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Penal Substitution Part 2

The Scriptures

What is the penalty for sin?  Did Jesus take the penalty for our sins upon Himself? 

Romans 6:23 describes the penalty for sin in clear concise language:

(Rom 6:23 NKJ) 23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

What does “death” refer to in this passage?  Only physical death?  Since all men are appointed to die (Heb 9:27) that would be absurd or Christ in reality saved no one.  Paul must have spiritual death. This is corroborated in the same verse by a contrast with that of the gift of God that instead gives eternal life.  A contrast with spiritual life means it must be spiritual death.

Isaiah chapter 59 says this about the consequences of sin:

(Isa 59:1-2 NKJ) NKJ  Isaiah 59:1 Behold, the LORD'S hand is not shortened, That it cannot save; Nor His ear heavy, That it cannot hear.

 2 But your iniquities have separated you from your God; And your sins have hidden His face from you, So that He will not hear.

Sin causes God to separate from us.  Nowhere in scripture is this language used in regards to Christ.  In fact, He is our advocate and intercessor TO the Father!!!

But didn’t Jesus purchased our pardon?  Yes! Does that mean he paid the price for our sins? No!

(Act 20:28 NKJ)  28 "Therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood.

Pay attention to the final part of the passage.  What price did Christ pay for the purchasing of the church?  HIS BLOOD!  Not separation from the Father, nor eternal condemnation.

Didn’t Christ also die as a ransom for us?  Doesn’t that mean He took our place (as if we were held hostage and Christ had to intervene by putting Himself under the control of sin to allow for our freedom)?  No! 

Google defines ransom as:

            1. a sum of money or other payment demanded or paid for the release of a prisoner.

The price required to release someone as a prisoner.  No part of the definition determines that the price is the debt the prisoner owes.  The price required to release us from the bonds of sin is NOT the same as the penalty required FOR our sins.  So what was the price?

Please read Matthew 26:28, Romans 5:9 and Ephesians 1:7.

Note: -  The word “redemption” (apolutrosis) in Ephesians 1:7 has the idea of a release effected by a payment of ransom.  What was the price that Christ paid for our release?  It was the requirement God set for sins to be remitted, the shedding and offering of His pure blood as a sacrifice as is evident in the aforementioned verses.

I highly encourage the reader at this point to read Hebrews 9:12 - 28 to better understand what I am referring to.  In this passage, the reason and purpose for the blood is described and the “price” for redemption is clarified.

1 Peter 2:24 (Please Read)

Many read the final part of this passage and understand it to mean that our sins were imputed into Christ’s body, but the phrase “In His own body on the tree” can be taken two ways.  The question is:  What does the “in” refer to?  Does it only refer to the body, or does it refer to the entire action (the body on the tree)?  Please read the two examples below giving pause where the comma has been added (by me) in example A and without the pause in example B.

            A) In “His own body“, on the tree - Signifies the sins were imputed to Christ into His own body.

            B) In “His own body on the tree” - Emphasis is placed on Christ having done it, and that through the entire action of “His own body on the tree” the bearing of sins was accomplished.

I believe Example B to be correct for a few reasons. Does it make sense that emphasis would be placed on Christ having done the action, rather than on His body receiving the emphasis?  Look at verses 20 through 23 of 1 Peter and see how many of the third personal pronouns (third person subjective - “He”, , possesive - “His” and reflexive - “Himself”) are used to place emphasis on Christ that was He who completed the action.  The emphasis is not on His body, but on what He accomplished.  Also take a look at the last phrase of this verse.  It refers back to something Isaiah said in Chapter 53.

(Isa 53:4-5 NKJ) 4 Surely He has borne our griefs And carried our sorrows; Yet we esteemed Him stricken, Smitten by God, and afflicted.

 5 But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed. (Isa 53:4-5 NKJ)

I will be coming back to deal with this passage in more depth in Part III, but I would like to make a point now.  “By His stripes we are healed” and the same language about Him bearing our sorrows and griefs are used just like we saw in 1 Peter 2:24.  In verses 11 and 12 of Isaiah 53 we see the same exact language, but with reference to sin instead.  In verse 11 it says “As He will bear their iniquities“.  The word for bear here is the same Hebrew word used in verse 4 in reference to our sorrows.  In verse 12 it says “Yet He Himself bore the sin of many, And interceded for the transgressors”.  The word for “bore” here is the same Hebrew word used in verse 4 referring to our griefs.

So what does “bearing our sins” mean?  He took upon Himself a burden when it was not His responsibility.  What burden?  He died on the cross and offered up His blood, His own body on the tree.  Look at Hebrews 9:27:

 27 And inasmuch as it is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment,28 so Christ also, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, shall appear a second time for salvation without reference to sin, to those who eagerly await Him.

So through the action of Christ suffering and giving up His own blood the “bearing” of sins occurred.

Please read Matthew 8:14 - 17 and look at it in conjunction with Isaiah 53:4,5,11,12

In Isaiah there are two Hebrew words used in verse 4.  The first is “nasa” which is used as “borne our griefs” and the second is “sabal” which is used in “carried our sorrows”.  In Matthew 8, Matthew quotes Isaiah and shows us exactly how those words should be understood.  Jesus heals Peter’s mother-in-law and casts out demons.  In verse 15 it says the “fever left her”.  When referring to the demon-possessions it says He “cast out the spirits”.  Because this is a quote of Isaiah 53:4-5 which use the same words to describe sin in verse 11 and 12, we should consider them in the exact same light as the removal of these sicknesses in Matthew 8.  The sicknesses and demons were not imputed into Christ to become His own, rather they were removed, cast out, carried awayChrist did not become sick or demon possessed (which would have occurred if he imputed the sicknesses and demons to himself in the same manner that Penal Substitution advocates claim was accomplished in the imputation of sin.  Therefore, “bearing our sins” means Christ cast them away in the same manner as the sicknesses.  The sins were not imputed and He did not bear their penalty (being separated from the Father nor suffering eternal condemnation).