Penal Substitution and Isaiah 53 (Sermon Notes)

“Jesus Carried Our Sins”
(Isaiah 52:13 – 53:12)

By Greg Gibson

Problem: God’s justice must punish us, but His love desired to forgive us.

Solution: Penal substitution (substitutionary atonement) by God Himself paying our penalty.

Only the God-man, Jesus, could qualify as the substitute.

    Animal sacrifices couldn’t take away sin: “it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins” (Heb. 10:4).

    Mere human sacrifice couldn’t take away sin: “No man can redeem the life of another or give to God a ransom for him” (Ps. 49:7).

Pictures of penalties paid by a human substitute:

    1. Billion dollar debt paid by the lender.

    2. Murderer judged guilty and given the death penalty, but paid by the judge.

Old Testament pictures of Christ’s sacrifice by substitution:

    1. Adam and Eve: God made clothes of skin to cover Adam and Eve’s guilt (Gen. 3:21, cf. 3:7).

    2. Abraham and Isaac: “He went over and took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering instead of his son” (Gen. 22:7-14).

    3. Israel’s Passover: God saw the blood and passed over in judgment (Ex. 12:13, 23, 27). “Christ our Passover lamb has been sacrificed” (1 Cor. 5:7).

Isaiah 53 is a Messianic prophecy from ~700 B.C., yet fulfilled in the 1st century. (Evidence that God wrote Scripture through men.)

The “servant” in 52:13 and 53:11 is the same Messiah prophesied earlier in Isaiah:

    “The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel (God with us)” (Is. 7:14).

    “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace” (Is. 9:6).

1. Messiah Will Suffer, Yet Be Exalted (Isaiah 52:13 – 53:3)

“Did not the Christ have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?” (Lk. 24:26).

“And they struck him in the face” (Jn. 19:3; Mt. 26:67, 27:30).

“He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him” (Jn. 1:11).

“…and became obedient to death – even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name” (Phil. 2:8-9).

“Exalted to the right hand of God” (Acts 2:33).

2. Messiah Will Be Punished as Our Substitute (Isaiah 53:4-6)

Penal substitution: “Surely he took up our weaknesses and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him…and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all” (53:4-6).

“He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed. For you were like sheep going astray” (1 Pet. 2:24).

“God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Cor. 5:21).

“the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave himself for our sins” (Gal. 1:3-4).

*Application: Next time you’re tempted to sin, remember that Jesus carried your sins (your anger, hatred, pride, boasting, lying, stealing, lust, sexual immorality, idolatry).

Penal substitution: “And by his wounds we are healed” (53:5).

    “He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed. For you were like sheep going astray” (1 Pet. 2:24).

    Not a guarantee of healing in the atonement. Context of Is. 53:5 and 1 Pet. 2:24 is spiritual healing, not physical healing. Sickness is used as a metaphor for sin.

3. Messiah Will Be Like a Perfect Sacrificial Lamb (Isaiah 53:7-9)

Penal substitution: “For the sin of my people he was struck.”

“For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are – yet was without sin” (Heb. 4:15).

“Such a high priest meets our need – one who is holy, blameless, pure set apart from sinners, exalted above the heavens” (Heb. 7:26).

“John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, ‘Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” (Jn. 1:29).

“Then I saw a Lamb, looking as if it had been killed, standing in the center of the throne” (Rev. 5:6).

4. God the Father Planned Messiah’s Mission (Isaiah 53:10)

“Yet it was the LORD’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer”

“This man was handed over to you by God’s set purpose and foreknowledge” (Acts 2:23).

“He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him” (1 Jn. 4:9).

5. Messiah’s Mission Will Succeed (Isaiah 53:11-12)

“After the suffering of his soul, he will see the light of life and be satisfied…Therefore I will give him a portion among the great, and he will divide the spoils with the strong.”

Penal substitution: “he will carry their sins…For he carried the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.”


False Substitutes That Can’t Pay Your Penalty: Baptism, church membership, church attendance, trying to be good.

Only one of 2 people can pay for your sins: You, or God Himself

“Seek the LORD while he may be found; call on him while he is near. Let the wicked forsake his way and the evil man his thought. Let him turn to the LORD, and he will have mercy on him, and to our God, for he will freely pardon” (Is. 55:6-7).

Penal Substitution and Isaiah 53 (Sermon Notes) | 2009 | Sermon Notes | Tags: , , , | Comments (2)

2 Responses to “Penal Substitution and Isaiah 53 (Sermon Notes)”

  1. Joseph L. Ushie says:

    great work. Thanks.

  2. Theodore A. Jones says:

    The real problem with the theory of substitutionary atonement is that Jesus does not support it. He says that that the issue of guilt relative to sin remains as the outstanding issue to be resolved after his crucifixion. Note “When he comes he will convict the world of guilt in regard to sin.” Jn. 16:8. Your idea of salvation is incompatible with his.

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