Holiness and Victory Over Sin, Part 24
by Karl Kemp
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Holy Father, we humble our hearts before you. We thank you for salvation! We thank you for your Word! We want to understand your Word! We want to live your Word! In Jesus’ mighty, holy name! Amen!
Last time when we stopped we were in the middle of an important study of Isa. 53:4-6. I’m going to turn to page 22 of my book, “Holiness and Victory Over Sin,” and we’re ready to discuss the last words of verse 5, “and by His scourging we are healed.” The Hebrew noun translated “scourging” is “chaburah.” This Hebrew noun is singular here in verse 5. The BDB Hebrew Lexicon gives “stripe/blow” as the basic meaning of chaburah, and referring to its use in this verse says, “of blows inflicted on suffering servant of Yahweh.” In a parenthesis they point out that this is a “singular collective” noun. The NIV translates chaburah as “wounds” here. The KJV and NKJV translate “stripes.”
I don’t believe we should limit chaburah to the literal scourging (or stripes) that Jesus bore. Rather the “wound” (the mortal wound) includes everything that He bore for us that killed Him, very much including the beatings and especially His crucifixion. “By His wound (His mortal wound) we are healed.” The healing that has been provided for us came through the atoning death of the Lord Jesus Christ in its entirety, not just through His scourging.
I believe the words “we are healed” should be understood in the fullest possible sense. Physical healing and mental and emotional healing are included (see chapter 5 of this book, which is titled “A Study to Show that Healing and Health are Included in the New Covenant Atonement”). Physical healing and mental and emotional healing are included, but much more important is the spiritual healing - we are healed from spiritual death and bondage to sin and demon spirits. On this spiritual healing, see under Isa. 53:11 below. Also, most of the content of these articles deals with this spiritual healing that ultimately takes us to heaven.
First Peter 2:24, which quotes these words from Isa. 53:5 is an important cross-reference. Also, 1 Pet. 2:25 apparently builds on Isa. 53:6. I’ll read 1 Pet. 2:24, 25. “And He Himself bore our sins [He bore our sins with the guilt and with the penalties, INCLUDING THE MAJOR PENALTIES OF SPIRITUAL DEATH AND BONDAGE TO SIN] in His body on the cross, THAT WE MIGHT DIE TO SIN AND LIVE TO RIGHTEOUSNESS; FOR BY HIS WOUNDS YOU WERE HEALED. (25) For you were continually straying like sheep, but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Guardian of your souls.”
As the margin of the NASB shows, the literal translation is “wound” (singular), not "wounds." The Greek of 1 Pet. 2:24 uses the singular collective noun for “wound,” as does the Hebrew of Isa. 53:5.
The apostle Peter emphasized the much more important spiritual healing that we receive in Christ in these verses. We return to God, die to sin, and live to righteousness through the atoning death of the Lord Jesus Christ. As we have discussed, the Lamb of God didn’t just bear our sins with the guilt, so we could be forgiven; He bore our sins with the guilt and with the penalties (including the major penalties of spiritual death and bondage to sin), so we could be born again and live in the very righteousness and holiness of God.
Sin, Satan, and death (both spiritual death and physical death) have been dethroned through the atoning death of the Lord Jesus Christ, but we will not see the full manifestation of the “healing” wrought at Mount Calvary until we see the new heaven and new earth with its new Jerusalem of Revelation chapters 21, 22. I’ll quote Rev. 21:27, “and nothing unclean, and no one who practices abomination and lying, shall ever come into it [into new Jerusalem], but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life.” The title “Lamb” (used in Rev. 21:27) points to the all-important atoning death of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Now we come to Isa. 53:6. I’ll read the verse, “All of us like sheep have gone astray, Each of us has turned to his own way; But the LORD [Yahweh] has caused the iniquity [the awon] of us all to fall on Him.” First we’ll discuss the words, “All of us like sheep have gone astray, Each of us has turned to his own way.” (See 1 Pet. 2:25.) These words picture mankind in rebellion against God - doing their own thing - and in desperate need of the Savior and Shepherd. They are (in a preliminary sense) bearing the penalty for their sin, but the greater penalty (the much greater penalty) is yet to come, starting with the day of judgment.
