Penal substitutionary atonement—the belief that Jesus’s death on the cross satisfied God’s wrath against sin—is central to the Christian faith, but frequently debated. Is it just to punish an innocent person in place of the guilty? How can the temporary death of one substitute for the eternal death of many? Why doesn’t the cross grant Christians unlimited permission to sin?
In this famous essay, late theologian J. I. Packer analyzes Scripture and the works of early Reformers to defend the truth of Christ’s substitutionary suffering and death, the heart of the Christian gospel. Considered one of the most significant short works on penal substitutionary atonement from the 20th century, this careful, concise essay has influenced prominent theologians and is essential reading for students, pastors, and laypeople