Eusebius of Caesarea (AD 260-340) is known primarily for his Ecclesiastical History. However, he also produced other lesser known works. The quotation below is taken from his Demonstratio Evangelica (Demonstration of the Gospel) 10.1.
So it is said: “And the Lord hath laid on him our iniquities, and he bears our sins.” Thus the Lamb of God, that taketh away the sins of the world became a curse on our behalf: “Whom, though he knew no sin, God made sin for our sake, giving him as redemption for all, that we might become the righteousness of God in him.”
. . . . Being in the likeness of sinful flesh He condemned sin in the flesh . . . He made our sins His own from His love and benevolence towards us. . . . And the Lamb of God not only did this, but was chastised on our behalf, and suffered a penalty He did not owe, but which we owed because of the multitude of our sins; and so He became the cause of the forgiveness of our sins, because He received death for us, and transferred to Himself the scourging, the insults, and the dishonour, which were due to us, and drew down on Himself the apportioned curse, being made a curse for us.
It is worth pointing out, with regard to this quotation, that at least a couple of different commentators have noted that if one were to attempt to give a definition of Penal Substitutionary Atonement, what Eusebius says here would work quite well—some 1400 years before the Reformers “invented” the doctrine.
February 24, 2015