3 Crucial Reasons Why Holding to PSA (Penal Substitution Atonement) is Legitimate

1. Only Exclusive PSA is Problematic

Justice can be both restorative and retributive; these complementary aspects of authentic justice are not mutually exclusive. Rather, the two aspects belong together in order to comprise and demonstrate a well-rounded justice. Penal Substitution Atonement can harmoniously coexist with other Atonement views, such as Medical Substitution, Christus Victor, Aikido Warrior, Liberation, and Sin (Nature) Ransom. Questions of legitimate theology may arise from holding PSA as the premier or exclusive view of Atonement, but no moral theological conundrums arise from holding PSA in balance and fair tension with other views. The problem is not in one’s holding to PSA but how it is held.

Punishment has five recognized purposes: deterrence, incapacitation, rehabilitation, retribution, and restitution. http://open.lib.umn.edu/criminallaw/chapter/1-5-the-purposes-of-punishment/

2. Triunity Preserves Justice

Since, according to Jesus, it is expressly God’s wrath, which abides on those who reject the manifested love of God (i.e. Jesus, John 3:36); then (by necessity) those who accept Jesus have had that Divine wrath removed, ostensibly because Jesus bore the equivalent of it away via the Atonement. To some, it is appalling to say Jesus saves us from God’s wrath, because they do not wish to see God as savagely vengeful or retributive (especially against His Son); but these feelings truly do not arise from exasperation with the concept of Divine wrath but from a less than robust view of the Triunity of the Godhead, especially when it comes to Its own definitions of justice. To be clear, the Godhead was in full agreement within itself to do what was necessary to justly procure mercy for those incapable of obtaining it themselves through merit. This action is gracious on God’s part, particularly when noting that said mercy, obtained in that manner, would legitimately reconcile sinners to an infinitely ethical God.

What God did to Himself, He did on purpose… yes, He harnessed the wrath of evil people, but according to His own deliberate plan nonetheless:

this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men. (Acts 2:23, ESV)

In other words, one will never baulk to say, “God ethically rescues us from God’s wrath.” True, that may feel like stodgy language. Still, by saying it, one should be able to comprehend, “God Himself suffered in order to lawfully provide us His mercy, when we could not merit it.”

For those who question Jesus’ Gethsemane prayer experience, “not my will but Yours be done,” does not prove Jesus’ lack of unity with the Trinity in His deity. Rather, it shows His humanity coming into alignment with his Deity, which was/is always doing the will of the Father, as a result of ever being one with Him.

3. Only Divine Wrath can Meet a Devilish Nature.

The proposition that all humans sin is never debated among Bible students. Also, every Bible student can observe the plain Scriptural witness that a new nature is necessary for reunion with God…. and it is therefore imparted at repentance toward God and faith in Christ. Such a rebirth of essence is called regeneration.

Shockingly, the Lord Jesus reveals the source of corrupted human nature to the Pharisees of His day by saying, “you are of your father, the devil.” Apparently, wrathful judgment is most definitely reserved for those who (because of their own unrighteousness) suppress the truth through wickedness (ROM. 1:18; EPH 5:6; REV. 11:10; Jude). Moreover, one should note that Jesus teaches humans (particularly the “leaders” of Jesus’ day) prefer darkness to light, because their deeds (proceeding from the heart) are evil; and that preference of the heart is the litmus for condemnation (John 3:19; Matthew 15:19; Mark 7:21). Finally, He taught that “eternal fire” (whatever that is; compare ‘eternal chains’) was “prepared for the devil and his demons.”

By these data points, it is an indisputable fact that, should the corrupted nature of a human remain unaltered through rejecting Christ and leading others to do the same, then said human will realize their destiny to “eternal fire,” precisely for possessing and exercising the same evil nature as that of the Devil and his demons. Only Divine wrath is appropriate for anyone continuing (by preference) to bear the same nature as the Devil and his demons.

In His Atonement, The Son of God clearly did not take on the nature of the Devil and demons; but as a Divine-Human innocent suffering for corrupt humanity, the Lord Jesus did satisfy the ransom (against Sin), which was required to provide a new nature, and thereby, deliver all humans from the penalty of eternal fire that is reserved for all who bear the nature of their father, the Devil.

So, was God’s wrath placed upon Jesus? Perhaps the best answer is “yes & no.” Yes, Christ was made to become Sin for us. And Christ did pay an excruciatingly expensive ransom, which is the apparently the equivalent of Divine wrath upon those bearing a Devilish nature. However, Jesus did NOT bear Divine Wrath as one who possessed a Devilish nature within Himself. The Atoning work was done, so that our corrupted human essence would be presently regenerated, as well as have the subsequent and necessary effect of altering our eternal destiny.



Penal Substitution is Unavoidable | Jesus Creed

What About Those Who Have Not Heard?

All the Sins of All Mankind

Divine Child Abuse | Jesus Creed

A Wrath-less God Has Victims (by Jason Micheli) | Jesus Creed

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