Sin Bearer

This chapter clarifies the single method by which God will save anyone and grant them eternal life. For every good thing that exists on the earth; a career, home, automobile, clothing, food, or other desirable part of life; we must earn these things. From the time that we are small children we are told that chores must be done in order to earn an allowance. We work hard in school so that we can earn good grades. Our education earns us a good job, which allows the purchase of all the wonderful things that make life enjoyable. Even a young man who falls in love with a young woman, must earn her affections. There are very few things in human life that do not require effort on our part, in order to achieve them.

The most costly and valuable accomplishment that is imaginable, is the right to live forever where no one becomes, sick, grows old, or dies. A world of absolute perfection and beauty, where love permeates every cell of our body and evil ceases to exist. The Bible calls this place “heaven,” and it cannot be earned by any person. God has chosen to give this incredible blessing to us—without personal cost to us.

The barrier to heaven is our imperfection as a human being. We exist today with a moral defect that causes us to sin; to speak and commit, wrongful words and actions. In heaven, sin does not exist. On earth, it is a part of everyday life. Everyone sins and we have become used to it. Sin is what ruins life, it is what causes the selfish actions of human beings, that hurts and kills others. Sin prevents each one of us from achieving the perfection and beauty that we earnestly long for.

In order for heaven to be possible for us, God had to do something to remove sin—forever. We do not have the capacity to remove our past record of sin, nor prevent ourselves from committing further actions of sin. In order for this to take place, God alone would have to act. The plan of God consisted of sending His Son into the world—as a human being—to take the punishment that we deserve for our sins.

We might ask: “why do I deserve to be punished for my sins?” Everyone sins, we are all guilty, why doesn’t God just forgive us all and give us eternal life? This is a very good questions and there is an equally good answer. All of us understand that there are certain laws which govern the universe. The laws of gravity make life possible. Gravity allows our universe to exist; stars, galaxies, and planets to be possible; which allows for life on earth. If we violate the laws of gravity, we know what will happen. A person who climbs to the top of a tall building and declares that they no longer believe in the law of gravity, may jump in defiance. Unfortunately, their rebellion will also cause their death. If we violate the laws of electricity, we will die. If we violate the rights of others to live and take their life, we may also die. There are many occasions during our existence in which we must obey certain laws, if we want to live. There is one greater law that exists, which will also cause our death, an eternal death; this is sin. God declared that “the soul that sin, shall die.”

Ezekiel 18:4 “Behold, all souls are Mine; The soul of the father As well as the soul of the son is Mine; The soul who sins shall die.”

In order for God to be seen as Just, He must punish sin by the death of the guilty. God does not ever overlook sin; He always judges it and punishes all wrong, just as He said that He would. There is, however, a provision in the law of God that allows for an innocent, who has done no wrong, to substitute his life for the life of the guilty. The innocent is made culpable by the transfer of sins to his account and then takes the punishment that is due. The former guilty party is treated as innocent, and there is no record of wrongdoing attached to his account. This is exactly what was accomplished by the provision in the law of God, to which Jesus availed Himself on our behalf.

The problem for many people, with this law of sin and death, is that they do not believe it. Just as the person sought to defy the law of gravity because he did not believe it, and died, so also will we—if we refuse to believe in the laws of sin and death. The proof that this law is true and in place, is the fact that we will all die.

A second problem for most people, is the idea that we cannot earn our salvation. Many people have the idea that heaven can be achieved by good works. If a person is predominantly good, then God will permit them entrance into heaven.

A third obstacle is the belief that a person must simply believe in God, or believe in Jesus, and heaven can be obtained.

In all of these ideas and concepts of people, they are lacking in the fundamental truth’s that God has declared.

Most people like the idea of receiving credit for the things that they do. I was watching a discussion a few days ago on my Facebook page. One person stated that whenever they hold the door open for another person and this person does not say “thank you,” they will say, loudly; “You’re welcome.” In other word, when they do something good for another person, they expect to receive some sort of recognition for their good deed.

This need for acknowledgement or appreciation for things that we do, is universal.

For the past five years, I have been living on a tropical island in the Eastern Pacific. The people here speak a language that is foreign to me. They look much different than the people I am accustomed to. One thing that is the same: they expect a reward of some kind, for any good thing that they might do for you. It is a part of human nature to desire reward or recognition. When someone tells us that we cannot earn heaven or be worthy of eternal life, this offends us. It appeals to the basic instincts of man to earn, rather than receive as a free gift. When we do something to earn a reward, we feel good about ourselves and we expect other people to recognize us.

