Aspects of the Atonement - Part 1

Course: Systematic Theology II

Lecture: Aspects of the Atonement - Part 1


1. The Doctrine of the Person and Work of Christ

    II. The Work of Christ 

       A. The Past Work of Christ, The Atoning Savior

         1. Theological Basis for the Cross

         2. Aspects of the Atonement

If you think about the atonement, think about it by the analogy of a diamond or a beautiful gem in which you see refracted out of it various colors and yet that light that is refracted out of it is one thing; and yet it can be looked at this way, you can see this hue and that hue, that shade in it. As you look at light reflected in the diamond this is what the atonement is. It is one glorious beautiful work of God but involves these elements, these various aspects. This is part of the problem some of the major views, theories on the atonement, are not always necessarily wrong in and of themselves but they are partial in many cases. They are partial views. So you have to take into account the full of Scriptures teaching on these things.

a. The atonement understood as sacrifice

It is clear that at the very basic level the atonement is nothing if it is not the offering by God of a sacrifice for human sin. Notice what I said, It is God’s offering. John 1:29 where John the Baptist says

John 1:29 The next day he saw Jesus coming to him and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!

All until that time how were sacrifices done? You bring a bull or you bring an unspotted lamb, you bring the animal as the sacrifice. Here God provides the sacrifice “Behold, the Lamb of God” and it is a sacrifice which effects full atonement for human sin. It actually does do it; who takes away the sin of the world! John 1:29 is incredibly profound, incredibly packed with truth about this atonement of Christ.

Hebrews chapters 8-10 says a lot about the death of Christ’s as sacrifice.

Hebrews 9:22 And according to the Law, one may almost say, all things are cleansed with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.

Why blood? Blood represent life; the life is in the blood. So this requires the shedding of blood; the giving of Christ’s life as a payment for sin.

Hebrews 10:4 For it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.

You have to have a blood sacrifice, but the blood sacrifice that we offer is ineffectual; it cannot take away sin.

How would you answer the following question? I thought the people of Israel who offered sacrifices on the Day of Atonement their sins were forgiven. Weren’t they? Weren’t these people saved by bringing these sacrifices and offering them? Didn’t God say that if you do this I will forgive your sin? What does Hebrews mean when it says, the blood of bulls and goats cannot take away sin? Whether or not they fully understood this, how much they could comprehend, but from God’s perspective He attaches, as it were, the significance of the future sacrifice of Christ with these sacrifices of animals. Bull and goats being sacrificed are connected with the future sacrifice of Christ which in God’s mind is how certain that it is going to happen? Is Christ crucified before the foundation of the world? We were elect in Christ before the foundation of the world. He was foreknown before the foundation of the world (I Peter 1:20). In God’s mind this is as good as done and on the basis of that He can make the type and anti-type connection a legitimate one. In and of themselves, the blood of bulls and goats is absolutely ineffectual. They don’t do a think for making the payment; only because they are connected to the actual payment that is made. It is sort of like I stopped at the store this morning on my way to my office to buy a valentine present for my wife. I bought it with a credit card. I walked out of that store with something that is mine that I have not paid a penny for and it was legal; I didn’t steal it. If they had stopped me at the door and opened my bag they would have pulled receipt out and they would have seen charged there, oh fine, then it is yours. But I haven’t paid for it. How does this work? The analogy breaks down because it might not work in my case, it possible that I actually won’t pay for it, that could happen. In God’s case it doesn’t break down. But the analogy works this way; there is something legally binding that happened today, namely signing that receipt, and a future action which is making the payment. This the way the sacrificial system works then. It is sort like forgiveness by credit. It is charged ultimately to Christ’s account in so far as where that sin is actually paid for is up there in the future as He makes the payment.

Let me remind you of this amazing statement in Romans 3:25

Romans 3:25 whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation in His blood through faith. This was to demonstrate His righteousness, because in the forbearance of God He passed over the sins previously committed;

Isn’t that an amazing statement in light of the whole Old Testament history of God forgiving their sins. From Paul’s perspective here, what is actually happening was God passed over them. God knew they were not paid for by those animal sacrifices. No payment had been made. Yet they did them because they were types of the anti-type, because they were commanded by God to demonstrate symbolically the future Lamb of God who would take away the sin of the world. So it was that connection with them that rendered them efficacious, of which they could not be efficacious of and in themselves. Like what I did today at the store was not efficacious to make a payment; I didn’t pay anything. So what has to happen is an efficacious payment.

