The Atonement: The Ordeal of the Suffering Servant, Part 3.

“Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.” (Isaiah 53:4-6)

Isaiah 53:4-6 forms the middle section of the five portions of Isaiah’s fourth Servant Song of Yahweh (Isaiah 52:13-53:12). These three verses form what is arguably the most significant statement of substitutionary atonement contained in the Old Testament. Everything Isaiah has written thus far, and everything he will subsequently say, frames these three verses.

Today, we examine Isaiah 53:6. “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.”

What was the proceeding cause which resulted in the corresponding effect for the substitutionary atonement of Christ on the cross on behalf of sinners? The reason given in Isaiah 53:6 is the fallen state of the sinner’s soul.

“All we like sheep have gone astray.” “All” refers to everyone. No exceptions. Within the context, it specifically refers to Israel. Within the broader context of the Scriptures, it refers to all sinners: Jews and Gentiles. “Like sheep” is a simile comparing sinners to sheep. The comparison of humans to sheep is one of the most common images found in Scripture. How are sinners like sheep? “Sinners “have gone astray.” They wander, they deceive themselves and they travel from place to place without any specific goal.

From whom have sinners, like sheep, gone astray? From God and His Word. It is living a life in rebellion against God. It is being a criminal, a debtor and one who is estranged before God. This first occurred in Genesis 3:1-7 and it continues to the present day.

Romans 3:10-20 says, “As it is written: “None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.” “Their throat is an open grave; they use their tongues to deceive.” “The venom of asps is under their lips.” “Their mouth is full of curses and bitterness.” “Their feet are swift to shed blood; in their paths are ruin and misery, and the way of peace they have not known.” “There is no fear of God before their eyes.” Now we know that whatever the law says it speaks to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be stopped, and the whole world may be held accountable to God. For by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin.”

Isaiah continued by saying, “we have turned—every one—to his own way.” This statement infers a turning away from God while at the same time specifically stating that sinners have turned to their own way. This refers to their own way of living, believing, and worshiping, We see this every day.

Due to the fact that every person has sinned and is unable to redeem themselves before God, God chose before the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1:3-11) to redeem sinners.

“And the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.” The LORD interceded by placing the penalty of our sin, the punishment for our iniquity, upon the sinless Lamb of God, the Servant of Yahweh. In other words, Jesus Christ.

2 Corinthians 5:21 says, “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

Dr. John MacArthur writes, “Every person has sinned (Rom. 3:9, 23), but the Servant has sufficiently shouldered the consequences of sin and the righteous wrath deserved by sinners (cf. 1 Tim. 2:5–6; 4:101 John 2:2). The manner in which God laid our iniquity on him was that God treated him as if he had committed every sin ever committed by every person who would ever believe, though he was perfectly innocent of any sin. God did so to him, so that wrath being spent and justice satisfied, God could then give to the account of sinners who believe, the righteousness of Christ, treating them as if they had done only the righteous acts of Christ. In both cases, this is substitution.”

This is what we are to celebrate each and every day, and especially each Lord’s Day. I encourage you to meditate today not only upon the words from Isaiah 53:6, but also from the lyrics to the song Jesus Messiah by Chris Tomlin.

He became sin, who knew no sin
That we might become his righteousness
He humbled himself and carried the cross
Love so amazing, love so amazing

Jesus messiah, name above all names
Blessed redeemer, Emmanuel
The rescue for sinners, the ransom from heaven
Jesus messiah, Lord of all

His body the bread, his blood the wine
Broken and poured out all for love
The whole earth trembled, and the veil was torn
Love so amazing, how can it be? Your love’s so amazing, yeah

Jesus messiah, name above all names
Blessed redeemer, Emmanuel
The rescue for sinners, the ransom from heaven
Jesus messiah, Lord of all

All I hope is in you, all I hope is in you
All the glory to you, God, the light of the world

All I hope is in you (no one else), all I hope is in you
All the glory to you, God, (you are) the light of the world

Jesus messiah, name above all names
Blessed redeemer, Emmanuel
The rescue for sinners, the ransom from heaven
Jesus messiah, Lord of all

Jesus messiah, lord of all
You’re the Lord of all
You’re the Lord of all

 May God’s truth and grace reside here.

Soli deo Gloria!

 

 

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