-breaker, but out of love for the entire community.

The execution of the law upon law-breakers accomplishes an important governmental duty. Whatever can also accomplish those duties, and at the same time allow for the pardon of repentant law-breakers, can be a suitable atonement for sin. This is what Christ accomplished.

Listed below is what punishment is designed to accomplish in government, and what also the Atonement of Christ accomplishes as a substitute:

  • To show the rulers commitment to his law and his determination to uphold it
  • To show his abhorrence for sin.
  • To demonstrate the great value he has for the truths of His law.
  • To prevent law-breakers from having any expectation of being able to sin with impunity.

These are generally the reasons for punishment. If the Atonement of Christ can answer all of these then it is a suitable replacement for the punishment of the repentant sinner. I think a careful examination of the Cross will determine that it is more than suitable to answer all of these.

In this ‘once and for all’ sacrifice, Christ fulfills this necessary requirements and thereby provides a required condition for forgiveness. God’s mercy is the ground of our forgiveness; repentance, atonement, and faith in Christ are the conditions. When all these conditions are met, God can freely and justly forgive the sinner.

If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness – 1 John 1:9

What does the Bible say?

In all of the this it cannot be lost that the what the scripture says is paramount. With that being said, let’s look what the Bible says about the atonement and answer some of the verses that are normally used in support of Penal Substitution.

I would like you to notice that in all the scriptures in the New Testament regarding the atonement, none of the authors use the language that is so often used today. You won’t see passages that say that Jesus ‘paid for sin’ or that He ‘suffered the wrath of God in our place’ or that ‘our sins have been paid for past, present, and future.’ But observe these passages:

For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God… 1 Peter 3:18

So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many… Hebrews 9:28

For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins. – Matthew 26:28

Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world… Galatians 1:4

Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity… – Titus 2:4

who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness… – 1 Peter 2:24

Why do the New Testament authors lack the frequent phraseology of the modern church? Should we correct them? Should we pen in what we think is right? All of these verses accord perfectly with the Governmental view of the Atonement and do not teach Penal Substitution.

Let us also examine Isaiah 53:

Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; Yet we esteemed Him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned, every one, to his own way; and the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all. – Isaiah 53:4-6

All of this is in perfect accord with the Governmental Theory of the Atonement. Christ bore our sin, not in an absolute literal sense, for then He would have needed to suffer for all eternity, but in an effectual sense. He accomplished what He needed to accomplish for our sin to be taken away. He properly demonstrated the righteousness of God. He suffered for our sins so that we would not have to bear the punishment ourselves. To say more than this is to add to scripture. Besides, the scripture says that we esteemed Him stricken by God. That is, the people thought incorrectly that he was being punished by God. If Penal Substitution were true, then He was actually stricken by God. God indeed planned this and put Him through this, with Christ, like Isaac, being a willing participant. But it was in no sense a proper punishment. 

Now let’s look at some common proof texts for Penal Substitution.

For He made Him Who knew no sin to be sin for us that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him. – 2 Cor 5:21

Some have interpreted this text to mean that our sin was transferred to Christ and He was punished as a result. However, it should be understood that throughout the Old Testament, whenever the sacrifice of a sin-offering was mentioned, it was mentioned without the word ‘offering.’ In other words, in the original Hebrew, only the word for sin is in the text when the author is referring to a sin-offering. In fact, 116 times in the Old Testament, ‘sin-offering’ is rendered only as ‘sin’ in the original text. The reader must use context to determine whether the author was referring to the act of sin or a sin-offering (e.g. Exo 24, Lev 4). The same is true in the Greek version of the Bible that the apostles used (the Septuagint). Paul, being very familiar with the Old Testament terminology, and the people being familiar with the Old Testament passages about Christ, it is likely that Paul was thinking of Isaiah 53:10, where it was written that God would make ‘his soul an offering for sin.’ This passage, both in the Hebrew and the Greek, lacked the word ‘offering,’ just as the 116 other places referring to a sin-offering did. Yet it clearly means a sin-offering. I believe Paul was simply referring to this verse. Indeed, some modern English translations translate this verse exactly so:

The Tree of Life Version:

He made the One who knew no sin to become a sin offering on our behalf, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.

The Orthodox Jewish Bible:

The one who in his person had no sin, this one [God] made a sin offering on our behalf…

This rendering is also found in the New Living Translation and in the footnote of the New International Version.

In any case, it is dangerous to establish any doctrine from one verse. If those who support Penal Substitution want to maintain that Jesus somehow became sin, more than one reference is imperative. Instead, this verse helps establish the theory we are proposing: that Christ was a sacrifice for sin to bring us back to God. 

Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us—for it is written, “cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree.” – Gal 3:13

This verse also is in support of the theory that we are proposing. It cannot be asserted that every person who has ever died on a cross was accursed by God (Deut 21:23). Many faithful Christians died by crucifixion at the hands of Roman Emperors. It is said that Peter even died by crucifixion. Were they also cursed by God? I think a more honest interpretation would be that Jesus died an accursed death to redeem us from the curse. The manner of death was the accursed part. He was a curse in the eyes of the people. They ‘esteemed Him stricken, smitten of God and afflicted’ but, in actuality, He was the ‘righteous servant’ who ‘poured out his soul unto death.’ (See Isa 53)

My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? – Matthew 27:46

This verse is a quotation from Psalm 22. The Psalms often have human emotion that expresses the true feelings of the heart but not necessarily the reality of the situation. For example, in Psalm 44, the psalmist says, “Awake! Why do you sleep, O Lord?..Why do you hide your face and forget our affliction and our oppression?” Does the Lord sleep? Did He really forget their oppression? Of course not. But these are the true feelings of the human heart. Psalm 74 says, “O God, why have You cast us off forever?” Did God cast off Israel forever? Of course not. And so Jesus, in His humanity, and in fulfillment of what was written of Him, cried out to God in the midst of great suffering. Not only did He express the deep agony of His heart, but also associated Himself with the prophetic psalm that foretold these things. Besides, did God forsake Jesus? He certainly did not in the truest sense of the word. Did God abandon Him completely? Did Jesus cease to be divine? Did His divine nature become evil because of imputed sin? I can’t imagine that even those who support Penal Substitution would affirm these things.

In Conclusion

Penal Substitution falls apart on so many levels. However, even if you aren’t convinced, I would urge you to be careful to only use biblical language when speaking about the Atonement of Christ. Bad doctrine has crept into the church and unbiblical language has helped to fuel it.

Penal Substitution, when carried to its logical ends, can result in biblical error. In my next blog I will address some of these errors. I don’t suggest that everyone who holds to Penal Substitution automatically adheres to these doctrinal errors, but many have, and these doctrines are growing in popularity. They are hard to argue with when Penal Substitution is the foundation.

I would like to add that, although I am persuaded at this point of the truth of this theory, I am open to hearing scriptural rebuttals to it. Please share your thoughts, I would GREATLY appreciate it.

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