One other element in this that is implied in what I said but I want to make it clear is then that this sacrifice of Christ pays for all sin once for all. The writer of Hebrews emphasizes several kinds of difference between the sacrifices that took place before and the sacrifice of Christ. What is a contrast between the way sacrifices happened before and now in Christ? Repeatedly; you had to this again today, the Day of Atonement every year the priest would have to offer a sacrifice. In Christ here is one sacrifice for all time. Hebrews stresses that the priest had to sacrifice for himself, he had to cleanse his own life first but this one who came did not have to do that; did not have to cleansed first but was able to enter into the holies of holies without that cleansing. Christ is the eternal high priest as opposed to ones that dies. The extent of the sins covered not only temporarily does it not need to be done again but it covers the full extent of sin.

b. The atonement understood as substitution

The death of Christ is substitutionary. John Stott aptly writes that this is at the heart, self satisfaction through self substitution. God substitutes Himself for us by the Father sending the Son to take on our flesh to substitute for the penalty we should pay.

Romans 6:23 confirms what God had told the man in garden in Genesis 2.

Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Isaiah 53:6 indicates that this sin we committed, this inequity went to Christ so He paid for our inequity.

Isaiah 53:6 All of us like sheep have gone astray, Each of us has turned to his own way; But the Lord has caused the iniquity of us all To fall on Him.

The whole notion of substitution has to do with the fact that an offense has been committed, a penalty has been incurred, namely death and another has paid the penalty on our behalf.; hence substitution. There is a lot to this tradition of substitutionary atonement.

1) Old Testament Testimony

Genesis 22 The first place in Scripture that used the Hebrew term for substitute and has a close similarity in picture to the substitutionary atonement of Christ with command of God for Abraham to sacrifice his son Isaac. Here you find that the actual term that is used :instead of” or “in place of” is used in this text. In Genesis 22 Abraham was about to kill his son as God commanded. The Angel of The Lord called to him and stopped him.

Genesis 22:12 He said, “Do not stretch out your hand against the lad, and do nothing to him; for now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from Me.” Genesis 22:13 Then Abraham raised his eyes and looked, and behold, behind him a ram caught in the thicket by his horns; and Abraham went and took the ram and offered him up for a burnt offering in the place of his son.

The Septuagint renders this with the preposition “anti” (ἀντί) which is the strongest term for “substitute,” “in place of,” “instead of,” “as substitute for” His Son. You have that notion there of a type of what God will provide in His Son Christ.

There is a growing view with evangelicalism that we need to drop the notion of substitutionary atonement. Why? Because it is terribly offensive and it is morally repulsive. Why is this? Because it necessitates a notion of a father, in this case God as Father, who offers his son to bear the penalty of another. Not only does he bear the penalty of another he inflicts upon own son the judgment of that penalty by pouring out his wrath on his own son and lets the guilty go free. There is dominant stream of feminist literature that has totally rejected this as orthodoxy’s justification for child abuse and the indication of oppression of a superior to a subordinate. It justifies it because the Father and Son, in that order. If the end justifies the means then what this does, according to this view, it justifies any kind of superior’s oppression of a subordinate in order to accomplish what he wants. That is what the atonement teaches us so; says this new tradition that is out there. There are evangelicals who have bought this. The other element that is so offensive is the notion of wrath. God is not wrathful; so says this view. God is love, He is not mad at anybody He is disappointed. He wishes that we would follow Him and He is grieved at heart that we have strayed from the path that will bring us joy and life and blessing but He is not angry. This view is prominent and it is right now in the main stream of evangelical theology. Joel Green is a prominent New Testament scholar who is the dean of Asbury Seminary in Lexington. He has written a book called Rediscovering the Scandal of the Cross. He bows before the shrine of these feminists who critique the atonement. He has basically nothing but derision to say concerning what he calls the penal substitutionary atonement. If you ask me the question, what view does he put in the place of the substitutionary atonement? I don’t have a clue. I think it is some version of the example theory. Look at how much Christ loved us that He went that far. Look at His obedience that He would go that far. But honestly, there is no wrath, there is no penalty, and there is no substitution. Why the cross? There is no good answer. It just happened to be that ended up that way out of love. Is the cross necessary? It is not at all clear from this book. The reason I am taking time with you on this to help you see substitution is absolutely essential to a biblical understanding of the atonement. We can’t discard it or you discard the atonement.

