Governmental Theory of the Atonement

The governmental theory of the atonement maintains that "God forgives sinners without requiring an equivalent payment."1  This theory was proposed by Grotius (1583-1645).  "Grotius reasoned that Christ upheld the principle of government in God’s law by making a token payment for sin through His death. God accepted the token payment of Christ, set aside the requirement of the law, and was able to forgive sinners because the principle of His government had been upheld."2

The problem with this theory of the atonement is that the law is not satisfied, and there is no payment required for breaking the law God. The Bible tells us that the wrath of God must be removed (1 John 2:2) and that Christ's atonement was substitutionary (Isaiah 53:4-6; 2 Cor. 5:21; 1 Peter 2:24).

  • 1. Enns, Paul P. The Moody Handbook of Theology, p. 321
  • 2. ibid. p. 321

 

 

 

 
 
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