From John Stott, on the self-substitution of God on the cross.1 (The emphasis and formatting are mine.)

We strongly reject, therefore, every explanation of the death of Christ that does not have at its center the principle of “satisfaction through substitution,” indeed divine self-satisfaction through divine self-substitution.

The cross was not…

a commercial bargain with the devil, let alone one that tricked or trapped him;

nor an exact equivalent, a quid pro quo to satisfy a code of honor or technical point of law;

nor a compulsory submission by God to some moral authority above him from which he could not otherwise escape;

nor a punishment of a meek Christ by a harsh and punitive Father;

nor a procurement of salvation by a loving Christ from a mean and reluctant Father;

nor an action of the Father which bypassed Christ as Mediator.

Instead, the righteous, loving Father humbled himself to become in and through his only Son flesh, sin and a curse for us, in order to redeem us without compromising his own character.


1 John Stott. The Cross of Christ (Downer’s Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2006), 158-59.

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