All Scripture points to the Savior who laid down His life to take away the sins of His people. Today, R.C. Sproul adamantly defends the centrality of Christ’s atonement in the Christian faith.
I was in seminary when a young man stood up in the pulpit to give a practice sermon, and he preached a sermon on the substitutionary atonement of Jesus—the idea that Jesus laid down His life for His people, that His death on the cross was a vicarious sacrifice for sinful people. And the class was horrified. And one student stood up and said, “How can you be preaching on the satisfaction view and substitutionary view of the atonement in this day and age?”
That was more than I could take. I sat up, I said: “How can you question the integrity of his preaching the substitutionary atonement in this day and age? What is it about this day and age that has suddenly rendered null and void the most important cosmic act in history—the act Karl Barth said, ‘There’s one word that sums up the whole New Testament—it’s a Greek word—hyper, in behalf of’?”
The whole point of this Servant is that He suffers not for Himself. We esteem Him stricken, smitten, afflicted. We divert our eyes from Him. But all the while Isaiah is saying, “Don’t you see that His suffering, that His affliction—His bruising, His beatings, the stripes made from the lashes on His back—is for us, for our transgressions, for our iniquity?”
Take away the substitutionary atonement and you have taken away Christianity because at the heart of the New Testament proclamation is the announcement of the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. The whole history of the Old Testament points to that with the idea of vicarious suffering, the one for the many. If you’re offended by it and scandalized by it, then turn your face away, to your everlasting torment.