Search Bible Outlines and commentaries




Who will pay the penalty of divine wrath for your sins?

– There is no question that each of us has sinned and we are characterized as sinners before a holy God who has established the standard.

Rom. 3:23 “For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.”

You would be foolish to try to argue the point that you are fundamentally a sinner.

You need to understand the holiness of God and His just and righteous nature.

– There is no question that the penalty for sin is divine wrath.

Rom. 6:23 “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

Divine wrath is a painful punishment that would last for eternity with no escape apart from the provision of salvation through Jesus Christ.

Pattern of divine imputation – both of sin in that we all died in Adam and of righteousness in that the second Adam has established a righteousness that can be ours so that when God looks at us He sees Christ.

The only question = Who will pay the penalty of divine wrath for your sins?

2 Options:

– You pay the penalty for your own sins – “the soul that sinneth it must die”

– Christ, the perfect substitutionary lamb provided by God the Father who has already been sacrificed, pays your penalty




MacArthur: These three verses may be the most magnificent verses in the entire Old Testament.

The heart of the fourth servant song — The heart of the NT gospel message – at the heart of the gospel is the Cross of Christ – needs to be at the heart of our gathering together as believers and the focus of our lives as disciples of Christ



What really happened on the Cross?

A. Bore the Weight of Our Sins

“Surely our griefs He Himself bore,

And our sorrows He carried;”

Transition verse – picking up on the ideas of vs. 3 and moving forward into the realm of His substitutionary, atoning death – all about the personal pronouns – contrast between Him and us – He suffered but we were the ones guilty of sinning

Oswalt: The metaphors take us back to the initial picture Isaiah gave us in 1:5-6.

As a result of its rebellion, the nation is desperately ill, a mass of open sores and unbandaged wounds. What is to be done? Not more hypocritical worship (1:10-15)! No, what is needed is just and righteous living (1:16-20). But can that atone for the past, cleanse the wounds, destroy the infection? No, writing new words over the old ones will not blot out the old ones. Someone must come to wipe the slate clean (4:4). Someone must take the disease and give back health, must bear the blows and give back wealth (in its original sense of “well being”).

Motyer: Whatever people may have thought about the sorrows and sufferings they saw, the truth was dramatically different.

MacArthur: The word for “griefs” is sickness. It’s diseases, infirmities, calamities, pretty broad word. And here sins are viewed from the perspective of their effects. Sins are viewed from the perspective of what they produce, the conditions that come from sin. Life becomes full of sickness, disease, infirmity, calamity. These are the griefs. And it’s a word that looks mostly at the objective, the outside, the agonies and struggles and issues that we deal with in life. . . sorrows is a word that refers mostly to the inward effect of sin.

Language of carrying and bearing comes from sacrificial system laid out in Leviticus – look at chap. 16

Oswalt: The Servant is not suffering with his people (however unjustly) but for them.

Scott Grant: Whose griefs and sorrows is he bearing and carrying? Isaiah, referring to them as “our” griefs and sorrows, is speaking at least for the believing Jewish community, who didn’t at first believe the message concerning the Servant but later owned that message (Isaiah 53:1-3). . .

So on the first level, when Isaiah speaks of “our” griefs and sorrows, he’s speaking of Israel’s griefs and sorrows. Yet the Apostle John says Jesus is the “propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world” (1 John 2:2).

Issue = The Extent of the Atonement – Universal or Limited and Particular and Definite??

John Greer: The Extent of the Atonement

Atonement: vicarious, necessary and definite – most certainly secured the salvation of all those He represented; acted as their substitute; secured eternal life for those people;

[vs. Arminian notion: Lord’s death just made salvation possible and sinner must secure it by their own efforts]

Really looking at the extent of the atonement – general and universal or definite and particular;

Eph. 5:25 – gave Himself for the church which he loves

John 10:11 – gave his life for the sheep; not the goats as well

What about verses that say that Christ gave Himself a ransom for all??

Verses that refer to the world or all or all men lead some to say it is universal; but a statement must be interpreted in its own context; so you can’t just glibly try to proof text

“world” is used in a variety of ways in bible

B. Suffered the Heavy Hand of God’s Wrath – But Why??

“Yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken,

Smitten of God, and afflicted.”