Leviticus 4-7 If you read that over, you will see that four offerings are required of the people: peace offerings, whole burnt offerings, guilt offerings, and sin offerings. It is very clear that in regard to the sin and guilt offerings that the nature of them is to bring a substitute for sin and the guilt that you have incurred. The sin and guilt offerings require a slaughtered animal to receive pardon by God. Nothing could be clearer that is the case in those chapters; Leviticus 4-7.

Leviticus 16. The chapter on the regulations for the Day of Atonement. This one day a year when one animal would be slaughtered. Two lambs were brought and the other one was sent out into the wilderness. Both were pictures that represent Christ because they represent two aspects of what He did. On one the hand, He went out side the gate for us; so the scapegoat going outside the city of Jerusalem bearing the sins of the people is the scapegoat. On the other hand, when the priest lays his hands on the goat who is slaughtered is a picture of the one who is killed, the blood shed for sin. The two together picture the work of Christ. For our purposes here, they picture substitution because the reason that you do that is that you the community are guilty before God, you sin needs to be paid for. These animals are provided in your place so that your sin and guilt can be paid; they bear the sins of the people.

Isaiah 53:4-6 I will read it in such a way that the substitutionary nature of what is described is unmistakable.

Isaiah 53:4a Surely our griefs He Himself bore,

“Our griefs,” if they are ours, why don’t we bear them? We should that is the point, but He bears them for us. He substitutes for what we ought to be doing. He dies the death we deserve to die, He pays for the sin we committed.

Isaiah 53:4b And our sorrows He carried; Yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken, Smitten of God, and afflicted.

Just imagine if you were a spectator looking at these three men lined up there being crucified on the cross what would you think? Criminal, getting what He deserved, smitten of God, getting His just punishment. That is what it looks like

Isaiah 53:5a But He was pierced through for our transgressions,

What does it look like? He is getting what He deserved. What is it? He is getting what we deserved. Huge difference.

Isaiah 53:5b He was crushed for our iniquities; The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, And by His scourging we are healed.

Can you see how the substitution is spoken of in terms of both what is given to Christ that is ours and what of Christ’s comes to us? What is that you have heard that is going to Christ? Our inequities, our transgressions, our punishment. What is it of Christ’s that is coming to us? Our healing, our well being, peace.

Isaiah 53:6 All of us like sheep have gone astray, Each of us has turned to his own way; But the Lord has caused the iniquity of us all To fall on Him.

2 Corinthians 5:21 He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

Isaiah 53:10 This is in my judgment the most unbelievable, incredible, shocking statement in all of the Bible.

Isaiah 53:10a But the Lord was pleased To crush Him,

The language is not God was pleased with a plan of bringing salvation. It isn’t even that God was pleased that His Son would bring about salvation. There is no other way that it going to happen than that the Father who is the Judge, the One who is pouring out wrath on sin, that the Father be the One who crushed His Son.

Isaiah 53:10b putting Him to grief; If He would render Himself as a guilt offering, He will see His offspring, He will prolong His days, And the good pleasure of the Lord will prosper in His hand.

The outcome of this is the exaltation of Christ that comes as He accomplishes this mighty work.

It is very clear that the Old Testament affirms the substitutionary nature of sacrifice and foretells the substitutionary nature of the sacrifice of Christ. You ask, what do they do with these passages? Look at the Scripture index in the back of this book by Joel Green Recovering the Scandal of the Cross. He devoted two thirds of one page to the book of Hebrews, I don’t think Isaiah 53 made the book, I am not sure, I would have to take a look again. But this is how you do it and it makes me angry. It is sold by Intervarsity Press and is supposedly some great scholarly accomplishment and it is honestly not worth the paper it is written on in terms of careful scholarly, faithful biblical writing.

