By Evan Knies
Simon Gathercole is the lecturer in New Testament studies in the Faculty of Divinity of the University of Cambridge and Fellow and director of studies in theology at Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge. He is also the author of several other books.
Defending Substitution is a short (128 pages), but needed work. As Gathercole points out, substitution is vital to what the New Testament says about the death of Christ and the gospel message. It also has important pastoral implications such as Christian assurance or perseverance of the saints. Gathercole describes substitutionary atonement as “instead of us”. Because of Adam, all men sin, fall short, and are rebels against God (Romans 5:12). Thus because of mans rebellion, he needs a substitute to stand in his place for him. Gathercole throughout this work goes through the Old Testament priesthood through to the priesthood of Christ, showing that sinners needed a mediator to stand in his place, because he could not stand for himself. Christ took the cross, instead of us. He took God’s wrath, instead of us. He died in accordance with scriptures, instead of us. He rose in accordance with the scriptures. Gathercole throughout this work will help you understand the substitutionary view of the atonement, its implications from the Old Testament to King Jesus (who died once for all), and help you rejoice because Christ died “instead of us”.
Why Should You Read This?
1. It will make you a better student of the Bible. Gathercole goes from the Old Testament to the New Testament. It will help you think about the entire Bible’s theology of atonement.
2. It will help you share the gospel more clearly. If you want confidence that Christ is our substitute and want help explaining this with solid Biblical evidence, this is a great book for you.
3. It will challenge you and also help you care for your brothers and sisters in Christ, since you know that you need a substitute, and they need a substitute just as much as you do. This should help us individually by leveling the playing field, killing pride, and loving one another so that you are an example of Jesus Christ to a lost and dying world.
Friend, You only get one life and it will soon pass. Only what is done for Jesus Christ will last.
Evan Knies is from West Monroe, Louisiana. He is currently an undergraduate student at Boyce College. You can follow him on Twitter @Evan_Knies.