Unquestioned suffering and punishment – but was it for His own sins or for our sins is the key question

Instead of rejoicing in the Savior’s work on the cross we wrongly judge Him as worthy of the punishment – just as Job’s counselors jumped to the assumption that bad things could only happen to bad people

Man’s judgment is a product of his fallen sinful nature; we are inclined to see things incorrectly

Beall: In other words, continuing the imagery of sickness, though He bore our sicknesses, we not only did not recognize what He did, we considered His affliction to be the punishment of God for His own sins.

Oswalt: The very things that made us think him of no account are the things for which we ought to honor him, because it is for our sake he is enduring them.

MacArthur: The word “stricken” is to strike violently, a very violent word used in Exodus 11:1 of the plagues. The word “smitten” means basically to beat someone even to death. And the word “afflicted” a general word, to be humiliated, to be degraded, to be destroyed. So we thought that when He was being smashed and beaten and degraded and humiliated, that this was God doing it because He was a blasphemer. . .

Now we know all those griefs, all those sorrows were ours. Truly our griefs He Himself bore, and our sorrows He carried. We had esteemed Him stricken, smitten by God and afflicted. We thought that God was punishing Him for His blasphemy. Now, we know He was pierced through for our transgressions, crushed for our iniquities, chastened for our well-being, scourged for our healing.” Complete reversal of the estimate concerning Christ. They admit their horrible error in that future day. They will confess. They know the history of Jesus. They know He was pierced; they know He was crushed, or bruised. They know He was punished at the end of a mock trial. They know He was scourged.

David Thompson: Most people in the world think something about Jesus Christ and about what happened to Jesus Christ. Most people make some kind of mental calculation concerning Jesus Christ. But what most think isn’t sound or right. Instead of them esteeming Him and loving Him and believing in Him, most have come up with their own pathetic views and philosophies and opinions. In fact, in the history of theology there have been all kinds of faulty notions concerning the value of the death of Jesus Christ:

1) Origen (A.D. 185-254) said he thought Christ died to pay a ransom price to Satan to purchase men.

2) Pelagius (A.D. 354-420) said Christ died as a moral example to us all so we will be obedient even to God even when we suffer, to show that God loves us.

3) Faustus Socinus (A.D.1539-1604) said that Christ’s death was so that He might morally influence sinful men to follow Him.

4) Peter Abelard (A.D. 1079-1142) said that Christ’s death was designed to show us God loved us.

5) Thomas Aquinas (A.D. 1225-1274) said that Christ’s death was not required by God to satisfy our sin problem with God, but it did allow a type of satisfaction. In other words, man can in some ways take care of his own sin problem without Christ’s death.

6) Hugo Grotius (A.D. 1583-1645) said Christ’s death demonstrates to all of us that the justice of God demand we suffer.

7) Some invented the idea that Jesus Christ died as a martyr to demonstrate His sincerity to His doctrine.

8) Some said that Christ died so He could identify with any person who dies.


What did Jesus accomplish?

A. Punished for Our Sins (Transgressions and Iniquities)

1. Pierced Through

“But He was pierced through for our transgressions,”

Zech. 12:10 “they will look on Me whom they have pierced “

Ps. 22:16 “they pierced my hands and my feet”

Scott Grant: The word translated “pierced through” usually meant being pierced fatally. The word “crushed” was usually used of being crushed to death (Lamentations 3:34). The Servant will suffer a brutal and painful death for “our” sins

2. Crushed

“He was crushed for our iniquities;”

Delitzsch: “Pierced through” and “crushed” describe extreme distress resulting in death (cf. 51:9 piercing the dragon; Job 26:13 pierced the fleeing serpent; Ps. 109:22; Lam. 3:34). The Hebrew words behind these terms are the strongest ones in that language for violent and excruciating death.

Constable: It was God who was behind the piercing and crushing of the Servant (vv. 6, 10). It was as though the Servant took the whipping that we deserved for being rebellious children (cf. Rom. 4:25; 1 Cor. 15:3; Heb. 5:8; 9:28; 1 Pet. 2:24-25).

MacArthur: “Iniquities” = Essentially it’s a word that means to bend double, twisted like a pretzel, to bend double. It’s perversions.

B. Punished to Secure Our Salvation

1. Our Well-being

“The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him,”

Shalom — peace

2. Our Healing

“And by His scourging we are healed.”

Oswalt: This is not a matter of a raging tyrant who demands violence on someone to satisfy his fury. It is a God who wants a whole relationship with his people, but is prevented from having it until incomplete justice is satisfied. In the Servant he has found a way to gratify his love and satisfy his justice.

Is physical healing promised in the Atonement?