Now we’ll discuss the words, “But the LORD [Yahweh] has caused the iniquity [the awon] of us all to fall on Him.” In the last article I showed that it is very important to understand that the Hebrew noun awon includes within its range of meaning the ideas of iniquity, guilt of iniquity, AND PENALTY FOR INIQUITY. There is no substantial difference between our awon falling upon the Lamb of God here in verse 6, the Lamb being crushed by our awon in verse 5, the Lamb bearing our awon in verse 11, or the Lamb bearing our chet in verse 12. He bore our iniquities, our sins, and our transgressions with the guilt and with the penalties in His atoning death. I am not satisfied with the translation “iniquity” for awon here in verse 6. Something like the following is required, “But the LORD [Yahweh] has caused the iniquity of us all [with the guilt and with the penalties] to fall on Him.”
We come to the subheading, “Commentators on Isaiah 53:6.” F. Delitzsch (Vol. 7 of the Keil and Delitzsch “Commentary on the Old Testament”) says (in part), “But awon is used to denote not only the transgression itself, but also the guilt incurred thereby, and the punishment to which it gives rise. All the great multitude of sins, and mass of guilt, and weight of punishment, came upon the Servant of Jehovah [Yahweh] according to the appointment of the God of salvation, who is gracious in holiness.”
E. J. Young (Vol. 3 of the “Book of Isaiah”) says (in part), “The guilt that belonged to us God caused to strike him, i.e. he as our substitute bore the punishment that the guilt of our sins required.”
D. A. Kidner, (“New Bible Commentary: Revised,” published by Eerdmans in 1970) says (in part), “[Isa. 53:6] is perhaps the most penetrating of all descriptions of sin and atonement, uncovering the fecklessness which is second nature to us, and the self-will which isolates us from God and man alike; but also the divine initiative which transferred our punishment to the one substitute. The metaphor whereby iniquity is laid on him is clarified by, for example, Genesis 4:13; Leviticus 5:1, 17 (where one pays one’s own penalty) and by, for example, Leviticus 10:17; 16:22 (where the liability falls on another).” Either we are bearing our sins with the guilt and with the penalties, or we submit (by faith) to the very full salvation that was purchased for us when the Lamb of God bore our sins with the guilt and with the penalties. Praise God for such a salvation plan!
Now we have the privilege to discuss Isa. 53:11. I’ll turn to page 26 of my book and read the verse, “As a result of the anguish of His soul, He will see it and be satisfied; By His knowledge [or, “By the knowledge of Him”] the Righteous One, My Servant, will justify [or, “will make righteous”] the many, As He will bear their iniquities [plural of awon].”
This is another verse that the BDB Hebrew Lexicon (under awon) lists under the subheading, “consequences of, or punishment for, iniquity.” Commenting specifically on Isa. 53:11, the BDB Hebrew Lexicon says (in part), “the consequences of their iniquities he shall bear, compare…Lamentations 5:7….” The KJV and the NIV both translate the plural of awon as “iniquities” here in Isa. 53:11, as does the NASB. I would translate, “He will bear their iniquities with the guilt and with the penalties,” or the equivalent. Through His all-important atoning death, the Lord Jesus Christ earned the right to overthrow spiritual death and sin and to make believers righteous with the very righteousness of God, and to ultimately take us to eternal glory.
We’ll discuss the first words of Isa. 53:11, “As a result of the anguish of His soul.” The Lamb of God underwent this “anguish of His soul” when He took upon Himself all our iniquities with the guilt and with the penalties in His atoning death. The physical pain that the Lamb of God bore for us in His atoning death was only a small part of what He bore for us when He took our place. For one thing, our sins separated Him from God the Father, and He cried out, “My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken Me.”
Now we’ll discuss the next words of verse 11, “He will see it and be satisfied.” What will He see? Isaiah 53:10 says that “He will see His offspring.” Verses 10 and 11 use the same Hebrew verb for “He will see,” and I believe the use of this verb in verse 11 builds on its use in verse 10. “He will see His offspring.” “His offspring” embraces all the people who will be born into the fullness of eternal life through His atoning death. “His offspring” is the equivalent of “(the) many” of Isa. 53:11, 12. … He will see His offspring and be satisfied. “…And the good pleasure of the LORD [Yahweh] will prosper in His hand” (Isa. 53:10).
The Lord Jesus Christ knew that it was the Father’s will for Him to die in our place; He knew that He was earning the right to save all believers; and He knew that the devil and those who follow him would be judged and removed from God’s kingdom forever through His all-important death.