From God’s vantage point, He will not share His glory with any other creature.[1] What do any one of us have that was not given to us by God?[2] We live on His planet. Eat His food. Breath His air, and enjoy all the good things of life—because He loves us. Why would God ever thank us for anything that we have done for Him? The very air that we breath and the next beat of our heart, are gifts from Him. In reality, everything that we have and enjoy during our life, came from God. It is we who owe God, everything. He does not owe us anything.

This is a difficult concept for many people. To all these important principles, the Bible—alone is unique in its declaration. These important principles are what sets the Bible apart from all other religions of the world.

In the Bible, the “sin bearer,” is called the goel. The root definition of the goel is an avenger who has the responsibility to avenge the blood of the slain kinsman (Numbers 35:12-28).[3] On the legal side of this issue, the avenger is not seeking revenge, but justice. On the civil side, he is coming as a redeemer or vindicator; to buy back or redeem what was lost. This principle is observed in its clearest example by the Book of Ruth.

This gives us a glimpse into the overall text of the Bible; the stories (like the Book of Ruth), are examples which show us what Salvation is all about.

The sin bearer was not only coming to set-free, those who were sold into the slavery of sin, but also to buy-back the lost (us), vindicate the Holiness of God, and bring justice for sin, by punishing it and ending its plague, forever.

The idea of a sin bearer is someone who is willing to take the penalty for the violation of a law. When we forgive someone for an offense that they committed against us, we are willing to let the matter go and continue on with our relationship with them. When God forgives, there must be a penalty paid; a just basis for His forgiveness. Jesus death for us on the cross, provided this just reason for God to forgive us. Into Jesus; all of our sins were cast. God punished His Son instead of us—thereby satisfying the demands of His law. This made our freedom possible. There was no other way that God could save us.

When Jesus volunteered to be our sin bearer, He was not simply bearing our punishment; He did something unthinkable; Jesus became sin. Every filthy and vile act of mankind was placed into Jesus. All of the horrific acts of violence and bloodshed; Jesus became these things. When Jesus went to the cross, all the sins of every person were placed into Him. Then, the wrath of God for all these sins were poured out upon Jesus and He died.

Jesus’ suffering was more intense and deeper than any one of us could imagine. For the first time in eternity, Jesus was separated from the perfect unity of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. For the first time in trillions and trillions—endless trillions of years, the Son was separated from the Father and the Spirit. This is why Jesus cried out from the cross: “Father, why have you forsaken me?” Jesus felt this searing loss of fellowship, intimacy, love, and companionship that had been His—forever. We did this to Him. We caused this great injury to the Son of God. Let us not forget about the damage done to the Father and the precious Spirit. Did they not also suffer unimaginable hurt and loss? This had never happened in eternity past. It was happening at that moment when Jesus was nailed to the cross. Everything was taken from Jesus. Everything was thrust upon Jesus. His suffering is beyond comprehension.

This is the plight of the sin bearer that Isaiah describes in this chapter. The Messiah will “bear the sins of many.”

Isaiah 53:12d Therefore I will divide Him a portion with the great, And He shall divide the spoil with the strong, Because He poured out His soul unto death, And He was numbered with the transgressors, And He bore the sin of many, And made intercession for the transgressors.

New Testament Fulfillment:

2 Corinthians 5:21 For He made Jesus who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

The theme of the Messiah, bearing the sins of many, is recurrent throughout a large portion of the Old Testament. The fact that the Holy Spirit—repeatedly declares this statement in the prophecies of the Messiah, makes it certain that the Lord desires that we understand that He has sent His Son to die for each one of us.

When God says something once, we should sit up and take notice. When He repeats a principle a second time, we should rise up and begin to study why. If there should be numerous occasions when the Lord declares a point to us, it should become for us an anthem.

You will notice that throughout the study of these chapters, specific principles are repeated. This is by design, as the Lord is seeking to remind us of certain important points that pertain to our salvation.

2 Peter 1:15 Moreover I will be careful to ensure that you always have a reminder of these things…

It seems that the purpose of this repetition of the Messiah as the “sin bearer” is to balance the constant and often overlooked fact of man’s total depravity. In this modern society where it is politically incorrect to call someone a “sinner,” the church has become ineffective at conveying the message of repentance for salvation.

