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THE HEALING STRIPES OF JESUS

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

A sermon preached at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles
Lord's Day Morning, October 12, 2014

“By whose stripes ye were healed” (I Peter 2:24).


The Apostle Peter is quoting from Isaiah 53:5 in our text. Some of our friends say this refers mainly to physical healing. They say God doesn’t want His people to suffer from sickness. I think that is a mistake. Verse 21 says that Christ “suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps” (I Peter 2:21). So, like Christ, a Christian will have to go through some suffering in this world – including suffering from sickness, as the Apostle Paul did (see II Corinthians 12:9-10).

No, this text does not deal with physical healing per se. The whole text shows us what Peter is telling us about Jesus,

“Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed” (I Peter 2:24).

You see that “sins” is mentioned twice, and physical healing is not mentioned in this verse at all. I Peter 2:24 is talking about Christ healing our sins. Dr. J. Vernon McGee said, “Peter makes it quite clear that we are healed of our trespasses and sins” (Thru the Bible, volume III, p. 314; note on Isaiah 53:5).

By the stripes and bruises and wounds of Jesus, true Christians have been healed of sin. I know the lost world treats being healed of sin as a small thing. One of them might say, “You mean Jesus only heals sin? Can’t He heal my body?” Of course He can, but healing sin is far more important, infinitely more important, eternally more important! I know the lost world can’t see that. But they will some day, when they find themselves in the Lake of Fire. But a true Christian, or an awakened sinner, needs to know this truth now!

“By whose stripes ye were healed” (I Peter 2:24).

Here is healing for a sin-sick soul. And this healing comes to us through the suffering of the Lord Jesus Christ. May you see this, too. May the Holy Spirit enlighten you to see it. May you see that your sin-sick soul can be healed by the stripes of Jesus Christ!

“By whose stripes ye were healed” (I Peter 2:24).

I. First, notice the disease itself.

God treats sin as a disease. And He does so out of pity. If God judged lost people now, they would sink down to Hell immediately! Sinners are criminals, but God does not treat lost people as criminals now. He treats them as sick people now, in this life. He looks at the sickness of sin. He does not yet judge people for the wickedness of sin.

I could name many diseases, like the Ebola virus, that kill human beings. But the worst disease is sin. Sin kills more people than all other diseases combined. That is why the Apostle says we “were dead in sins” (Ephesians 2:5). Man is marred, bruised, sick, paralyzed, polluted, rotten with the disease of sin, in various degrees, as sin does its evil work.

Like all diseases, sin weakens man. It weakens man morally. He is gradually made weaker and weaker. Finally sin robs a man from the ability to tell the difference between good and evil. Sin ruins the conscience. At first his conscience troubles him when he commits a sin. But over time he becomes hardened, so it no longer troubles him to sin. He is like a drug addict. At first, only a little of the drug caused him to feel its effect. Soon larger and larger doses are required. Finally he can take enough of the drug to kill ten men without it affecting him. One of the worst effects of the disease of sin is that it paralyzes the conscience. Now he can commit great sins without it bothering him at all.

Like any other disease, sin will finally cause pain. I remember seeing a young man rolling on the floor in great pain because he had become a heroin addict. Thank God he was awakened in time, and he was healed of his sin by Jesus! But others do not awaken until it is too late – like the rich man, who did not awaken until “in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments” (Luke 16:23).

Those who have the Ebola virus must be separated from contact with anyone else. They must be quarantined, away from others. And God must put a sin-diseased man in Hell. If God let him into Heaven, he would infect it with his disease. Listen to me! Will God have to quarantine you in that awful place because you refused to be cleansed from the disease of sin?

Sin is also a disease that injures you now. It stops you from enjoying a higher life. People exist in sin, but they do not enjoy the life they could have had. The Bible says that they are dead while they live. Sin keeps you from spiritual sight, hearing, feeling and taste. Sin keeps you in a ruined condition. It keeps you from living an abundant life!

And sin is always fatal. The Bible says, “The soul that sinneth, it shall die” (Ezekiel 18:4, 20). Have you ever read “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” by Robert Louis Stevenson? In the story, Dr. Jekyll concocted a drug that changed him into a brutal monster named “Mr. Hyde.” Gradually he had to take more and more of the antidote to keep from turning into the monster. At last the antidote didn’t work. He turned into the monster and was killed by the police. What a picture Robert Louis Stevenson wrote of his own life! His grandfather was a minister and his parents were godly Christians. Stevenson ran away from his home and joined a club. Its motto was: “Disregard everything your parents taught you.” He sank into drunkenness, and spent his time with prostitutes. He became so crazy with sin that he damned the parents who loved him. He said, “What a pleasant thing it is to have damned the happiness of the only two people who care a damn about you in the world.” He had gone nuts! He had turned himself into a monster, like Mr. Hyde in his novel. Wracked with tuberculosis, he wandered around the world. He died, a hopeless atheist, from a brain hemorrhage at the age of forty-four. Sin was the disease that ruined him, killed him, and sent him to a Godless eternity with no hope! That can happen to anyone who continues to live in sin!

Somebody may say, “Why do you preach these things? You fill my mind with horrible thoughts!” I speak of sin for a reason. I want you to appreciate the wonderful remedy for sin, so beautifully given in our text. It speaks of Jesus.

“Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree [the cross], that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed” (I Peter 2:24).