There are other analogies; it is not as if those are wrong it is just that they are partial. What they pick up on rather than sin and guilt which requires wrath and condemnation so they scrape that, what we need is someone to pave the way, chart the course for our reconciliation with God. Because it is still by trusting in Christ that we see the path to go. Trusting in Christ for what exactly? For a payment made on my behalf that otherwise I would have to pay that is bringing on me eternal condemnation, no. It is not that, so what is it? This is why I said that I read that book with such frustration in part because how horribly it portrays the church’s view of the atonement. Also because of what do put in its place? It is just not clear at all what is there. There is a little bit of Christus Victor in this book where He triumphs over Satan. That is big in Greg Boyd and his writings. There is a little bit of that in this model. But what there is nothing is personal sin, guilt, wrath, condemnation, judgment in Christ bearing our sins; it is gone.

2) New Testament Testimony

There is a lot of New Testament testimony to the substitutionary nature of the death of Christ.

John 1:29

John 1:29 The next day he saw Jesus coming to him and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!

Obviously there is an intended continuity between the previous lambs offered for sin that were substitutes and now this Lamb, namely God’s Lamb who substitutes for sin. Substitution is implicit in that statement and is clear from it connection to the sacrificial system that has taken place.

Mark 10:45 and Matthew 20:28 they are the same statement by Jesus.

Mark 10:45 “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”

Matthew 20:28 just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”

The “for” there is the word “anti” (ἀντί).

The preposition “anti” (ἀντί) in Greek is the clearest one that indicates substitution, “in place of,” “instead of.” He gave His life a ransom “instead of” us, “in place of us.” Most of the references to substitutionary atonement use instead of “anti” (ἀντί) they use “hyper” (ὑπέρ). Hyper (ὑπέρ) as a preposition can mean one of two things. It can mean simply doing something “for the benefit” of another or it can mean doing something “instead of,” or “in the place of” another. The word “for” is also translated the same way. In John 10:11 “I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep. A number of people have tried to argue is that word used is “hyper” (ὑπέρ) it is not “anti” (ἀντί). He is not saying that He gives His life “instead of” the sheep or “in the place of” the sheep He is just giving His life “for the benefit.” So all it means is “for the benefit” it doesn’t require substitution to be true. Here is my response. What is true of “hyper” (ὑπέρ) is also true of the English word “for” namely that it can mean merely “for the benefit of” or it can mean “in the place of” it depends on the context. An example for this. If you had a rich uncle and he sent you a check for $500 with a little note attached to it and he said This is for you, hope you enjoy it. This is “hyper” (ὑπέρ) in the weaker sense of it. This for you, it is “for your benefit” it doesn’t mean that it is “in the place of” anything, it just “for your benefit.” What if though he knew you had an outstanding loan that you had to pay off for $500? Now you get a check in the mail and he said a little birdie told me about the debt that you have and here is a check for you. The “for you” now means that this payment is to take the place of one you would have to pay. This check is for you in this context means that it substitutes. My check substitutes for you check. I submit to you that if you look at the context of these verses where “hyper” (ὑπέρ) is used, Christ gave Himself for us, that in many of them it is clear that the way in which Christ gives Himself for us is “in our place” and in a number of them the context require that understanding. So even though “anti” (ἀντί) is not used (“anti” (ἀντί is use rarely, “hyper” (ὑπέρ) is used commonly) the context argue for the stronger meaning of “hyper” (ὑπέρ).

John 10:11

John 10:11 “I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep.

What does this mean when you are talking about wolves coming and endangering the flock and the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep? Yes it is for their benefit, that is agreed but it means more than that. He gives His life in exchange for or in order to save the lives of the sheep. So He gives His life in the place of, He gives His life in exchange for the sheep.

Galatians 3:13 here we have “hyper” (ὑπέρ) also.

