Sin Nature and Penal Substitutionary Atonement

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TryingToLearn

Puritan Board Freshman
I recently watched Matt Slick's (carm.org) debate with a provisionist who denies sin nature, and while I think Matt did very well overall and it seemed to me the provisionist didn't really know what he was talking about, he did bring up one point that I think Matt didn't fully understand and I'd like to see a response to it.

The provisionist argued that since sin nature is penal, Jesus had to have had one in order to make atonement for us. The argument is because Jesus had to bear all of our penalties in order to make atonement. So, for example, the reason that Jesus had to physically die is because the physical death is penal. The reason Jesus had to spiritually die on the cross when he drank God's wrath is because spiritual death is penal. So the argument would be that since sin nature is a penal fine for sin, Jesus would have had to experience having one to atone for us.

Clearly there's some nuance that has to be done here as far as Jesus having to bear all of our penalties while at the same time affirming a sin nature is technically penal, but I'm not sure how to articulate it properly to avoid this objection.

Any thoughts here?
 

TryingToLearn

Puritan Board Freshman
Let me try to clarify some more. The argument is basically this: why did Jesus have to physically die to make atonement for our sins? The answer is because physical death is the penalty for sin. So the argument would be that since sin nature is a penalty for sin, Jesus must have had one. The debater used this argument to try to argue against the existence of sin nature.

True, death is the penalty for sin. And true Jesus paid that penalty.

But the argument here is that sin nature is a penalty for sin, and Jesus didn't pay that penalty.
 

arapahoepark

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
Interesting. It's not necessary that Christ had one in order to condemn sin in the flesh. Imputation does just as well through union. If we are dead to sin, which includes the nature, then we are new. I am not seeing how that means Christ had to have a sinful nature.
 

TryingToLearn

Puritan Board Freshman
Interesting. It's not necessary that Christ had one in order to condemn sin in the flesh. Imputation does just as well through union. If we are dead to sin, which includes the nature, then we are new. I am not seeing how that means Christ had to have a sinful nature.
So, would it be okay for us to say that Jesus didn't necessarily have to pay for every penalty of sin in order to atone for us?

The way I originally answered the objection was to say that pain in childbirth, for example is a penalty for sin, but Jesus didn't have to bear that specific penalty in order to atone for sin.
 

Charles Johnson

Puritan Board Sophomore
Christ was not obligated to receive every particular punishment for every particular sin. He didn't have to repay money as if he had stolen, or be burned at the stake as if he had been a whoring priest's daughter. The receiving of a sin nature is a particular punishment for those who fell in Adam upon his breaking the covenant of works. Christ was not in Adam, and so was not comprehended in that. Rather, his one sacrifice is sufficient to atone for all sins of any sort, including Adam's covenant breaking, and the stealing of thieves, and the whoredom of priest's daughters.
 

TryingToLearn

Puritan Board Freshman
W
Christ was not obligated to receive every particular punishment for every particular sin. He didn't have to repay money as if he had stolen, or be burned at the stake as if he had been a whoring priest's daughter. The receiving of a sin nature is a particular punishment for those who fell in Adam upon his breaking the covenant of works. Christ was not in Adam, and so was not comprehended in that. Rather, his one sacrifice is sufficient to atone for all sins of any sort, including Adam's covenant breaking, and the stealing of thieves, and the whoredom of priest's daughters.
Wonderful answer, thank you!
 
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