You, too, can be healed of sin by the wounds of Christ!

II. Second, notice the cure for the disease.

God treats sin as a disease. In our text God gives the remedy He has provided in His Son, Jesus – “with his stripes [we are] healed” (see Isaiah 53:5).

Stop for a few minutes and think about the stripes of Jesus. God chose to heal us from sin by His wounds. He sent His Only-begotten Son, “very God of very God” down from Heaven to live among us. After He was thirty years old, the time came when He would bear our sins, so they could be healed. He went into the Garden of Gethsemane at night. There our sin was placed upon Him, and He “sweat...as it were great drops of blood” (Luke 22:44). They dragged him to the governor, Pontius Pilate, where He was beaten half to death across the back – in our place. The word “stripes” is used to show the suffering He went through, both in His body and in His soul. The whole of Christ was made a sacrifice for us. Pilate had Him scourged. The soldiers spit in His face. Scourging is one of the most awful tortures that has ever been devised. The Roman scourge was made from the sinews of an ox, twisted into knots. Into those knots slivers of sharp bone were inserted. Every time the scourge fell upon His bare back it cut deep gashes in His flesh – until He stood in a pool of His own Blood. But this was not the end of His suffering. It was only the beginning. Then they beat Him and plucked out patches of His beard. Then they made Him carry His cross toward the place of execution. Because of fasting and bleeding, Jesus was exhausted. He fell again and again under the weight of His cross. At last a black man in the crowd was forced to carry His cross. This the soldiers did, not out of kindness, but out of fear that He would die before they could nail Him to the Cross. They stripped off all His clothes. They threw Him down on the Cross. They nailed his hands and His feet to the wood. They lifted up the Cross, with Jesus on it, and then dashed it down into a hole in the ground. All of His limbs were dislocated – arms, and legs pulled out of joint. He hung there under the burning sun. How horrible it must have felt as the nails tore through the delicate nerves of His hands and feet. He cried out, “I thirst!” They gave Him vinegar mixed with gall. The sun was blocked out in the middle of the day. Jesus cried, “It is finished” and died.

This sermon was adapted from one by C. H. Spurgeon, the “Prince of Preachers.” No language can ever fully describe the suffering of Jesus. The cure for your sin and mine is found in the substitutionary sufferings of the Son of God. Those “stripes” of His were a substitute for our sin – a payment for it. He suffered all that horror to pay for our sin. The Bible says, “Christ... suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God” (I Peter 3:18). He was the just one. We are the sinful and unjust ones. Christ suffered “for sins, the just [Him] for the unjust [we sinners] that He might bring us to God.” The cure for your sin is in the substitutionary suffering and death of Jesus.

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

To be saved from sin you must rely on the wounds of Jesus and nothing else. Isaiah 53 does not say, “His stripes help to heal us.” No! It says, “with his stripes we are healed.” Must we repent? Yes. But the stripes of Jesus heal us, not our repentance. Trust Jesus, not yourself. Think only of the pain Jesus went through to save you. Do not think about your own feelings. Think only about His feelings – the pain He felt on the Cross to save you. If you stop thinking about your feelings, and think only about His feelings of pain, you will be saved in a moment! Joseph Hart (1712-1768) said,

The moment a sinner believes,
   And trusts in his crucified God,
His pardon at once he receives,
   Redemption in full through His Blood.

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

Only trust Him. Only trust Him. Only trust Him now. He will save you. He will save you. He will save you now! Evangeline Booth, one of the founders of the Salvation Army, said it beautifully in that hymn Mr. Griffith just sang,

Dark shadows were falling, My spirit appalling,
   For hid in my heart sin's deep crimson stains lay;
And when I was weeping, The past o'er me creeping,
   I heard of the blood which can wash sin away.
The wounds of Christ are open, Sinner, they were made for thee;
   The wounds of Christ are open, There for refuge flee.

It soothes all life's sorrows, It smooths all its furrows,
   It binds up the wounds which transgression has made;
It turns night to morning, So truly adorning
   The spirit with joy when all other lights fade.
The wounds of Christ are open, Sinner, they were made for thee;
   The wounds of Christ are open, There for refuge flee.

Come, cast in thy sorrow, Wait not till tomorrow.
   Life's evening is closing, the death-bell will toll;
His blood for thee streaming, His grace so redeeming,
   His love intervening will pardon thy soul.
The wounds of Christ are open, Sinner, they were made for thee;
   The wounds of Christ are open, There for refuge flee.
(“The Wounds of Christ Are Open” by Evangeline Booth, 1865-1950).

Dr. Chan, please lead us in prayer. Amen.

(END OF SERMON)
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Scripture Read Before the Sermon by Mr. Abel Prudhomme: Isaiah 53:3-5.
Solo Sung Before the Sermon by Mr. Benjamin Kincaid Griffith:
“The Wounds of Christ Are Open” (by Evangeline Booth, 1865-1950).


THE OUTLINE OF

THE HEALING STRIPES OF JESUS

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

“By whose stripes ye were healed” (I Peter 2:24).

(cf. Isaiah 53:5; I Peter 2:21; cf. II Corinthians 12:9-10)

I.   First, notice the disease itself, Ephesians 2:5; Luke 16:23;
Ezekiel 18:4, 20.

II.  Second, notice the cure for the disease, Isaiah 53:5; Luke 22:44;
I Peter 3:18.