Galatians 3:13 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law, having become a curse for us—for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”—

Who had the curse? We did, we were the Law breaker and we deserved to suffer the curse of the Law; that was ours. So if He becomes a curse for us then He suffers that curse instead of us suffering it. Clearly substitution is implied in that.

Ephesians 5:2

Ephesians 5:2a and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us,

Here you might know if whether is it “for” as “in your benefit” merely or “for” as in “in the place of” or “instead of” but keep reading the rest of the verse.

Ephesians 5:2b an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma.

It is connecting to the sacrificial act by which something is sacrificed and we are set free.

Hebrews 2:9

Hebrews 2:9 But we do see Him who was made for a little while lower than the angels, namely, Jesus, because of the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, so that by the grace of God He might taste death for everyone.

He would die, taste death, so that we would not die, “in the place of.” He would taste death for us by Him dying “in our place.”

I submit to you, this is the clear teaching in the New Testament of the substitutionary nature of the death of Christ.

John 11:50 nor do you take into account that it is expedient for you that one man die for the people, and that the whole nation not perish.” John 11:51 Now he did not say this on his own initiative, but being high priest that year, he prophesied that Jesus was going to die for the nation,

Romans 5:6 For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly.

Romans 5:8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

Romans 8:32 He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things?

2 Corinthians 5:21 He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

Galatians 2:20 “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.

Ephesians 5:25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her,

1 Timothy 2:6 who gave Himself as a ransom for all, the testimony given at the proper time.

Titus 2:14 who gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed, and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds.

1 Peter 3:18 For Christ also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, so that He might bring us to God, having been put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit;

My proposal to you, on the basis of a number of usages of “hyper” (ὑπέρ) where it clear that it means “in the place of.” This in all likelihood is the predominate meaning in all of those passages. At the basic level everyone knows that it is “for our benefit.” The question becomes, in what way is it for our benefit? The answer to that is, by taking to Himself the payment, the curse, the sin or whatever the text is referring to that is rightly ours and He pays it on our behalf.

Texts which don’t relate to “hyper” (ὑπέρ) but are other texts on the substitutionary atonement.

Romans 3:23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, Romans 3:24 being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus; Romans 3:25 whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation in His blood through faith. This was to demonstrate His righteousness, because in the forbearance of God He passed over the sins previously committed;

This is a crucial passage

Hebrews 7:26 For it was fitting for us to have such a high priest, holy, innocent, undefiled, separated from sinners and exalted above the heavens; Hebrews 7:27 who does not need daily, like those high priests, to offer up sacrifices, first for His own sins and then for the sins of the people, because this He did once for all when He offered up Himself.

Hebrews 9:28 so Christ also, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time for salvation without reference to sin, to those who eagerly await Him.

1 Peter 2:24 and He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed.

1 John 2:2 and He Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world.

c. The atonement understood as Redemption

This in some ways can be argued as the central aspect of the atonement in so far as it describes the actual payment of the price. Substitution is the fact that He took our place in doing this. Doing what? Making the payment. Sacrifice indicates the way in which it is done by giving His life. Propitiation is what it means to God that now He is satisfied in it. Expiation means that we are no longer guilty. We should view redemption as the center of all of it. Sacrifice, substitution are almost adjectival; sacrificial redemption, substitutionary redemption. Redemption is the biblical category describes most clearly what actually transpires on the cross as He substitutes for us, as He makes His sacrifice for us.

What is this redemption? The term “agorazō” (ἀγοράζω) is a term that refers to buying something out of the marketplace. It is a very common term that is used in Koine Greek for making a purchase at the “agora” (ἀγορά) the marketplace. So “agorazō” (ἀγοράζω) is purchase something at the marketplace. Just picture yourself going to Kroger and you are redeeming something. I grew up long enough ago that I can remember my mother (I was really little and I can hardly remember this) collecting green stamps and putting them in these books. As soon as she would get these books filled she would take them to a redemption center and for so many pages of these green stamps you could get a coffee pot or a lamp, dishes or something like that. This is the idea that it is an actual purchase that takes place. Theologically this means that Christ gives His life as the payment price necessary to secure our release from the bondage and guilt of sin.