David Thompson: It is true that Jesus Christ, while on earth, did physically heal people, but that is not what this text in Isaiah is talking about. This text is talking about Him be lifted up on the cross so that He could remove the sorrow and sadness from us that has been brought on by the disease of sin.

He saw all of the consequences of sin and He went to that cross to settle the sin issue. This is precisely how the Apostle Peter interpreted this text when he said, “He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross … for by His wounds you were healed” (I Peter 2:24-25). As John Calvin said, this is not talking about the fact that Jesus Christ was appointed to be the physician of bodies, but the great physician of souls (Isaiah, p. 115).


This text used twice in NT:

Matt. 8:16 – fulfillment language of book of Matthew; healing ministry of Jesus and casting out of demons was cited as a fulfillment of Is. 53:4 – how does this fit??

Quoting Don Carson: healing ministry of Jesus is itself a function of his substitutionary death by which he lays the foundation for destroying sickness.

What happens every time Jesus casts out a demon? Point forward to the cross = A demonstration of victory and dominion over the kingdom of Satan – the Cross = the great overthrow of Satan and his kingdom

By faith you need to claim your healing since it has already been provided;

All blessings and all benefits that God’s children experience come through the atoning work of Christ;

Are there times when God heals His children in temporal sense? Yes

What is purchased for us in the cross is not temporal healing but the ultimate healing of the body = resurrection and glorification of the body

Physical healing is not the main focus of the text or even central to our redemption; you don’t need to experience physical healing to be saved

We cannot and should not demand temporal healing as if it were our right due to the atonement;

Still we pray for healing

God uses sickness as a sanctifying influence in our lives (cf. David Brainerd who died at 29);

Talking about a far greater healing than God helping you to get over whooping cough;

Sickness won’t send you to hell but your sins will


Why did Jesus have to die on the cross and suffer God’s wrath?

Keep asking the Why question until you get down to the root cause

A. My Rebellion = Choosing to Go My Own Way

“All of us like sheep have gone astray,

Each of us has turned to his own way;”

Constable: Sheep are notoriously shortsighted; they go after the next clump of grass without regard to where their feet may lead them. They are also self-centered; their only thought is how they can satisfy themselves with no concern for the welfare of other sheep. Consequently sheep often get lost. Humans are the same.

Prov. 16:25 “There is a way which seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death”

John 14:6 “Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life”

B. My Iniquity = Perversion

“But the LORD has caused the iniquity of us all To fall on Him.”

Scott Grant: Each of the other sections in this stanza contained four lines. The final section contains three lines. The abrupt ending causes our minds to focus on this last line: “But the Lord has caused the iniquity of us all to fall on him.”

Required a perfect sacrificial lamb; one who had lived a life of righteousness Himself and in Him was no sin

MacArthur: You remember in Leviticus 16 that when atonement was made, one animal was killed and one animal was kept alive. And the priests would lay their hands on that one animal, the scapegoat, as if to place all the sins of the people on the scapegoat and he would be sent out into the wilderness, never to return again, never. Jesus is the scapegoat. He picks up all our sin, pays the penalty in full. He’s the sacrificial animal as well, and He’s the scapegoat and carries them all away.

David Thompson: He hung on that old rugged cross from 9 in the morning until 3 in the afternoon. For the first three hours, men did everything they could do to Jesus Christ to make things miserable. Men laughed at him, insulted him, spit on Him, sat down by His cross just to watch Him die.

But then at noon, God turned the world dark, shutting off from human vision the transactions that were actually taking place between God the Father and God the Son. At this point, Jesus Christ, who knew no sin was made sin for us and He took on Him the full wrath of God.


The gospel is quite simple. If you get this concept of substitutionary atoning death of Christ, you get it.

MacArthur: There’s only one way to understand the death of Christ and that is under the principle of penal substitution. He was our substitute to take the penalty for our sins, to satisfy the justice of God. The New Testament affirms this, doesn’t it? Second Corinthians 5:21, “God made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.” Peter puts it this way, “He bore in His own body our sins.” And Paul says in Galatians 3, “He was a curse for us.” That’s the New Testament affirmation of the truth of Isaiah 53. God has then not dealt with us according to our iniquities, He has not dealt with us according to our transgressions. But nor has He overlooked our sins, rather He has punished His Son, the Servant, the Messiah in our place and grace reigns over righteousness.

David Thompson: If you can walk away from this passage and reject Jesus Christ, you deserve to go to hell, because this text informs us that Jesus Christ paid the total price for your sin so you do not have to go there.