Jesus died upon the cross. He was crucified, died and was buried. This is a central part of the Christian faith. It is the high point of all four gospels, included in the Apostles Creed and in an early statement of faith recorded in 1 Corinthians 15, “that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures.”
While on the cross, Jesus said, “It is finished” and then gave up his spirit (John 19:30). What was finished?
We need clarity about what happened at the cross.
Penal substitutionary atonement (PSA) is a technical way of describing what took place on the cross. The penalty for sin was dealt with. A substitution was made so that an innocent man died in place of the guilty. What was achieved through this act was the peace of God toward repentant sinners (atonement) who put their trust in what Jesus did and who he is. The consequences of this great exchange are what we will study in this five week sermon series.
We will look at four words which illustrate what has been achieved for us on the cross: substitutionary atonement. They are not four alternative theories but the fruit of penal substitutionary atonement. If God in Christ did not die in our place, there could be no propitiation, redemption, justification or reconciliation. The meaning and importance of these words, as described in the bible, will be the focus of our study on The Cross.
“Moved by the perfection of his holy love, God in Christ substituted himself for us sinners. That is the heart of the cross of Christ.” (John Stott, The Cross of Christ)