What Did the Cross Achieve?

By J. I. Packer, Foreword by Mark Dever

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A Classic Essay on Penal Substitutionary Atonement from Theologian J. I. Packer

Penal substitutionary atonement—the belief that Jesus’s death on the cross satisfied God’s wrath against sin—is central to the Christian faith, but frequently debated. Is it just to punish an innocent person in place of the guilty? How can the temporary death of one substitute for the eternal death of many? Why doesn’t the cross grant Christians unlimited permission to sin? 

In this famous essay, late theologian J. I. Packer analyzes Scripture and the works of early Reformers to defend the truth of Christ’s substitutionary suffering and death, the heart of the Christian gospel. Considered one of the most significant short works on penal substitutionary atonement from the 20th century, this careful, concise essay has influenced prominent theologians and is essential reading for students, pastors, and laypeople.

  • From Renowned Theologian J. I. Packer: This work was originally delivered as a Tyndale Biblical Theology Lecture
  • Part of the Crossway Short Classics Series: Other titles include The Lord’s Work in the Lord’s Way and No Little People; The Life of God in the Soul of Man; and Fighting for Holiness 
  • Includes a Foreword by Mark Dever

Read Chapter 1


J. I. Packer

J. I. Packer (1926–2020) served as the Board of Governors’ Professor of Theology at Regent College. He authored numerous books, including the classic bestseller Knowing God. Packer also served as general editor for the English Standard Version Bible and as theological editor for the ESV Study Bible.

Product Details

Category: Christian Living
Biblical Studies
Format: Paperback
Page Count: 136
Size: 4.25 in x 6.125 in
Weight: 5.27 ounces
ISBN-10: 1-4335-9050-6
ISBN-13: 978-1-4335-9050-4
ISBN-UPC: 9781433590504
Case Quantity: 60
Published: August 29, 2023

Table of Contents

Foreword by Mark Dever 
Series Preface 
Biography of J. I. Packer 

What Did the Cross Achieve? 

Scripture Index