by John Lowe
(Laurens SC, USA)
Forgiveness, Substitutitution, Justification, Atonement, Propitiation
29 May 2006
GREAT CALVARY WORDS
1. Forgiveness (Eph. 1:7).
2. Substitution (Is. 53:6.).
3. Justification (Rom. 5:1).
4. Atonement (Rom. 5:11).
5. Propitiation (I John 2:2).
"In Whom we have redemption through His Blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace" (Eph. 1:7).
There are many wrong ideas concerning the forgiveness of sins.
Many seem to imagine that when God forgives a sinner, He merely "gets sorry," and says: "Never mind, it's ok—we'll let it pass."
This conception is all wrong.
The only one who can forgive a sin is the one against whom the sin is committed.
It would be impossible for me, as an outside party, to forgive John Jones for murdering John Smith.
The government, in reality, cannot forgive a murderer for his crime.
However, the Parole Board may recommend to the government that a pardon be granted.
When the murderer is pardoned, he’s acquitted, as far as the law is concerned.
There is only one man that can forgive a murderer, and that is the dead man, who was murdered.
The dead man alone could say to the murderer: "That’s all right, Mark, you killed me, but I’ll not hold it against you.”
If John owed Frank fifty dollars for groceries, Sam couldn’t step up and say "Don’t worry about it, you don’t need to pay Frank anything.”
But Sam could go to Frank and pay the account in full; then the grocer would be satisfied.
All sin is, primarily, against God.
Under David's orders, Uriah was killed.
When he realized the terrible nature of his sin, David broke down.
He pleaded with God for forgiveness.
In this prayer, he said (vs. 4), "Against Thee, Thee only have I sinned and done this evil in Thy sight."
We know that God forgave David, because Nathan the Prophet said to him, "The Lord hath put away thy sin" (II Sam. 12:13).
God can forgive sins because all sin is against God, but God doesn’t forgive sin by merely getting sorry, and overlooking the sin.
Our God is a just God, and He can’t forgive the guilty, until His justice is satisfied.
And, Justice can only be satisfied by a full and complete punishment for sin.
This was accomplished in the Blood of the Cross.
Our Key Verse says, "Through His Blood, we have the forgiveness of sins."
Jesus Christ satisfied the Law that was broken, and at Calvary's Cross provided a basis on which God could forgive the sinner.
However, the unsaved can’t rightfully confess any given sin and receive God's forgiveness, even though he pleads the Blood of Christ.
What use is it then for an unsaved person to focus on any one particular sin and seek forgiveness when he’s guilty of a large number of other sins?
First, he must have forgiveness not from one sin, but from all of his sins by receiving the Lord Jesus Christ as his Savior.
This forgiveness is based on the Cross.
Believers should confess their sins as soon as they are aware of them.
"If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins" (I John 1:9).
As far as hell is concerned the believer's sins are forgiven.
A Christian is saved, from all sins, past, present, and future; but sin, while it doesn’t cost us our salvation, breaks our fellowship with the Lord, and fellowship can only be restored when the sin is confessed, and the cleansing accomplished.
This is all done for us through the Blood of Jesus Christ.
"And the Lord hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all" (Is. 53:6).
The doctrine of SUBSTITUTION is taught in many passages throughout the Word of God.
The 53rd chapter of Isaiah, however, is probably the best known substitutionary chapter.
It would be good, to know how many times Christ is described in this chapter as taking our place when He died upon the Cross, so let’s count the number of times.
Verse 4, "He hath borne our griefs."
Verse 4, "He hath carried our sorrows."
Verse 5, "He was wounded for our transgressions,"
Verse 5, "He was bruised for our iniquities."
Verse 5, "The chastisement of our peace was upon Him."
Verse 5, "With His stripes we are healed."
Verse 6, "The Lord hath laid on Him, the iniquity of us all."
Verse 8, "For the transgression of My people was He stricken."
Verse 10, "Thou shalt make His soul an offering for sin."
Verse 11, "He shall bear their iniquities."
Verse 12, "He bare the sin of many."
Eleven times in one short chapter, of twelve verses, Christ is described as doing His substitutionary work.
The same chapter describes Christ as "despised and rejected of men," and "oppressed and afflicted."
He is seen as a Lamb brought to the slaughter; and, as the sheep, dumb before her shearers.
He is described as "bruised of the Lord."
These references are all to the Cross and are too plain to be sidestepped.
Who is this One Who was substituted for sin?
Christ was God made known to us in human flesh: He was the Son, born of the virgin, the helpless little Baby lying in the manger at Bethlehem.
In verse 9, we read, "Because He had done no violence neither was any deceit in His mouth."
This verse suggests that Christ is the Holy One of God.
The only One who never sinned.
If we go back to the preceding chapter and read verse 14 we find this horrible description of what men did to the Son of God: "His visage was so marred, more than any man, and His form more than the sons of men."
This verse is about the agony Christ suffered on that final day.
The agonies that He suffered as He hung on the Cross were visible to all those who watched Him die.
The thorns are pressed into His brow, and the Blood from His matted hair joins the Blood from His beaten back.
He hangs upon the Cross with His nerves exposed, His wounds en-flamed and feeling the agonies of death until His features are so marred, and His appearance so mutilated, that He seems to no longer be human.
This is how the Holy Spirit described the One who became the sinner's substitute.
What is the result of the substitutionary work of our Lord, who was made flesh and died upon the Cross for us?
We are given a very graphic description:
Verse 10 says: "He shall see His seed. He shall prolong His days."
These words speak of His resurrection.
Verse 10 also says: "And the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in His hands."
The Cross has a far-reaching effect.
Today, the Gospel is preached to every nation, and the redeemed are coming from every kindred, tongue and tribe on earth, washed in the Blood of the Lamb.
Verse 11 reads: "He shall see of the travail of His soul, and will be satisfied."
This verse describes the Lord's Second Coming.
Verse 12 says: "I will divide Him a portion with the great and He shall divide the spoil with the strong."
This verse is the climax of the substitutionary work of Christ, and it looks forward to the prayer of Christ, "Father, I will that they whom Thou hast given Me may be with Me where I am, that they may behold My glory."
But the verse does more—it sees us as "heirs of God and joint-heirs with Jesus Christ”; glorified together; reigning with Him.
All of this is the inheritance of those who know and follow Christ, and who have felt the power of the substitutionary work of the Cross.
"Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ" (Rom. 5:1).
Justification is the result of the substitutionary work of Christ.
He died for us.
He bore our sins in His own body on the Cross.
In this substitutionary work, Christ was made sin for us that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.
Our sins were placed upon Christ and His righteousness was credited to us.
Justification doesn’t express any moral change,—that is, justification does not mean that a sinner, in his daily walk, is any better than he was before he was justified.
Justification is our standing "in Christ."
When God looks at us, under the Blood, He sees no sin upon us.
God does not accuse anyone of sin who is justified by faith.
No one can lay anything to the charge of God's elect, for "it is God Who justifieth."
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