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UNIVERSAL SIN, PARTICULAR SIN,
AND THE CURE FOR SIN

(SERMON NUMBER 7 ON ISAIAH 53)

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

A sermon preached at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles
Lord’s Day Morning, March 24, 2013

“All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all” (Isaiah 53:6).


Dr. Richard Land is the president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission. Dr. Land knows that we are living in a culture that is astonishingly ignorant of the basic facts of Christianity. He said,

I read in an article in Time magazine about the lack of religion in…America. One couple came to see [a minister] after they had been to a service, and they said, “Our teenage son wants to know who the man is hanging on the plus sign.” They didn’t know it was Jesus and they didn’t know it was a cross (“The Man on the Plus Sign,” World magazine, August 1, 2009, page 24).

It is appalling that many people have so little knowledge of who Jesus is and what He did. Much of the fault lies in the fact that there is so little preaching on Christ Himself in most of our churches. But you can’t go to our church even one Sunday without hearing that Jesus died as a substitute for sinners on the Cross! When Jesus died on the Cross, He bore our sins and atoned for them. He shed His Blood on the Cross to cleanse us from all sin. Spurgeon said, “There are some preachers who do not preach about the blood of Jesus Christ, and I have one thing to say to you concerning them – never go to hear them! Never listen to them! A ministry that has not the blood in it is lifeless, and a dead ministry is no good to anybody” (C. H. Spurgeon, “Freedom Through Christ’s Blood,” August 2, 1874). The idea that Christ would bear our sins occurs again and again in the fifty-third chapter of Isaiah.

“He hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows”
       (Isaiah 53:4).

“But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities” (Isaiah 53:5).

“The chastisement of our peace was upon him” (Isaiah 53:5).

“With his stripes we are healed” (Isaiah 53:5).

“The Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all” (Isaiah 53:6).

“For the transgression of my people was he stricken”
       (Isaiah 53:8).

“Thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin” (Isaiah 53:10).

“He shall bear their iniquities” (Isaiah 53:11).

“He bare the sin of many” (Isaiah 53:12).

Again and again in Isaiah 53 we are told that Christ would take upon Himself our guilt, suffering in our place for our sins, to pay the full penalty for them.

But now, in our text, a new idea is given. Here we are told the reason Christ had to suffer, why Christ, though innocent Himself, had to bear the guilt of man.

“All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all” (Isaiah 53:6).

The text naturally divides into three points.

I. First, the general confession of the sin of all mankind.

The prophet said,

“All we like sheep have gone astray…” (Isaiah 53:6).

Here we have a clear statement concerning the universal sinfulness of all mankind. “All we like sheep have gone astray.” The Apostle Paul made that clear when he said,

“We have before proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin; As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God” (Romans 3:9-11).

“All we like sheep have gone astray,” every one of us!

Like sheep that have broken through the fence of God’s law, we have all gone astray, we have all wandered away from God. The Apostle Peter said,

“Ye were as sheep going astray” (I Peter 2:25).

The Greek word Peter used means to wander away from safety and truth, to be deceived (Strong). That is the universal description of mankind in the Holy Scriptures.

“All we like sheep have gone astray” (Isaiah 53:6).

Man is compared to an animal because sin degrades him – and he becomes animal-like. But we are not compared to an intelligent animal. No, man is compared to a simple-minded sheep.

You live in this city, so you probably don’t know much about the foolishness of sheep. But in Bible times people knew very well how foolish sheep are. They must be watched over carefully by the shepherd or they will wander away.

Sheep are only good at one thing – going astray! If there is only a single hole in the fence, the sheep will find it and wander off. And yet, once a sheep gets out of its pen, it never tries to get back in. Sheep wander farther and farther away from the place of safety. And man is the same. He is wise about doing evil, but foolish about that which is good. Like Argus in Greek mythology, man has a hundred eyes in search of sin; but he is as blind as Bartimaeus when it comes to seeking God! The Apostle Paul spoke of the universal disease of sin when he said,

“Ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world” (Ephesians 2:12).

“Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart” (Ephesians 4:18).

These verses show us that mankind has gone astray from God.

“All we like sheep have gone astray…” (Isaiah 53:6).

Here then, in our text, is a general confession of the sin of all mankind. It shows that the human race has gone away from God into hundreds of false religions and false doctrines, worshipping idols and false gods and false Christs, “Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart” (Ephesians 4:18).

II. Second, the personal confession of the particular sin of each one.

The text continues,

“All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way…” (Isaiah 53:6).

The general confession of the sin of the human race is backed up by a personal confession of the particular sin of each person. “We have turned every one to his own way.” No one, by his own choice, has turned himself to God’s way. In every case each person has chosen “his own way.” The very heart of sin lies here – in choosing our own way, in opposition to the will of God. We wanted to control our own lives. We wanted to follow our own plans. We would not submit ourselves to God. We would not trust Christ and submit to Him as our Lord.

The text shows that each one has his own special sin, “his own way.” Each man and woman has a major sin which is somewhat different from others. Two children, raised by the same parents, will have different, habitual sins. One will sin habitually in his way, the other in another way. “We have turned every one to his own way.” One turns to the right, the other to the left. But both reject God’s way.

