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PROPITIATION!

(SERMON NUMBER 11 ON ISAIAH 53)

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

A sermon preached at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles
Lord’s Day Evening, July 13, 2014

“Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin” (Isaiah 53:10).


What I am going to say about God tonight will be disliked by some who hear it. And some may even hate what I say! People have so many wrong ideas about God today. When anyone speaks about the Judgment of God in the Bible it causes a negative reaction, especially among a certain class of preachers.

Years ago I was asked by an elderly pastor to give an evangelistic sermon to a group of about one hundred Chinese young people. I had spoken there many times before, so I thought I knew what the church wanted. But this time two younger pastors were in charge. I preached a salvation message, emphasizing God’s judgment and ending with a clear presentation of the Gospel of Christ. Twenty-seven young people responded to the invitation. These were all first-time professions, which was over one fourth of the college-age students who were present.

I thought that the two young pastors would be delighted with such a large response. But they both had angry scowls on their faces after the sermon. They never wrote me a note of thanks, and they never sent me an honorarium, which was the common practice of that church. I was very surprised by their coldness. One of them had been a close friend of mine. I learned afterwards that they thought I was too negative, that I should have given an invitation without warning those young people that God judges sin.

Since then I have discovered that many modern pastors share their view. “Just give them the Gospel. Speak only of the love of God. Don’t stir people up and make them feel uncomfortable.” I have often found that preachers feel that way today. But I am convinced there is something terribly defective in that way of thinking, something insufficient and wrong about that view of evangelistic preaching.

Dr. A. W. Tozer said, “No man can know the true grace of God who has not first known the fear of God” (The Root of Righteousness, Christian Publications, 1955, p. 38). I think he was exactly right, “No man can know the true grace of God who has not first known the fear of God.” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones believed exactly like Dr. Tozer on this point. Iain H. Murray said, “For Dr. Lloyd-Jones to preach the real peril of man’s guiltiness before God meant to preach the certainty of divine wrath…in punishment of sin in hell…he regarded warning as an essential part of biblical preaching. Hell is not a theory…” (Rev. Iain H. Murray, The Life of Martyn Lloyd-Jones, The Banner of Truth Trust, 2013, p. 317).

Dr. Lloyd-Jones himself said, “The worst sin of all is the false thinking about God of which the natural man is so terribly guilty” (ibid., p. 316). And Dr. John R. Rice, the noted Baptist evangelist, said virtually the same thing as Dr. Tozer and Dr. Lloyd-Jones. Dr. Rice said,

The God of the Bible is a terrible God, a dreadful God, a God of vengeance, as well as a God of mercy (John R. Rice, D.D., The Great and Terrible God, Sword of the Lord Publishers, 1977, p. 12).

Dr. Rice said,

All this modern preaching of grace without law, of faith without repentance, of God’s mercy without God’s wrath, the preaching of Heaven without Hell…is a perversion of God’s truth. It misrepresents God. It is a dishonest presentation of God’s message. God is a terrible God, a dreadful God, a God of fury against sin, a God who brings vengeance, a God to be feared, a God before whom sinners should tremble (ibid., pp. 13, 14).

Amen! And I know by years of reading their sermons, that Dr. Tozer and Dr. Lloyd-Jones would have agreed with John R. Rice completely on that point. God is “a God of fury against sin.” My long-time pastor at the First Chinese Baptist Church completely agreed with Dr. Rice.

When we see God as the Bible presents Him we will have no trouble with our text in Isaiah 53:10. The text is centered in God the Father and what God did to Jesus to secure our salvation,

“Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin” (Isaiah 53:10).

“Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation” (Romans 3:25).

Dr. W. A. Criswell said that “Propitiation is the work of Christ on the cross in which He met the demands of the righteousness of God against sin, both satisfying the requirements of God’s justice and cancelling the guilt of man” (W. A. Criswell, Ph.D., The Criswell Study Bible, Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1979, p. 1327, note on Romans 3:25).

“Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation” (Romans 3:25).

The Reformation Study Bible says of that verse, “Christ died as a propitiatory sacrifice that satisfies the divine judgment against sinners, bringing about forgiveness and justification. But Paul is careful to indicate that the sacrifice [of God’s Son] does not cause God the Father to love us. The opposite is true – God’s love caused Him to offer His Son” (The Reformation Study Bible, Ligonier Ministries, 2005, p. 1618, note on Romans 3:25).

“He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all” (Romans 8:32).

As our text says,

“Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin” (Isaiah 53:10).

In this text we see that God was the true author of Christ’s agony. Christ suffered and died “by the determinate counsel [the set purpose] and foreknowledge of God” (Acts 2:23). The great and terrible God of Scripture was the true cause of Christ’s suffering and death. John 3:16 says that God “gave his only begotten Son” (John 3:16). Romans 8:32 says, “He…spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all” (Romans 8:32). The wrath of God against sin was propitiated because it fell on His Son Jesus. As our text says,

“It pleased the Lord to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin” (Isaiah 53:10).