There is no salvation without repentance. There is no eternal life without first, the death of pride and self. There is no reward for the life that we live for the Lord if there is not first; a foundation of utter helplessness and dependance on the complete work of Jesus’ cross.

Jesus did not die to save “good people.” He died to save sinners. If a person sincerely believes that he is basically a good person and that Jesus could greatly improve his goodness, they have missed the point of Jesus death. If it were possible for God to somehow, make good people better, by teaching them the practice of righteousness; then it would not have been necessary for Jesus to die.

The fact that God required the death of His Son—by the most horrific means possible, is evidence that He views our sins as fatal—with no hope of removal by our own personal efforts. Jesus was made sin for us, despite the fact that He had never personally experienced sin Himself. Imagine the Holy and impeccable character of God, being polluted by all the filthy and vile acts of every human being.

Some people do not consider themselves a sinner

Are there some of us who are “good people” and worthy of eternal life? According to the human definition of good, there are many fine people who live amongst us. They make great sacrifices of their lives to give excellent things to others. They are kind, considerate, thoughtful, and generous.

What is at issue in regards to the term goodness is what God considers good. According to the one who created us, the presence of even one sin, means that a person is imperfect; therefore, this person is not capable of true goodness. Since all human beings are incapable of perfection, none of us is truly good.

Romans 3:10 As it is written: “There is none righteous, no, not one…”

Romans 3:12 They have all turned aside; They have together become unprofitable; There is none who does good, no, not one.

Jesus defined God as the only one who is truly Good.

Matthew 19:17 …No one is good but One, that is, God…

A person may do many wonderful and magnanimous works, but the likelihood that he will, at some point—fail to be good, is a certainty. Even the best people have moments of pride, unjust anger, selfishness, and lust. In order to be good, these things must never be present in our life.

The purpose of Jesus’ coming to earth was to remove our sins and make it possible, upon our new life in heaven, that we will never sin again. At that time, we will be eternally perfect and fit the true definition of goodness. Positionally, every person who has received Jesus as their Savior, is already perfect and without sin—in God’s view.

This is the topic of this prophecy of the Messiah from Isaiah 53:12d: The Messiah will bear the sins of many.

When Jesus died, He took all sins, from Adam’s first, to our last. Jesus did not die only for the sins you have committed up to the point that you received Him as your Savior; He died for every sin that you will ever commit. The purpose of Jesus’ death on the Cross was to die for the sins of the whole world.

1 John 2:2 And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world.

John 3:16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

This includes all those who will never receive Jesus’ sacrifice for their sins, even those who will continue to hate, blaspheme, ridicule and defy Him during their entire life. Jesus will continue to love the worst of sinners and seek to draw them to Himself, until their final breath.

It is a great mystery why God would allow His Son to die for those who will never receive Him. Most of the world will refuse to believe in Jesus’ sacrifice for their sins and be saved. This means that a majority of the suffering that Jesus endured while dying for the sins of the world will never be properly appropriated. Jesus suffered unimaginable pain and distress for people who will never even thank Him.

This fact alone, declares how great the Love of God is. The only possible purpose for Jesus dying for those who would never believe—could be for no other reason other than to display God’s great love before all creation. The fact that people will not receive what Jesus has done, by such a great sacrifice—even failing to thank Him for what He has done, is a testament to the reprobate condition of mankind.

It is not the fault of God that anyone is lost and misses heaven. It is the fault of those who refuse to believe, and are lost. God has been fully vindicated and stands forever as Righteous and Holy, by the immense sacrifice that Jesus has made.

At the Garden of Gethsemane, we see that God had determined that there would be only one way in which He would receive a sinner and grant him forgiveness of his sins. Jesus asked the Father if there was any other way to save us; “if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me,” the answer came swiftly, “no, there is no other way;” Jesus stepped forward and accomplished this one-way that God had determined.

Matthew 26:36-39 Then Jesus came with them to a place called Gethsemane, and said to the disciples, “Sit here while I go and pray over there.” And He took with Him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and He began to be sorrowful and deeply distressed. Then He said to them, “My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death. Stay here and watch with Me.” He went a little farther and fell on His face, and prayed, saying, “O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will.”