Now we’ll discuss the words “By His knowledge [or, “by the knowledge of Him”] the Righteous One, My Servant, will justify [or, “will make righteous”] the many” of Isa. 53:11. I agree with the many who understand the words, “by His knowledge” in the sense “by the knowledge of Him” (as in the margin of the NIV). The Hebrew can be translated either way. People are saved by knowing the Lord Jesus Christ, in accordance with the gospel, by faith and by the Holy Spirit.
The words “the Righteous One, My Servant” here in Isa. 53 11 refer to the Lord Jesus Christ, the very special Servant of God the Father. He always was, and always will be, righteous in every way, and He earned the right to make us righteous.
Now we’ll discuss the words, “the many” of verse 11. The same Hebrew adjective (“rabbim”) that is translated “the many” in verse 11 is used twice in verse 12. (Isaiah 53:12 is discussed in chapter 3 of this book.) “The many” embraces all believers (all the elect). They are the “offspring” of the Lord Jesus Christ spoken of in Isa. 53:10.
Now we’ll discuss the words “will justify [or, “will make righteous”] the many.” The Hebrew verb that is translated “will justify” or, “will make righteous” here is one of the most important words (it is probably the most important word) used in Isaiah chapter 53 to speak of the benefits that come to believers through the atoning death of the Lord Jesus Christ. But what does “justify” mean. (As I mentioned we could also translate “will make righteous.”)
Many Christians understand “justify” here to mean only that we are forgiven the guilt of our sin and are declared righteous by God. To be forgiven and declared righteous is an important part of what “the Righteous One” earned for the many, but if we stop here, we stop far short of what this Hebrew verb means in Isa. 53:11 (and in many other verses). The Lord Jesus Christ didn’t just bear the guilt of our sin in some isolated legal sense so we could be forgiven and declared righteous - He bore our sin with the guilt and with the penalties so we could have full salvation. For one thing, as we have discussed in some detail, when God declares us righteous when we submit (by faith) to His new-covenant plan of salvation, He is, at the same time, declaring the overthrow of sin and spiritual death, which reigned over us before we became born-again Christians. Sin, spiritual death, and the demons have lost the authority they had over us.
A major feature of new-covenant salvation is our being set free from the authority and power of sin through the atoning death of the Lord Jesus Christ. The New Testament repeatedly declares that Christians are transformed and made righteous through His atoning death. (See, for example, Rom. 6:1-14; 7:4-6; 8:1-17; 2 Cor. 5:14-21; Gal. 1:4; 2:19-21; 3:13, 14; 5:16-25; 6:14, 15; Eph. 5:25-32; Col. 1:21-23; 2:10-15; 3:1-11; Titus 2:11-14; 3:1-8; Heb. 9:11-10:31; 13:12; 1 Pet. 1:13-2:25; 3:13-4:6; 1 John 1:7, 9; 2:28-3:12; Rev. 1:5; 7:14; and 12:11.) The Greek verb “dikaioo,” which is normally translated “justify” in some form in the New Testament, is frequently used in a very full sense that includes the ideas of being forgiven and declared righteous; being set free from sin, spiritual death, and Satan; and being made righteous with the very imparted righteousness of God.
See chapter 6 of this book which is titled, “A Study on the Meaning of Justify/Justification as These Words Are Used in the New Testament,” and we have already discussed this super-important topic quite a bit in these articles. If the Hebrew verb in Isa. 53:11 is to be translated “will justify,” then “justify” must be understood in a very full sense. It is important to understand that God doesn’t offer forgiveness and a right legal standing in isolation from the transformation to righteousness that is manifested when Christians (having been set free from spiritual death and bondage to sin) begin to walk by the Holy Spirit by faith, in accordance with the terms spelled out in the gospel of new-covenant salvation.
I believe it would be better to translate the Hebrew verb “will make righteous” instead of “will justify.” In the Hebrew text this verb stands next to the adjective “tsaddiq,” which is translated “the Righteous One.” (The Hebrew adjective and verb are closely related, both having the same root.) “The Righteous One,” the Lord Jesus Christ, makes His people like Himself. Through His atoning death, His resurrection, and His subsequent ministry as our Great High Priest, HE MAKES US RIGHTEOUS. His ministry includes giving the Righteous, Holy Spirit to dwell in us believers. He enables us to walk in the righteousness of God, with the victory over all sin. Victory over all sin is the ideal to which we are called. But as we have discussed in some detail, we must walk by faith and by the Holy Spirit on a continuous basis (which we are called and enabled to do), or the total victory over sin will not be manifested in our hearts and lives. We must aim at the target of walking with the victory over all sin by God’s grace. After we are glorified, we will be conformed to the image of the Lord Jesus Christ (see Rom. 8:29).