Here Isaiah takes us “behind the scenes” to show us that God the Father sent His Son through the horrors of His passion and crucifixion so that God could be propitiated, and His wrath fall on Jesus instead of the sinner. In our text we see that (1) God bruised Him; (2) God put Him to grief; (3) God made His soul an offering for sin.

I. First, God bruised Jesus.

“It pleased the Lord to bruise him” (Isaiah 53:10).

The word translated “bruised” means “to crush.” “It pleased the Lord to crush him.” Dr. Edward J. Young said, “Despite the innocence of [Christ], the Lord took pleasure in bruising [and crushing] him. His death was not in the hands of wicked men but in the Lord’s hands. This does not absolve from responsibility those who put him to death, but they were not in control of the situation. They were only doing what the Lord permitted them to do” (Edward J. Young, The Book of Isaiah, William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1972, volume 3, pp. 353-354).

As I have said, this is clearly shown in Romans 3:25, concerning Christ,

“Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation” (Romans 3:25),

and in John 3:16, that,

“God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son” (John 3:16)

to propitiate His wrath against sin, and make salvation possible to sinful man.

“Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise [to crush] him” (Isaiah 53:10).

Beginning in the Garden of Gethsemane, God the Father bruised and crushed His Son. We are told by Matthew, that in the Garden of Gethsemane, God said, “I will smite the shepherd” (Matthew 26:31). The Gospel of Mark also tells us that, in Gethsemane, “I will smite the shepherd” (Mark 14:27). Thus God smote Jesus, bruised Him, and began to crush Him as a vicarious propitiation for our sins in the darkness of Gethsemane. Spurgeon spoke of that when he said,

It was now that our Lord had to take a certain cup from the Father’s hand. Not from the Jews, not from the traitor Judas, not from the sleeping disciples, not from the devil came the trial [in Gethsemane] now, but it was a cup filled by one whom he knew to be His Father…a cup which amazed his soul and troubled his inmost heart. He shrunk [back] from it, and therefore be ye sure that it was a draught [a cup] more dreadful than physical pain, since from that he did not shrink…it was something inconceivably terrible, amazingly full of dread, which came [to Him] from the Father’s hand. This removes all doubt as to what it was, for we read, “It pleased the Lord to bruise him…” The Lord made to [rest] on him the iniquity of us all. He hath made him to be sin for us though he knew no sin. This, then is what caused the Saviour such extraordinary depression…He must suffer in the sinner’s [place]. Here is the secret of those agonies [in Gethsemane] which it is not possible for me to [fully explain] before you, so true is it that –

      ‘Tis to God, and God alone,
      That his griefs are fully known.’

(C. H. Spurgeon, “The Agony in Gethsemane,” The Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit, Pilgrim Publications, 1971 reprint, volume XX, pp. 592-593).

“Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise him” (Isaiah 53:10).

Under the weight of human sin, poured forth upon Him in Gethsemane, Christ was crushed, He was bruised by the weight of your sin, so that

“Being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground” (Luke 22:44).

No human hand had touched Him yet. He had not yet been arrested, nor had He yet been beaten, flogged, or crucified. No, it was God the Father who bruised and crushed Him in Gethsemane. It was God the Father who said, “I will smite the shepherd” (Matthew 26:31). This is what God prophesied through Isaiah,

“Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise him” (Isaiah 53:10).

No tongue can tell the wrath He bore,
   The wrath so due to me:
Sin’s just desert; He bore it all,
   To set the sinner free!
(“The Cup of Wrath” by Albert Midlane, 1825-1909;
   to the tune of “O Set Ye Open Unto Me”).

II. Second, God put Jesus to grief.

“Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise him; he hath put him to grief…” (Isaiah 53:10).

Again, it was God who put His only begotten Son through the grief He experienced during His passion and death. Dr. John Gill said,

He hath put him to grief [caused Him to suffer]…when he spared him not, but delivered him up into the hands of wicked men, and unto death: he was put to grief in the garden, when his soul was exceeding sorrowful; and on the cross, when he was nailed to it, [and] had the weight of his people’s sins, and his father’s wrath, on him; and when he hid his face from him, which made him cry out, my God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?... [allowing] him to be put to pain, both in body and mind (John Gill, D.D., An Exposition of the Old Testament, The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1989 reprint, vol. V, page 315).

Jesus willingly suffered the crushing and the pain, the flogging and the crucifixion, suffering voluntarily for our sins, for He said,

“For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me” (John 6:38).

I am sure there was a council in Heaven before the world was created. The Father said man would sin and have to be punished. Christ, the Son, then offered to come down and be punished in man's place! Wonderful love!

“For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me” (John 6:38). 

“And he is the propitiation for our sins” (I John 2:2).

“Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood” (Romans 3:25).

No tongue can tell the wrath He bore,
   The wrath so due to me;
Sin’s just desert; He bore it all,
   To set the sinner free!
(“The Cup of Wrath” by Albert Midlane, 1825-1909).

“Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise him; he hath put him to grief…” (Isaiah 53:10).

