Gary: In this segment, Understanding the Scriptures, we continue our exploration of the Doctrine of Salvation. Our specific reference point this week is the 53rd chapter of Isaiah. Again, along with Dave Hunt, here’s T.A. McMahon.
Tom: As we mentioned last week, Isaiah 53 is an astounding picture of the cross, an incredibly clear presentation of what Jesus did for us, isn’t it? Well, let’s continue with verse 5: “But he was wounded for our transgressions. He was bruised for our iniquities. The chastisement of our peace was upon him, and with his stripes we are healed.” Dave, this is the Lord of the Universe here.
Dave: Mm-hmm. He’s telling us that God’s justice had to be satisfied. I remember having a debate recently with a Roman Catholic apologist, and he was denying that. He was saying that God was “appeased.” That Christ didn’t pay the penalty. Well, it clearly says, “He was wounded for our transgressions; he was bruised for our iniquities. The chastisement (that is, the judgment) that we deserved was upon him. And with his stripes we are healed.” And by the way, it doesn’t mean physical healing. It means spiritual healing—healed from sin and its penalty, and we get that in 1 Peter 2: “Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we being dead to sin should henceforth live unto righteousness, by whose stripes we are healed.”
Tom: And that doesn’t mean—just going back to the debate that I was stunned to watch, because this apologist kept saying, no, Jesus did not pay the full penalty.
Tom: This says, “healed.” This is God, who became a man to pay the penalty for our sin. Where would you come up with the idea that He only partially paid…
Dave: Well, because as you know in Catholicism, if He paid the full penalty, then the Catholic Church is out of business, because this is what the sacraments are about. This is what the Eucharist or Mass is about. You never get saved, but you get another “infusion of grace.” The graces and merits that Christ won on the cross, so they would say, are being dispensed to us gradually and continuously through the Mass.
But if Christ paid the full penalty, then why do you have to keep saying Mass after Mass after Mass? In other words, when evangelicals meet to take the bread and the cup, it is as Christ said, “In remembrance” of Him, remembrance of the finished work, whereas for the Catholic, it’s an ongoing sacrifice, the sacrifice of the Mass. And there’s an anathema if you dare to say that this is not a propitiatory sacrifice that is being offered for the sins of the living and the dead. Anathema to you, if you dare to say that this is a remembrance of something that was completed 1,900 years ago.
He had to say that. But when Christ died upon the cross, as He gave His Spirit into His Father’s hands, He said, “It is finished!” There is no more sacrifice for sin (Hebrews 9 and 10 tell us). “That Christ has appeared once in the end of the age to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself.”
So the work is finished! So this is an incredible verse here. It’s telling me “the chastisement of our peace”—for there to be peace with God, the penalty had to be paid. I had to be chastised—you know, you’re a father; you’ve got five children. I’m sure you had to discipline them from time to time. And until…
Tom: I still do! The young ones.
Dave: Right! And when there is a violation of the family rules or whatever it may be, or of God’s will, causes a breach in your relationship, and that isn’t healed…there’s no peace…until there’s been some chastisement. And the Bible says that God chastens every son, even after we’re saved, we’re still being chastened. But there is a chastening for our sins to paying the full penalty that we could never endure, so Christ endured that. This is what this verse is very clearly saying.
Verse 4: “Surely He had borne our griefs and carried our sorrows, yet we esteemed him stricken and smitten of God and afflicted.” “Sorrows” there is our sicknesses. So, He fulfilled that when He healed (Matthew:8:17 tells us, specifically), but the healing of our sin is through His paying the penalty upon the cross.
Tom: And that’s reconciliation, which is what He accomplished for us. Continuing on with verse 6: “All we like sheep have gone astray. We have turned every one to his own way and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.” And, Dave, once again, the full penalty for sin was paid for by Christ.
Dave: Mm-hmm. Sounds like it. Sheep are very stupid. I don’t know much about sheep; I had some little experiences with them down in New Zealand—they’ve got more sheep than people there—about ten times as many. But they’re very stupid. They have to have a shepherd. They have to have…. Some of these little critters can do a pretty good job of taking care of themselves. They peck their way out of the shell, and immediately they can start pecking for food. I saw geese on a little island in a pond, and the minute they were hatched, they could swim! But sheep have to have a shepherd—somebody that watches over them. And they’re stupid. They will wander away.
And we have wandered off of the path that God intended for us. Like sheep, we’ve each taken our own independent way. And the Bible says “There’s a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death. And so, it’s not just a light thing, but turning away from God is unrighteousness. Turning away from God is rebellion, because we’re not stupid as sheep are. We know what we’re doing, and man has deliberately tried to play God, and has taken his own way in opposition to what God created him for and what God wanted for him.
And so, that’s iniquity. And our iniquity was laid on Christ. And, again, it sounds like He paid the penalty for it.
Tom: Mm-hmm. Verse 7: “He was oppressed and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth. He is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before the shearers is dumb, so he opened not his mouth.” And there’s a lot of controversy related to who killed Jesus. You have the Romans being blamed, and then the Jews being blamed, and so on. But Christ was our sacrifice, wasn’t He? It’s not to deny that we—all of us—crucified the Lord of glory.
Tom: But still, it wasn’t against His will. He went as the meek and lowly Lamb of God to the slaughter.
Dave: He opened not His mouth because He stood in our place, and we had nothing to say. We had no defense. He took the penalty for us. He was oppressed, He was afflicted—that’s what men did to Him. We have to understand that the physical sufferings of Christ on the Cross don’t save anybody. That would only add to our condemnation. That’s what we did. So, the oppression and the affliction was on the part of man, who mocked Him and jeered and nailed Him to the cross. And did what they could to make it painful for Him, but at the same time, He was bruised—we come to that verse later, verse 10: “It pleased the Lord (Jehovah) to bruise him.” So, God put Him to grief. And Peter could say on the Day of Pentecost, “Him being delivered by the determined counsel and foreknowledge of God, you have taken, by wicked hands, have crucified and slain.” So we have the two sides to this.
Dave: And Isaiah 55 lays it out very clearly.
Tom: Yeah. In Romans, Paul writes (chapter 5, verses 8-9, its says), “But God commendeth his love toward us in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more now being justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.” We’re talking about our Lord and Savior here, what He did. This is really staggering…