Some key terms:

agorazō (ἀγοράζω)

1 Corinthians 6:20 For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body.

1 Corinthians 7:23 You were bought with a price; do not become slaves of men.

2 Peter 2:1 But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will also be false teachers among you, who will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing swift destruction upon themselves.

This speaks clearly of unbelievers.

Galatians 3:13 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law, having become a curse for us—for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”—

He redeemed us from “exagorazō” (ἐξαγοράζω)

Revelation 5:9 And they sang a new song, saying, “Worthy are You to take the book and to break its seals; for You were slain, and purchased for God with Your blood men from every tribe and tongue and people and nation.

lytron (λύτρον) This word is often translated as release or ransom.

Matthew 20:28 just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”

Titus 2:14 who gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed, and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds.

1 Peter 1:18 knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers,

This one has raised the question, to whom is the ransom payment made? In what sense are we bought? Who has us? If you go to Kroger and buy a gallon of milk, that means Kroger had the gallon of milk, you pay Kroger for it and so then you take the milk home with you. Doesn’t a ransom payment indicate that Christ makes a payment to someone? It has been an attractive view over the centuries that because we are held captive to sin and Satan then the payment would be made to Satan for him to release his hold upon us. If we are in his clutches, isn’t this what happened. In the ransom theory, Satan gets Christ as payment for these people; so God gets the people. What happens to the Son? According to the agreement that they made Satan is suppose to keep Him but here according to the ransom theory is where the little trick comes; God pulls a fast one. By raising Christ from the dead because Satan had Him (death is his major weapon, we have no power over death so Satan can hold us in death) and gets us and gets His Son back so Satan is foiled in this. For two reasons people have thought that this is not the case that we ought to think instead that the purchase is made to God not Satan. One is that there is absolutely no indication scripturally that a payment is made to Satan and along with that the notion that God would make an agreement with Satan and then pull a fast one on him, break the agreement is on ethical grounds unacceptable. God does not break His promises. He does not go back on agreements He has made.

What should we hold? We should that the payment is made (get the significance of this) by whom? By the Father offering His Son. It is made to whom? To the Father. God’s love pays God’s holiness. God’s graciousness devices a way by which the demands of His justice against us can be paid. God pays God. God’s love pays His holiness. Don’t push that in terms of dividing God up. What is motivated by it is mercy. If all we had was holiness and sin we would have hell, we would not have salvation.

Passages which indicate that the payment is made to God.

Revelation 5:9 And they sang a new song, saying, “Worthy are You to take the book and to break its seals; for You were slain, and purchased for God with Your blood men from every tribe and tongue and people and nation.

Hebrews 9:12 and following. There are two ways in which this passage argues for God being the one who is paid by the death of Christ.

Hebrews 9:13 For if the blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkling those who have been defiled sanctify for the cleansing of the flesh, Hebrews 9:14 how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?

He offered Himself without blemish to God

Hebrews 9:15 For this reason He is the mediator of a new covenant, so that, since a death has taken place for the redemption of the transgressions that were committed under the first covenant, those who have been called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance.

He instituted a new covenant because the old covenant was broken and He had to provide a death in order to satisfy the demands of the old covenant. What was the old covenant that He is referring to? The Mosaic Covenant, the Law. Who are the parties of the old covenant? God and His people, Israel. Who broke the old covenant? Israel. In a covenant arrangement who is responsible for mending the breach when the covenant is broken? The party responsible. But in this case, who does it? God. So God satisfies the demands of the first covenant. He can’t set aside the old covenant and bring in a new one until the demands of the old covenant are met. What are the demands of the old covenant? Death for sin: Deuteronomy 28. If you obey Me, I will bless you. If you don’t obey Me you are cursed and you will die. Who is it then that has to be repaid for this covenant breach? It is the innocent party. So God pays God. The innocent party, not the guilty party pays for covenant agreement being met in order for God to institute the new covenant which will never be broken; as we are told in Jeremiah 31. So the payment is made by God to God. In this is unspeakable grace and glory.