Bonar on Substitutionary Atonement

In my latest post I wrote on a hymn by Horatius Bonar. In my research on his life I came across an excerpt from one of his sermons. It was simply incredible. The sermon excerpt declares that if Jesus did not atone for our sins in a substitutionary manner then we are still sinners and dead in our sins (1 Corinthians 15:12:22).  The essence of the gospel is Jesus Christ, his substitutionary death on the cross (John 19:28-37), his burial (John 19:38-42), and his resurrection (John 20).

Hear Bonar:

“If Christ is not the substitute, he is nothing to the sinner. If he did not die as the sin-bearer, he has died in vain. Let us not be deceived on this point nor misled by those who, when they announce Christ as the deliverer, think they have preached the gospel. If I throw a rope to a drowning man, I am a deliverer. But is Christ no more than that? If I cast myself into the sea and risk myself to save another, I am a deliverer. But is Christ no more? Did He risk His life? The very essence of Christ’s deliverance is the substitution of himself for us–his life for ours! He did not come to risk his life; he came to die! He did not redeem us by a little loss, a little sacrifice, a little labor, a little suffering: ‘He redeemed us to God by His blood’ (I Peter 1:18,19). He gave all he had, even his life, for us. This is the kind of deliverance that awakens the happy song, ‘To Him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in His own blood’ (Revelation 1:5).”

Praise be to God that the sole purpose of Jesus was to die on that cross and be the perfect substitutionary sacrifice for my sin! Know that to the very marrow of your bones!

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  1. I have come across some Bonar the past couple months as well. He’s great. It was good getting to see you guys this weekend and congratulations on baby #2.

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