I’m currently enjoying John Stott’s great work The Cross of Christ, which is full of helpful insights on the cross as the New Testament’s dominating theme. (A good survey for initial study is Leon Morris’ The Cross In The New Testament) Here’s a couple examples:

“Our substitute, then, who took our place and died our death on the cross, was neither Christ alone…nor God alone…but God in Christ, who was truly and fully both God and man… If we speak only of Christ suffering and dying, we overlook the initiative of the Father. If we speak only of God suffering and dying, we overlook the mediation of the Son. The New Testament authors never attribute the atonement either to Christ in such a way as to disassociate him from the Father, or to God in such a way as to dispense with Christ, but rather to God and Christ, or to God acting in and through Christ with his whole-hearted concurrence.”

Stott later discusses four New Testament pictures of salvation, with corresponding contexts: propitiation (context: the temple), redemption (slave market), justification (law court), and reconciliation (home). He concludes:

“[Substitution is] the essence of each image and the heart of the atonement itself. None of the four images could stand without it. I am not of course saying that it is necessary to understand, let alone articulate, a substitutionary atonement before one can be saved. Yet the responsibility of Christian teachers, preachers and other witnesses is to seek grace to expound it with clarity and conviction. For the better people understand the glory of the divine substitution, the easier it will be for them to trust in the Substitute.”

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About Ben Kwok

Ben is part of a church plant team establishing the Rouse Hill Church. He holds a Master of Divinity degree. Ben and his wife Diahanna live in Sydney, Australia with their four young children.


  1. Jason Harris 25 November, 2009 at 12:14 pm - Reply

    Wow. Great quotes. Thanks.

  2. DONOVAN H. POWELL 14 November, 2010 at 4:08 pm - Reply

    Too long, too wordy. I found it hard to follow the lines of argument. The gospel is supposed to be easy to understand. Maybe I am too old.

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