“To put it bluntly and plainly, if Christ is not my Substitute, I still occupy the place of a condemned sinner. If my sins and my guilt are not transferred to Him, if He did not take them upon Himself, then surely they remain with me. If He did not deal with my sins, I must face their consequences. If my penalty was not borne by Him, it still hangs over me. There is no other possibility. To say that substitution is immoral is to say that redemption is impossible. We must beware of taking up such a disastrous position.…

In the process of salvation God is not transferring penalty from one man (guilty) to another man (innocent). He is bearing it Himself. The absolute oneness between the Father and the Son in the work of atonement must not for a moment be lost sight of.  When Christ substitutes for sinful man in His death that is God Himself bearing the consequences of our sin, God saving man at cost to Himself, not at cost to someone else.  As Leonard Hodgson puts it, ‘He wills that sin shall be punished, but He does not will that sin shall be punished without also willing that the punishment shall fall on Himself.’  In part the atonement is to be understood as a process whereby God absorbs in Himself the consequences of man’s sin.”

(Leon Morris, The Apostolic Preaching of the Cross, p410, 1955)

Leon Morris on the Atonement


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