It Is Well
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Expositions on Substitutionary Atonement
The idea of Christ’s substitutionary atonement for sinners is central in both the Old and New Testaments – from the Passover to the prophets to the words of Jesus and the apostles. In It Is Well, pastors Mark Dever and Michael Lawrence demonstrate how the atonement is clearly taught throughout Scripture.
Starting with Exodus 12 and moving through other key Old Testament passages into the Gospels and the epistles of Paul and Peter, the authors offer careful expositions on fourteen crucial texts. As they speak to important issues such as what happens when there is no substitute for sin, why God forsook Christ, Jesus’ perspective on his substitutionary work, and the necessity and benefits of the atonement, they show how much the doctrine applies to the Christian life.
It Is Well not only encourages pastors to preach this essential doctrine for the strengthening of the church, but it helps individual believers understand and exult in the richness of God’s love in Christ.
MARK DEVER (PhD, Cambridge), author of several books and articles, serves as the senior pastor of Capitol Hill Baptist Church in Washington DC. Along with his pastoral responsibilities, Dever is also the president of 9Marks. He is coauthor, with J. I. Packer, of In My Place Condemned He Stood: Celebrating the Glory of the Atonement.
MICHAEL LAWRENCE (PhD, Cambridge) is the senior pastor of Hinson Church in Portland, OR, and the author of Biblical Theology in the Life of the Church.
“Theological and devotional, expositional and inspirational: these are four words that well capture this excellent work on the doctrine of penal substitution. Thank you, Mark and Michael, for this gift to the church of the Lord Jesus. Read it and be instructed. Read it and be blessed.”
—Daniel L. Akin, President, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary
“Dever and Lawrence remind us that at the heart of Christianity is Christ, and the heart of Christ’s ministry is the cross, and the heart of the cross is penal substitution. Nor is penal substitution limited to part of the canon. Both in the OT and the NT forgiveness of sins comes only through substitution. The OT anticipates the substitutionary sacrifice of Christ, the Gospels relate the story of his sacrifice, and the Epistles explicate what Christ has accomplished for his people. What a joy to have the truth of Christ’s work for us set forth in sermons, for we see clearly that Christ’s atoning work is no abstraction. Dever and Lawrence in these well-crafted sermons both instruct us in God’s Word and apply it powerfully to the lives of both believers and unbelievers.”
—Thomas R. Schreiner, James Buchanan Harrison Professor of New Testament Interpretation and Associate Dean of the School of Theology, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
“Dever and Lawrence remind you of the supreme splendor of the cross. With homiletical wisdom, exegetical skill, and pastoral zeal, they will draw your mind’s attention and heart’s affection to the majesty of Christ in the atonement. In the process, you will not only be exposed to exemplary sermons on this extremely important doctrine, but you will also be overwhelmed by the breathtaking glory of the one who has satisfied the wrath of God by substituting himself in our place. All praise be to God for this indescribably wonderful reality and all thanks be to him for this immensely helpful book.”
—David Platt, President, International Mission Board; author, Radical: Taking Back Your Faith from the American Dream
“In many churches, the cross is sung more forcefully than it is preached. Some of the most moving and memory-shaping hymns and songs of the faith are also the bloodiest, those that remind us that we were purchased with blood. Sadly, for many, the power of the atonement seems simply to be lyrics, left unconsidered for most of life. This book, by faithful preachers Mark Dever and Michael Lawrence, calls us to preach and teach and pray the curse-absorbing substitutionary atonement as emphatically as we sing it. As you see the glory of Christ crucified in these sermons, you will want to sing, and to preach, and to praise the Messiah who stood in our place on Skull Hill.”
—Russell Moore, President, The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission; author, Onward
“We need a clarion call to bring us back to the hard-won doctrines that the Reformers died to establish. Dever and Lawrence have masterfully traced the thread of one of the most significant of these truths through the Old and New Testaments. They argue that the sacrificial atonement is not merely an image, theory, or perspective; it is the very foundation of how God brought about salvation. To comprehend the gospel fully, we must understand this work of Christ. It is Well should be required reading for every pastor and will deepen any Christian’s awareness of Christ’s work on the cross. I encourage you to read and reread this book and cling tightly to what it says.”
—Dennis Newkirk, Senior Pastor, Henderson Hills Baptist Church, Edmond, Oklahoma
“Dever and Lawrence take a topic that is intimidating to many—substitutionary atonement—and make it practical to both the scholar and the common man. Rich in exposition and application, they point us to God’s sacrifice for us in Jesus, and why, because of it, we can never be the same.”
—Matt Carter, Pastor of Preaching, The Austin Stone Community Church, Austin, Texas; co-author, The Real Win
“In a day when questions about retributive justice and penal substitution are being raised within evangelicalism, Dever and Lawrence serve us well by leading us to meditate upon the texts of the Old and New Testaments, which have shaped the church’s understanding of the atonement. They remind us that though the Bible uses various images to help us understand the work of Christ on the cross, penal substitution is the reality upon which all other images of the atonement stand. Yet this book is no mere apologetic; it is a welcome exhortation to make the cross of Christ central to all of life. I pray that the meditations contained herein will be widely read and would move Christ’s church once again to know nothing among us except Jesus Christ and him crucified.”
—Juan R. Sanchez, Jr., Senior Pastor, High Pointe Baptist Church, Austin, Texas
“This book is brimming with insights into the text as well as with clear and direct application. A refreshing contrast to the great number of low-calorie atonement books on the market.”
—Simon Gathercole, Senior Lecturer in New Testament, University of Cambridge; author, Where Is Boasting? and The Preexistent Son
“The theological glue that holds the gospel facts together is the substitutionary atonement of Jesus Christ. Yet no concept is more unique and audacious to the Christian faith than that of a crucified Messiah and Savior. Regrettably, for too long this has been the subject of academia more than the church, until now. Through fourteen expositions that cover redemptive history, Dever and Lawrence have provided an extensive, simple, and practical guide to grasping this subject without compromising its complexity. This study is more than important to understand; it is imperative. Few books have fueled my worship of the Savior like this one. Read it and expect to find yourself on your knees in wonder at the gospel.”
—Rick Holland, Senior Pastor, Mission Road Bible Church, Prairie Village, Kansas
“Like the sound of a trumpet resonating from castle walls, so has the call to worship sounded forth from the local church of Mark Dever and Michael Lawrence and their expositions on the atonement. This work is sure to humble the reader in the reality of the work of Christ on behalf of sinners and liberate the forgiven with the promise that ‘it is finished.’”
—Eric Bancroft, Senior Pastor, Castleview Baptist Church, Indianapolis, Indiana