In the time of Christ, there were publicans, who lived in strong opposition to the law of God. There were sinners who left God out of their lives and committed sins of the flesh. There were Pharisees, who were proud and self righteous, thinking they were better than others. There were also Sadducees, who didn’t believe in angels or demons. They did not commit sins of the flesh. They did not live as sinfully as the publicans, or as superstitiously as the Pharisees, but they were also antagonistic to the truth of God in their own way. It can be said of each one of them,

“We have turned every one to his own way” (Isaiah 53:6).

Some of you may have been raised in a Christian home, and yet you have sinned by rejecting the light of the Gospel. That is your “own way.” Others may be thinking of some particular sin. When you remember it, you are deeply troubled. Yet some of you would rather be under a constant feeling of guilt than trust Christ and find forgiveness and peace. Some go on and on refusing to trust Christ. “We have turned every one to his own way.”

Another person may say, “I have hardened my heart. I used to feel conviction and the need for Christ, but now I do not. Now I am afraid that the Lord has sworn in His wrath that I will not enter into His rest. I am afraid that God has given up on me.” But I want you to listen carefully to the rest of our text, because there is a third clause in it that shows there is still hope for you!

III. Third, the substitutionary, vicarious death of Christ for the
sins of His people.

Please stand and read the entire verse, paying special attention to the last clause, “And the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.”

“All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all” (Isaiah 53:6).

You may be seated. Dr. Edward J. Young said,

The first half of the verse sets forth the reason for the servant’s suffering, and the second asserts that the Lord Himself made the servant suffer by placing on him the iniquity [of] us all. The verb [“laid”] means to hit or strike violently. The iniquity of which we are guilty does not come back to strike us as we might rightly expect, but rather strikes [Christ] in our [place]. The Lord [God] caused our guilt to strike him…The guilt that belonged to us God caused to strike him [that is] he as our substitute bore the punishment that the guilt of our sin required…the shepherd has given his life for the sheep (Edward J. Young, Ph.D., The Book of Isaiah, Eerdmans, 1972, volume 3, pp. 349-350).

“All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all” (Isaiah 53:6).

In a sermon titled “Individual Sin Laid on Jesus,” Spurgeon said,

Here are Lot’s sins, scandalous sins. I cannot mention them, they were very different from David’s sins. Black sins, scarlet sins, were those of David, but David’s sins were not at all like those of Manasseh; the sins of Manasseh were not the same as those of Peter – Peter sinned in quite a different [way]; and the woman that was a sinner, you could not liken her to Peter, neither if you look at her character could you [compare] her with Lydia; nor if you think of Lydia, can you see her without [realizing the difference] between her and the Philippian jailer. They are all alike, they have all gone astray, but they are all different, they have turned every one to his own way; but…the Lord [“hath laid on him the iniquity of” them all]…When you come to the great gospel medicine, the precious blood of Jesus Christ, you have there…what the old doctors used to call a catholicon, a universal medicine which meets every case…and puts away sin in all its separateness of guilt as if it were made for that sin, and for that sin alone (C. H. Spurgeon, “Individual Sin Laid on Jesus,” The Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit, Pilgrim Publications, 1977 reprint, volume XVI, pp. 213-214).

Trust Christ. Submit to Christ. Trust Him and you will never be ashamed, for “the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.”

Guilty, vile and helpless, we;
   Spotless Lamb of God was He;
“Full atonement,” can it be?
   Hallelujah! What a Saviour!
(“Hallelujah! What a Saviour!” by Philip P. Bliss, 1838-1876).

Will you trust Jesus? Will you submit to Him, surrender to Him, and trust Him? Will you be cleansed from sin by His Blood, and saved from judgment by His substitutionary sacrifice on the Cross? May God the Father grant you faith to rely upon Christ alone, to surrender to Him and be saved!

Let us stand together. If you would like to speak with us about trusting Jesus, please leave your chair right now and walk to the back of the auditorium. Dr. Cagan will take you to a quiet room where we can talk with you about surrendering to Christ and being washed clean from your sin by His holy Blood! Mr. Lee, please come and pray for those who have responded. Amen.

(END OF SERMON)
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Scripture Read Before the Sermon by Dr. Kreighton L. Chan: Isaiah 52:13-53:6.
Solo Sung Before the Sermon by Mr. Benjamin Kincaid Griffith:
“Yes, I Know!” (by Mrs. Anna W. Waterman, 1920).


THE OUTLINE OF

UNIVERSAL SIN, PARTICULAR SIN,
AND THE CURE FOR SIN

(SERMON NUMBER 7 ON ISAIAH 53)

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

“All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all” (Isaiah 53:6).

(Isaiah 53:4, 5, 6, 8, 10, 11, 12)

I.   First, the general confession of the sin of all mankind,
Isaiah 53:6a; Romans 3:9-11; I Peter 2:25;
Ephesians 2:12; 4:18.

II.  Second, the personal confession of the particular sin of
each one, Isaiah 53:6b.

III. Third, the substitutionary, vicarious death of Christ for
the sins of His people, Isaiah 53:6c.