III. Third, God made the soul of Jesus an offering for sin.

Let us stand and read the text aloud, ending with “an offering for sin.”

“Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin” (Isaiah 53:10).

You may be seated.

Notice the word “yet” at the beginning of the text. It refers back to verse nine, “he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth. Yet…” (Isaiah 53:9-10a). Even though Jesus had never sinned, “Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise him; he hath put him to grief...” Dr. Gaebelein’s commentary says, “Verse 10a is almost shocking in its apparent presentation of arbitrary disregard for [Christ’s] personal righteousness, but then the reader recalls the substitutionary nature of these sufferings…At once God is seen not to be harsh but astonishingly gracious” (Frank E. Gaebelein, D.D., General Editor, The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, Zondervan, 1986, volume 6, p. 304).

“Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin” (Isaiah 53:10).

“He…spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all”
       (Romans 8:32).

“Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree…by whose stripes ye were healed” (I Peter 2:24).

“For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him” (II Corinthians 5:21).

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

No tongue can tell the wrath He bore,
   The wrath so due to me;
Sin’s just desert; He bore it all,
   To set the sinner free!
(“The Cup of Wrath” by Albert Midlane, 1825-1909).

“Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin” (Isaiah 53:10).

Christ was God’s offering for sin. Christ died in your place, as your substitute. Christ suffered for you vicariously, as a propitiation, to pay the penalty for your sin, to turn the wrath of God away from you and take it all upon Himself.

When you think of the nails driven through His hands and feet, it was done for you. He died the just for the unjust, to bring you to God in a righteously pardoned state. Spurgeon said,

Man for sin was condemned to eternal fire; when God took Christ to be the substitute it is true, he did not send Christ into eternal fire, but he poured upon him grief, so desperate, that it was valid payment for even an eternity of fire…for Christ in that hour took all our sins, past, present, and to come, and was punished for them all there and then, that we might never be punished, because he suffered in our [place]. Do you see, then, how it was that God the Father bruised him? Unless he had done so, the agonies of Christ could not have been for our [deserved] sufferings [in Hell] (C. H. Spurgeon, “The Death of Christ,” The New Park Street Pulpit, Pilgrim Publications, 1981 reprint, volume IV, pp. 69-70).

Yet the death of Christ does not save all men from Hell. Only those who trust Christ are saved. He died for sinners, and only for sinners; He died for those who feel within themselves that they are sinners, and seek Christ to pardon them.

Your sense of sin and your sense of need for Jesus are the qualities that show His death will heal your sin. Those who pause for a moment to think of His death, and then forget about it, will go on to receive eternal punishment for their sins, because they rejected the payment Christ made on the Cross.

Think long and hard about that. Think long and hard about the words of Toplady’s great hymn “Propitiation.”

For me was given the spotless Lamb
   His Father’s wrath to bear;
I see His bloody wounds and know
   My name is written there.

Forth from the Lord His gushing blood,
   In purple currents ran;
And every wound proclaimed aloud
   His wondrous love to man.

For me, the Saviour’s blood avails,
   Almighty to atone;
The hands He gave to piercing nails
   Shall lead me to His throne.
(“Propitation” by Augustus Toplady, 1740-1778;
     to the tune of “At the Cross”).

Now, then, why haven’t you trusted Jesus? What is it that keeps you from trusting Him? What secret sin do you hide that keeps you from trusting Him? What false and foolish desire keeps you from the Saviour? What fear of losing something you think is important stops you? What hidden reason keeps you from trusting Christ who bore the awful wrath of God to save you from judgment? What is it that keeps you from Christ? It is your sinful heart that is against Him. It is your proud heart that refuses to be humbled and fall at His feet! But what good has your pride and rebellion done you? Humble yourself – and trust “the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world” (John 1:29). Delay no longer. Trust Him now, tonight. The inquiry room is open for those of you who wish to yield to Jesus and fall at His feet. He will cleanse you from all sin with His Blood. If you would like to speak with us about that, please go to the back of the room now and Dr. Cagan will take you to a quiet place where we can talk. Dr. Chan, please pray that someone will trust Jesus tonight.

(END OF SERMON)
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Prayer Before the Sermon by Mr. Abel Prudhomme.
Solo Sung Before the Sermon by Mr. Benjamin Kincaid Griffith:
“Propitiation” (by Augustus Toplady, 1740-1778;
to the tune of “At the Cross”).


THE OUTLINE OF

PROPITIATION!

(SERMON NUMBER 11 ON ISAIAH 53)

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

“Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin” (Isaiah 53:10).

(Luke 16:23; Romans 3:25; 8:32; Acts 2:23; John 3:16)

I.   First, God bruised Jesus, Isaiah 53:10a; Matthew 26:31; Mark 14:27;
Luke 22:44.

II.  Second, God put Jesus to grief, Isaiah 53:10b; John 6:38.

III. Third, God made the soul of Jesus an offering for sin, Isaiah 53:10c;
Isaiah 53:9-10a; Romans 8:32; I Peter 2:24; II Corinthians 5:21;
John 1:29.