Substitutionary Atonement

According to the Scriptures, sin must be paid for.[1] When Jesus Christ died, He suffered as a substitute in the place of and on behalf of fallen humanity. Christ's death made it possible for men and women to be declared righteous, based on their faith in Him.[2] Christ's death was not merely a statement against evil or an expression of love, but a payment that satisfied God's demand. Christ's death was necessary for several reasons.

First, sin alienates us from God.[3] Those who are controlled by sin cannot please God.[4] Jesus Christ's death made peace with God possible.[5] Christ came, not just to provide us with a godly example, but to die on our behalf and to bear the cost for sin.[6]

Second, God is holy.[7] God's holy character requires that sin be punished.[8] Sin makes us the objects of God's wrath until the penalty of sin is paid.[9] By laying down His own life, Jesus paid the price on our behalf, satisfying God's demand.[10] This payment was made, not to Satan, but God.[11]

Third, the presence of sin renders us helpless.[12] We cannot save ourselves.[13] We do not have the will or the ability to offer anything acceptable to God on our own behalf.[14] We not only suffer from the guilt and penalty of Adam's original sin, but also from the effects of our own sinful nature and actions.[15]

God, who is rich in mercy, sent Jesus Christ to die in our place, so that He might be righteous in dealing with sin while at the same time providing His own righteousness to those who believe in Jesus Christ.[16] Christ's death was more than an attempt to reverse the human course started by Adam; it served as a substitute payment for the trespasses of all mankind.