“Father, if there is any other way that You can forgive their sins and redeem all people, then take this horrible cup of sin from Me…”

Jesus had looked into the cup of all our sins and saw how horrible they were. He understood that in a few hours, He was going to be made sin. Let us not miss the importance of this fact—Jesus became sin for us. The literal definition of this term means that all the acts of horror, degradation, cruelty, murder, rape, incest, butchery, mayhem, and debauchery; became Jesus’ sins. In order for Jesus to pay the penalty for us, He had to take all of our transgressions upon Himself. Consider the terrible things done to children by evil men. Consider the horrible acts committed by Hitler and every other evil person on the earth. These unimaginable abominations became Jesus’ sins.

The fact is, when Jesus asked the Father if there was any other way that man’s redemption could be accomplished, the Father did not give Jesus an alternative plan for the salvation of human beings. The arrival of Jesus as the Messiah, is a fulfillment of the solitary plan of God—which He determined before all creation. In specifying who would be qualified to fulfill this office, God spoke through the prophets of the Old Testament and described the attributes of the Messiah. These qualifications are detailed for us in over 400 prophecies of the Messiah.

These facts should bring us to a firm understanding that God has chosen one way to heaven—by one man: Jesus Christ, through the sacrifice He made for all sins on the Cross.

Why there is only one way

Someone may object to the fact that the Bible and many Christians emphatically teach that there is just one way to heaven, but this statement is based upon what God has said and it is the truth.

There is no other way, because there was no other person other than the Son of God; who was qualified take away the sins of the world. God chose Jesus because He was without sin and possessed a life of infinite and eternal value. Of great importance to the entire story of man’s salvation; Jesus was willing to die for the sins of the world. Before anything else was created, Jesus offered His life for each one of us. When the soldiers came to arrest Jesus at the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus permitted their actions. He stated that no man had the power to take His life from Him; He willingly laid it down for all of us. This is why Jesus is the Only way to Heaven.

John 10:17-18 “Therefore My Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it again. No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This command I have received from My Father.”

Jesus laid His life down, willingly, and gave it up for us; as He fulfilled Isaiah’s prophecy: He bore the sins of many.

[1] I am the LORD, that is My name; And My glory I will not give to another… Isaiah 42:8
[2] For who makes you differ from another? And what do you have that you did not receive? Now if you did indeed receive it, why do you boast as if you had not received it? 1Corinthians 4:7
[3] They shall be cities of refuge for you from the avenger, that the manslayer may not die until he stands before the congregation in judgment. And of the cities which you give, you shall have six cities of refuge. You shall appoint three cities on this side of the Jordan, and three cities you shall appoint in the land of Canaan, which will be cities of refuge. These six cities shall be for refuge for the children of Israel, for the stranger, and for the sojourner among them, that anyone who kills a person accidentally may flee there. “But if he strikes him with an iron implement, so that he dies, he is a murderer; the murderer shall surely be put to death. And if he strikes him with a stone in the hand, by which one could die, and he does die, he is a murderer; the murderer shall surely be put to death. Or if he strikes him with a wooden hand weapon, by which one could die, and he does die, he is a murderer; the murderer shall surely be put to death. The avenger of blood himself shall put the murderer to death; when he meets him, he shall put him to death. If he pushes him out of hatred or, while lying in wait, hurls something at him so that he dies, or in enmity he strikes him with his hand so that he dies, the one who struck him shall surely be put to death. He is a murderer. The avenger of blood shall put the murderer to death when he meets him “However, if he pushes him suddenly without enmity, or throws anything at him without lying in wait, or uses a stone, by which a man could die, throwing it at him without seeing him, so that he dies, while he was not his enemy or seeking his harm, then the congregation shall judge between the manslayer and the avenger of blood according to these judgments. So the congregation shall deliver the manslayer from the hand of the avenger of blood, and the congregation shall return him to the city of refuge where he had fled, and he shall remain there until the death of the high priest who was anointed with the holy oil. But if the manslayer at any time goes outside the limits of the city of refuge where he fled, and the avenger of blood finds him outside the limits of his city of refuge, and the avenger of blood kills the manslayer, he shall not be guilty of blood, because he should have remained in his city of refuge until the death of the high priest. But after the death of the high priest the manslayer may return to the land of his possession. Numbers 35:12-28