Friday, October 22, 2010

Isaiah 53 and the Atonement

Nowhere is the substitutionary nature of the atonement made more clear that in Isaiah 53. Clearly in the Bible the benefits of salvation come through Jesus’ blood:

Isaiah 53:5 But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, And by His scourging we are healed.
6All 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.

When it says he was pierced “for our transgressions” it does not mean as you might suppose ‘the reason he died is because sinful men did it’ (although it is true sinful men did do it). It means ‘in the place of’. Notice the specificity of Scripture. We sinned. He is pierced and crushed for our iniquities. We know this because it is a chastening for our well being that falls on Him. He does something for us in dying for our transgression. We are spiritual healed because He is scoured for us. The passage clearly tells us we are actually healed by what He does. He bears the sin on our behalf, in our place.

The guilt was supposed to be against us, God people. But according to the last half of Isaiah 53:8 “That He was cut off out of the land of the living For the transgression of my people, to whom the stroke was due”

His death bears our iniquities--our guilt and sin. This comes as part of the good pleasure of the Father:

Isaiah 53:10 But the Lord was pleased To crush Him, 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.
11As a result of the anguish of His soul, He will see it and be satisfied; By His knowledge the Righteous One, My Servant, will justify the many, As He will bear their iniquities.

Please read God’s Word carefully here and do not take my word for it. The language of Scripture is clear: Jesus is a guilt offering. Guilt offerings were sacrifices that bore the iniquity of a guilty party. As a result of Jesus’ death, the LORD is satisfied. So he justifies many people, why? Because he bears their iniquity. He has their sin placed like a burden on His back. When Jesus does this for us, the LORD actually in turn declares many other people to be righteous. This is the great exchange:
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.”

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