I’ll read the Amplified Bible on Isa. 53:11. I’ll emphasize the translation of the Hebrew verb we are discussing and the full sense in which the Amplified Bible translates awon by using capital letters. “He shall see the fruit of the travail of His soul and be satisfied; by His knowledge of Himself [which He possesses and imparts to others] SHALL My [uncompromisingly] righteous One, My Servant, JUSTIFY AND MAKE many RIGHTEOUS - UPRIGHT AND IN RIGHT STANDING WITH GOD; for He shall bear their INIQUITIES AND their GUILT [WITH THE CONSEQUENCES, says the LORD (YAHWEH)].”
I’ll also quote a few sentences from Ross Price as he comments on Isa. 53:11. (This quotation is taken from Vol. 4 of the “Beacon Bible Commentary,” published in 1966.) “Thus by His wise submission to His Father’s will He imparts to many His own righteousness. … ‘Justify many’ means ‘make the masses righteous.’ … It is through Him that they attain that new quality of life on a higher plane.”
That completes our study of Isa. 53:11 and our somewhat brief study of the Hebrew nouns, pesha, awon, and chet. I trust you can see that it is very important for us to understand the breadth of meaning of these Hebrew nouns.
Now I’m going to turn to page 156 of my book, and we come to the heading, “Hebrews 10:8-18 with Special Emphasis on the Meaning of ‘Aphesis’ as it Is Used in Hebrews 10:18.” Hebrews chapters 8-10 contain some of the most important teaching in the Bible that deals with the atoning death of the Lord Jesus Christ and the resultant full salvation for believers. This teaching puts a strong emphasis on the fact that sin has been overthrown through the atoning death of the Lord Jesus Christ and Christians are called (and enabled) to walk in the righteousness and holiness of God. Hebrews 10:18 is a key summarizing verse. If we misunderstand the meaning of “aphesis,’ as it is used in this verse, which from my point of view is commonly done, it tends to significantly distort the powerful sanctifying message of Hebrews chapters 8-10.
First I’ll read Heb. 10:8, 9, “After saying above, ‘sacrifices and offerings and whole burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin thou hast not desired, nor hast thou taken pleasure in them’ (which are offered according to the Law [referring to the Mosaic Law, which was the foundation for the old covenant], (9) then He said, ‘Behold I have come to do thy will.’ He takes away the first in order to establish the second.” That is, “He takes away the first [covenant, the old covenant] in order to establish the second [covenant, the new covenant in the blood of Christ].” That’s a dominant theme in the Epistle to the Hebrews.
Now we come to Heb. 10:10, which is a very important verse. I’ll read the verse, “By this will [referring to the ‘will’ of God just spoken of in verse 9] WE HAVE BEEN SANCTIFIED THROUGH THE OFFERING OF THE BODY OF JESUS CHRIST ONCE FOR ALL.” See Heb. 2:11; 9:13, 14; 10:14, 29; and 13:12. As we have seen again and again throughout these studies, full salvation, which includes being forgiven, being set free from spiritual death and bondage to sin, and being born again and made righteous and holy comes to us through the all-important atoning death of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Now we come to the subheading, “A Discussion on the Meaning of the Words, ‘We Have Been Sanctified’ of Hebrews 10:10.” I can be somewhat brief here since this important topic is discussed in the last chapter of my book. (We’ll turn to that chapter when we finish this study of Hebrews 10:8-18.) THESE WORDS, “WE HAVE BEEN SANCTIFIED” SPEAK OF THE SANCTIFIED STATE IN WHICH CHRISTIANS ARE CALLED TO DWELL (AND ARE ENABLED TO DWELL). To say the same thing using different words, WE HAVE BEEN MADE HOLY; WE ARE SAINTS; WE HAVE BEEN SET APART FROM SIN BY GOD FOR GOD; WE LIVE IN AN ABIDING STATE OF HOLINESS WITH THE VICTORY OVER ALL SIN. The NIV translates, “we have been made holy.” The New Testament frequently uses the words, sanctify, holiness; holy; and saint in the sense I have briefly summarized in this paragraph.
