The following two paragraphs were suggested by Gerhard O. Forde’s comments on the theology of 19th century evangelical German theologian J. C. K. von Hofmann.
In the Mosaic Law, justice is virtually always done by making amends in some way, never by “punishment,” per se—a term scarcely found in the Old Testament except as a variant translation of terms better rendered by other English words. Even imprisonment is virtually unheard of as a punishment, as we know it, but only as a temporary restraining measure (see Gustav Friedrich Oehler, Theology of the Old Testament, [Minneapolis: Klock & Klock Christian Publishers, 1978; T. & T. Clark, 1873], 275-281). In this way, peace/shalom is restored, i.e., by “paying up” outstanding debts or infractions.
Thus also in the New Covenant, Jesus could not have “brought righteousness in” by suffering “punishment” from God for our sins, as a “substitute,” BUT ONLY BY MAKING AMENDS FOR THEM. THIS IS WHAT THE “CROSSURRECTION” ACCOMPLISHED—THE JUST ONE WAS HUMILIATED BY INJUSTICE SO THAT GOD WOULD BE JUSTIFIED IN EXALTING HIM, IN THE ENSUING GRACIOUSNESS OF GOD, JESUS WAS HONORED SO ABUNDANTLY WITH AUTHORITY OVER ALL HUMANITY THAT HIS JUST AWARD MORE THAN COMPENSATED OR MADE UP OR MADE AMENDS FOR HUMAN SIN. THE ACTIVE INGREDIENT WITHIN US IS THE PROMISED GIFT OF THE WHOLESOME SPIRIT OF GRACIOUSNESS AND LIFE, THE POWERFUL AGENT THAT WASHES, ERASES, CLEANSES, AND REPUDIATES SIN. IT IS HENCE THE ACTIVE INGREDIENT THAT EFFECTS FORGIVENESS OR PARDON OF SINS BY ITS ANTITHETICAL OPERATION AND ANTIDOTAL NATURE. THEREBY IT MAKES US WHOLESOME AND ALIVE IN SPIRIT, SHEDDING ABROAD GOD’S OWN LOVE IN OUR HEARTS. [8/03/06]