Double Payment and Penal Satisfaction Atonement – Dr James Leonard answers in SEA outreach group

, posted by drwayman

Someone asked the perennial question of double payment and penal satisfaction atonement. Here’s my reply:

“The point is that one must be “in Christ” in order for the payment to be of any value to anyone. Calvinists have a tendency to think of payment of sin debt as a transaction that gets applied to an external bank account. This, of course, is a bit far flung from New Testament thinking. While there is payment, and although payment is a transaction, all due emphasis must be on the outpouring of God’s wrath on Jesus himself. The outpouring does not affect some external record book, but is entirely located in Jesus himself. The only way that we can share in such payment is if we are united with him so that we share in his sufferings. Those who are “in Christ” are truly united with him so that we share in his history, and thus in the exhaustion of God’s wrath.

Reformation Arminian Leroy Forlines explains the point with an analogy from American history. Prior to its statehood, Hawaiians could not own American history as their own. They could not claim that their forefathers had fought the British or survived the ordeal at Valley Forge. They could not own for themselves the writing of the Declaration of Independence or the celebration of the 4th of July. The freedoms Americans enjoy could not have been attributed to the sacrifice of their forefathers. All this changed, however, when Hawaii became a state. The history of America became the history of the Hawaiians.

Jesus did indeed pay the sin-debt for everyone, but it is of no effect apart from union with Christ. Once we are united with Christ through faith, then we share in Christ’s sufferings, and, in effect, can assert that Christ’s history of suffering on the cross is our own history.”

-James M Leonard

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