While many of us have been taught this as a fundamental truth of Christianity, it is absolutely without any Biblical warrant. The truth is that this is nothing more than theory. It is something that people have used to build towers of doctrinal presumption upon for years. Imagine, this unbiblical assumption is used as the basis and foundation for all kinds of doctrine. The danger of this is that is that the foundation they build upon is not from the Bible. If we build upon a foundation that is false, it can only lead to more false doctrine in the long run.  

Now, what the Scriptures do say is that Jesus suffered for our sins. Suffering is not punishment. Punishment requires personal guilt. Jesus was without sin and guilt, and therefore could only suffer as a substitute for sins, and not be punished for our sins.

So, what does it all matter? It matters a lot because what we believe must be the truth, and if we believe wrongly, we can create all kinds of misconceptions about the atonement, the Gospel, and even the nature of God.

Punishment gives us the unbiblical image of God the Father by making Him pour out His wrath upon the Son. Most people who believe that God is a Trinity somehow do not see that this destroys that doctrine. God is One. The Trinity cannot separate and still be One. By making God the Father punish God the Son, we no longer have a Trinity.

Secondly, the Bible never says that Cross was an object of God's wrath. It never says that Jesus was punished! These are the facts! So why wouldn't we work within the language and truth of revealed Scripture for our understanding of the atonement instead of some theory that is factually wrong on at least two points- wrath and punishment?

Why not believe that the atonement was God's work on our behalf to suffer as a Substitute in place of punishment? Why not accept the Biblical facts that "God was in Christ, reconciling the world to Himself"? (2 Cor. 5:19). There was no separation in the Trinity on the Cross, but great unity of purpose to save mankind! Jesus was always described by the Father as "This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased." This was all throughout His time on earth, and it can only be described as the Father's feelings as Jesus followed through with pure obedience on the Cross also. How could the Father be displeased with the Son when all Jesus did was give Him flawless obedience?

Take comfort in the fact that the wonderful love of God for us was so powerful that the united purpose of God was to provide a way to reconcile man to Himself.


The following link will go into greater detail on the subject:


Payment and Punishment in the Atonement        Choosing A Theology       Salvation