As a student worker I remember the joy of reading John Stott’s ‘the Cross of Christ’ for the first time. I remember grappling with issuess surounding justice, God, wrath, forgiveness and assurance. I am so thankful especially for his chapter on ‘self-substitution‘. Having been brought up on a diet of unhelpful sermon illustrations like the unjust prison guard who kills an innocent victem, etc, I was completely confused about the cross:
-Did Jesus twist the Fathers arm?
-Did the Father force Jesus to die?
Studying the Bible and understanding that there was a Penal -self- substitution really opened my eyes to reality of the gospel. Indeed, others have failed to understand the work of the Trinity at the cross and have thus fallen into grave error. In the excellent book ‘Pierced for our transgressions’ we get this quote:
Penal substitution does not imply that the Father is unwillingly coerced into an attitude of forgiveness, or that the son is unwillingly coerced into offering himself. When we say that the son propitiates the Father, this is not to be understood as if the Son and the Father are acting against each other. They are fulfilling different roles in a plan to which both are equally committed, in pursuit of outcomes they both desire.
This week we have began a four week course looking at the cross in-depth. We will look at what the cross is all about, and what that means to us. Week one was looking at this Penal (Self) Substitution.
All the sessions last an hour and include interaction. You can find a link to the audio on the top right of this page, or on the sermon download page.