St Cyril of Jerusalem on Penal Substitution

Cracking quote!!!

“For we were enemies of God through sin, and God had appointed the sinner to die. There must needs therefore have happened one of two things; either that God, in His truth, should destroy all men, or that in His loving-kindness He should cancel the sentence. But behold the wisdom of God; He preserved both the truth of His sentence, and the exercise of His loving-kindness. Christ took our sins in His body on the tree, that we by His death might die to sin, and live unto righteousness.”

4 Comments on “St Cyril of Jerusalem on Penal Substitution

  1. Great Quote – I am continually amazed at the relevance of the Church Fathers to what we encounter on a daily basis. Just Friday, I heard a principal light of the so-called Emergent Church movement holding forth on how Penal Substitution having (according to him) only been invented in the late medieval period by St. Anselm it should not be considered an essential core Christian Doctrine.

    I guess you could rework the old saw about the only thing we have to learn is the history we don’t know into the only things we don’t know are Patristics we haven’t yet learned.
    Pax et Bonum!
    Stephen

  2. Interesting. But not about penal substitution, for note that here God cancels the sentence, there is no suggestion that he transfers it to Christ or punishes Christ.

  3. No penal substitution here. According to Cyril of Jerusalem, Christ doesn’t die instead of us. We still have to die, but now we die in Him. To put it in Saint Paul’s words, if we die with Him we will rise with Him…if we suffer with Him, we will be glorified with Him…if we through the Spirit put to death the deeds of the mortal body, we shall be raised to life in Him. This isn’t a salvation worked out abstractly on paper in some heavenly accounting book of debits and credits, but rather a salvation worked out practically in our mortal flesh joined with the Flesh of the Son of God in active cooperation with the Holy Spirit. Your attempt to support the Western innovation with the writings of the Eastern Fathers is daring, but Anselm of Canterbury still remains the Augustinian, Latin source of the highly philosophical, penal substitution theory which became the foundation of Western theories of salvation in post-Schism, Western Christendom.

  4. it is amazing the blindness of some of these poster, YES ST. CYRIL TEACHES PENAL
    SUBSTITUTION.
     “There must needs therefore have happened one of two things; either that God, in His truth, should destroy all men, or that in His loving-kindness He should cancel the sentence.”

    These are the two obvious choices, that He seems limited to, but
    He creates a third choice,

    “But behold the wisdom of God; He preserved both the truth of His sentence, and the exercise of His loving-kindness.”

    HE PRESERVED THE SENTENCE, a judgement was done, a punishment inflicted, AND He
    exercized loving kindness. How?

    “Christ took our sins in His body on the tree, that we by His death might die to sin, and live unto righteousness”
    THAT IS SUBSTITUTIONARY ATONEMENT, Christ died for our sins, instead of us dying for our sins.

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