Spurgeon on Substitutionary Atonement

This was directed toward those, who in Spurgeon’s time, rejected the idea of Christ’s substitutionary atonement for the sins of the God’s elect.

Those who set aside the atonement as a satisfaction for sin also murder the doctrine of justification by faith. They must do so. There is a common element which is the essence of both doctrines; so that, if you deny the one, you destroy the other.

Modern thought is nothing but an attempt to bring back the legal system of salvation by works. Our battle is the same as that which Luther fought at the Reformation. If you go to the very ground and root of it, grace is taken away, and human merit is substituted. The gracious act of God in pardoning sin is excluded, and human effort is made all in all, both for past sin and future hope. Every man is now to set up as his own savior, and the atonement is shelved as a pious fraud.

I will not foul my mouth with the unworthy phrases which have been used in reference to the substitutionary work of our Lord Jesus Christ; but it is a sore grief of heart to note how these evil things are tolerated by men whom we respect.

We shall not cease, dear brethren, in our ministry, most definitely and decidedly to preach the atoning sacrifice; and I will tell you why I shall be sure to do so. I have not personally a shadow of a hope of salvation from any other quarter: I am lost if Jesus be not my Substitute. I have been driven up into a corner by a pressing sense of my own personal sin, and have been made to despair of ever doing or being such that God can accept me in myself.

I must have a righteousness, perfect and Divine; yet it is beyond my own power to create. I find it in Christ: I read that it will become mine by faith, and by faith I take it. My conscience tells me that I must render to God’s justice a recompense for the dishonor that I have done to His law, and I cannot find anything which bears the semblance of such a recompense till I look to Christ Jesus. Do I not remember when I first looked to Him, and was lightened? Do I not remember how often I have gone as a sinner to my Savior’s feet, and looked anew at His wounds, and believed over again unto eternal life, feeling the old joy repeated by the deed?

I would like to rise from my bed, during the last five minutes of my life, to bear witness to the Divine sacrifice and the sin-atoning blood. I would then repeat those words which speak the truth of substitution most positively, even should I shock my hearers; for how could I regret that, as in Heaven my first words would be to ascribe my salvation to my Master’s blood, my last act on earth was to shock His enemies by a testimony to the same fact?

from chapter 12, “The Minister in These Times” in An All-Round Ministry

15 responses to “Spurgeon on Substitutionary Atonement

    • Nothing less than perfection is acceptable to God. If Christ’s perfect life and sacrifice was not the substitute for our sin, we would all end up in Hell anyway, because we all die with the taint of sin.


  1. We all should never tire of hearing and meditating on so great a salvation!

    I still have not read all of Dr. Klenck’s series at your place. Part three summarized so much for which I have done a lot of reasearch.


  2. “It is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God’s sight, but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous.” Rom. 2:13
    Objectors to the doctrine of substitutionary atonement have been in existence lot longer than Spurgeon’s time.


    • You need to put that in context. Here, let me help you:
      1. Consider that Paul is speaking of the guilt of all mankind, those who had the Law (Jews), and Gentiles.
      2. Only those who perfectly obey the Law, whether or not they know it (Jews or Gentiles) will stand righteous before a Holy God.
      3. No one could ever fulfill that requirement so God sent His son to be the prefect righteousness that the Law demanded on behalf of those who would come to believe in Christ and who could never become righteous enough themselves.

      Wait for it…….here comes the substitutionary atonement piece, in the same book!

      Rom 3:21 But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it–
      Rom 3:22 the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction:
      Rom 3:23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
      Rom 3:24 and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus,
      Rom 3:25 whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins.

      Context is everything and it matters not a whit how many objectors or for how long they have been around to that, thus saith the Lord.