Christians are called to live in a state of holiness, but Christians are not automatically sanctified, and sanctified Christians do not automatically maintain a state of holiness. I have an endnote here, which I’ll read, See, for example, Heb. 2:18; 3:16-19; 4:1-16; 5:11-14; 6:1-12; 10:19-39; 12:1-29; 13:1-25. Hebrews 12:5-13 speak of God’s chastening/disciplining of His children (as required) that they may share His holiness (see Heb. 12:10); that they may be righteous (see Heb. 12:11). The Bible makes it clear that God’s people do not always respond with repentance when they experience His chastening/disciplining. Hebrews 12:14 (NIV) says, “Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord.” To be holy (to live in a state of holiness) must be a top priority for Christians.
It should be pointed out that the holiness of Christians comes from God by grace through faith, based on the atoning death of the Lord Jesus Christ, and by the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit. We certainly don’t want to say that chastening/disciplining is the basis for our holiness, but it can help motivate us to repent, etc. That completes the endnote.
I’ll turn back to page 158. I remind the reader that I often modify what is written in the book for these articles. We must walk by faith (based on what the New Testament teaches), and we must walk by the Holy Spirit on a continuous basis; otherwise, we will not live in an abiding state of holiness. The world, the flesh, and the devil are waging warfare against us, sometimes intense warfare.
The ideal presented in the New Testament is for Christians to be sanctified from the time of conversion. Then, throughout the Christian life there will be growth as we are changed from glory to glory (see 2 Cor. 3:18). This need for growth is not sin, and in general, the New Testament does not use the verb “sanctify” (or the closely related words) to speak of this growth. In the ideal case we will live in a state of holiness and we will be growing.
Now we’ll go on to Heb. 10:11-13. I’ll read the verses, “And every priest stands daily ministering and offering time after time the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins; (12) but He, having offered one sacrifice for sins for all time, sat down at the right hand of God, (13) waiting from that time onward until His enemies be made a footstool for His feet.”
I’ll read what I said regarding verses 11, 12. The old covenant sacrifices were effective to a point, but they could not “take away sins.” (Also see Hebrews 10:4.) For one thing, they could not atone for (and take away) the willful and defiant sins of the people of Israel. Hebrews 9:7, for example, speaks of the high priest making atonement “for the sins of the people committed in ignorance” on the Day of Atonement. And, significantly, the old covenant sacrifices could not take away the transgression of Adam with the penalty of spiritual death. And as the apostle Paul showed in Romans chapter 5, for example, bondage to sin came when spiritual death came. The old-covenant sacrifices could not take away spiritual death and bondage to sin, so they certainly could not solve the sin problem and sanctify God’s people. They could not “take away sin(s)” from God’s people. The writer of Hebrews makes the point in 10:3, 4 that the fact that the sacrifices of the Day of Atonement (and all the other sacrifices) needed to be repeated year after year demonstrated that those sacrifices could not solve the sin problem and sanctify the hearts and lives of God’s people.
By contrast, the “one sacrifice for sins” of the Lord Jesus Christ does have the authority and power to take away sin and sanctify the hearts and lives of God’s people. Hebrews 9:26, for example, says, “He has been manifested to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself.” He took away our past sins with the guilt and with the penalties back to Adam through His atoning death; He dethroned spiritual death and sin; and, significantly, HE TOOK AWAY SIN IN THE SENSE THAT HE GAVE US SPIRITUAL LIFE AND ENABLES US TO LIVE IN THE VERY RIGHTEOUSNESS AND HOLINESS OF GOD. In the ideal case there won’t be any more sinning after we become Christians. That sounds good doesn’t it? We must aim at that target! And it is very clear that we will not be sinning after we are glorified through the atoning death of the Lord Jesus Christ. Unlike the old covenant priests, our Great High Priest was able to sit down because (in one very real sense) His work was finished (He sat down at the right hand of God the Father [see verse 12]). He is waiting for the Father’s time for Him to return and subdue His enemies in His end-time judgment of the world. He will make them a footstool for His feet.
Next time we’ll start with Heb. 10:14, a very important verse. I’ll read the verse, “FOR BY ONE OFFERING HE HAS PERFECTED FOR ALL TIME THOSE WHO ARE SANCTIFIED.” God bless you!
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