  3. Better hope you are right, but. The sacrifice of an animal in your place, that not being a sin, there is not the residual, i.e. leftover, issue of guilt relative to sin. However the attempt to gain a direct avantage to yourself by the murder fo a man caused by bloodshed is an entirely different matter. Especially when the man is the only begotten son of the Living God. For God made this promise to him.
    “And for Your lifeblood I will surely demand an accounting. I will demand an accounting from every animal. And from each man,too, I will demand an accounting for the life of his fellow man.”
    So then you are not within the context of each man, too? And think it is a good idea to go around saying “Oh God I am so glad and happy Jesus was murdered in my place”? But thus saith the Living God you will give him the direct account he demands from you by the crucifixion of his only begotten son or perish by a law that has been added. The first objector aganist the doctrine of substitutionary atonement is the Living God himself. Now call him the lier as you have have already done to Paul.


  4. Miss John 3:16 did you? God is the ‘author’ of substitutionary atonement. Christ came to to the will of the Father, which was to be lifted up/sacrificed for the sins of God’s people.

    Study the following:

    •Rom. 3:25, “whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation in His blood through faith. This was to demonstrate His righteousness, because in the forbearance of God He passed over the sins previously committed.”

    •1 John 2:2, “and He Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world.”

    •1 John 4:10, “In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.”

    What in the world are you reading that tells you that God is the first objector to substitutionary atonement? It’s not the Bible – can’t be!

    Hope I’m right? It screams from the pages of scripture!


  5. Gen. 9:5 NIV. The part you didn’t read. If Jesus actually has perfected the heresy of substitutionary atonement then what about the people who crucified him? They should have gotten the same direct blessing from God you are making the errounous claim of having gotten, but they didn’t. See the parabel of the Tenants. “HE will come and kill everyone of those wenches.” because of murdering the Lord’s body. Now sport just what sin is it that was repented of to obey the Acts 2:38 command? You either obey this law exactly as they did or your sinning lying recalcitrant ass is going to reside in hell forever for not obeying this law which has been added to the law by Jesus’ crucifixion! “The law was added so that the trespass might increase.” “For there being a change of the priesthood, this makes it necessary to make a change also of the law.” Some of the other parts you have failed to read. By the way how many is it that Jesus says actually find out what the narrow gate that you must use to enter God’s kingdom actually is? The kazillion like you who think Jesus died in his place, or like the Living God, Jesus and his apostles and me, who teach that his crucifixion is indeed an accountable sin for each man, too.? For dosen’t God really say “I love obedience rather than sacrifice?”


    • Jesus suffering and crucifixion were prophesied in the OT. Perhaps you should study OT prophesy concerning Christ. Genesis to Revelation is the story of the redemption of man. I assume by your language that you aren’t really interested in honest dialogue. You seem to know a few passages, but your interpretation is tragically flawed. Just who is your teacher? What sort of church do you belong to? You can’t have read/studied the passages I referred you to, for they are plain enough.

      Do you have a theory of the atonement? What did Paul mean when he defined the gospel as “Christ died for OUR sins?” except substitutionary atomement. If you have an atonement theory you can substantiate (or think you can) from scripture, please tell me.


  6. Let God be true…

    1 Corinthians 1:17-19

    17For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect.

    18For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.

    19For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.


  7. RE: Born4battle
    Even tho it is true that the crucifixion of Jesus is predicted by the OT prophets the actual reason for his crucifixion is NOT identified. For if the actual reason for his crucifixion could have been determined prior to his crucifixion he would not have been crucified. Ref. 1 Cor. 2:6-8
    As to whom is my teacher? He certianly isn’t yours is he? No man has taught me, so whom do think has since you admitt that I have been taught? Think you have the cohaunass to refute what I have said to you as a tragically flawed interpertation? Have at it sport for your refute will have to compromise the direct statements of God and therefore your refute is going to leave you roasting on a spit. To be frank with you I don’t give a rip if you believe me or not. But when you get to the other side of the grave, friend, you’ll wish you had have. No matter what you have been taught or think no man is going to ride into God’s kingdom on the back of his only begotten son’s murder. For hasn’t it been written by the prophet “Our LORD is a Lawgiver” and doesn’t the prophet quote him? “A law shall proceed from Me.” the law you refuse to admitt exist and therefore say “Who me!? Why I haven’t been required by God to obey any law of his.” So now accuse me of not knowing what the OT says, aye sport?


  8. Let God be true…

    Romans 5:9-11

    King James Version (KJV)

    9Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.

    10For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.

    11And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s