Who his own self - Not another in his place, as some anciently supposed, because they thought it impossible that the Christ should suffer.
Bare our sins in his own body - Bore the punishment due to our sins. In no other sense could Christ bear them. To say that they were so imputed to him as if they had been his own, and that the Father beheld him as blackened with imputed sin, is monstrous, if not blasphemous.
That we, being dead to sins - Ἱνα ταις ἁμαρτιαις απογενομενοι· That we, being freed from sin - delivered out of its power, and from under its tyranny.
Should live unto righteousness - That righteousness should be our master now, as sin was before. He is speaking still lo servants who were under an oppressive yoke, and were cruelly used by their masters, scourged, buffeted, and variously maltreated.
By whose stripes ye were healed - The apostle refers here to Isaiah 53:4-6; and he still keeps the case of these persecuted servants in view, and encourages them to suffer patiently by the example of Christ, who was buffeted and scourged, and who bore all this that the deep and inveterate wounds, inflicted on their souls by sin, might be healed.
Who his own self - See the notes at Hebrews 1:3, on the phrase “when he had by himself purged our sins.” The meaning is, that he did it in his own proper person; he did not make expiation by offering a bloody victim, but was himself the sacrifice.
Bare our sins - There is an allusion here undoubtedly to Isaiah 53:4, Isaiah 53:12. See the meaning of the phrase “to bear sins” fully considered in the notes at those places. As this cannot mean that Christ so took upon himself the sins of people as to become himself a sinner, it must mean that he put himself in the place of sinners, and bore that which those sins deserved; that is, that he endured in his own person that which, if it had been inflicted on the sinner himself, would have been a proper expression of the divine displeasure against sin, or would have been a proper punishment for sin. See the notes at 2 Corinthians 5:21. He was treated as if he had been a sinner, in order that we might be treated as if we had not sinned; that is, as if we were righteous. There is no other way in which we can conceive that one bears the sins of another. They cannot be literally transferred to another; and all that can be meant is, that he should take the consequences on himself, and suffer as if he had committed the transgressions himself.
In his own body - This alludes undoubtedly to his sufferings. The sufferings which he endured on the cross were such as if he had been guilty; that is, he was treated as he would have been if he had been a sinner. He was treated as a criminal; crucified as those most guilty were; endured the same kind of physical pain that the guilty do who are punished for their own sins; and passed through mental sorrows strongly resembling - as much so as the case admitted of - what the guilty themselves experience when they are left to distressing anguish of mind, and are abandoned by God. The sufferings of the Saviour were in all respects made as nearly like the sufferings of the most guilty, as the sufferings of a perfectly innocent being could be.
On the tree - Margin, “to the tree” Greek, ἐπὶ τὸ ξύλον epi to xulonThe meaning is rather, as in the text, that while himself on the cross, he bore the sorrows which our sins deserved. It does not mean that he conveyed our sorrows there, but that while there he suffered under the intolerable burden, and was by that burden crushed in death. The phrase “on the tree,” literally “on the wood,” means the cross. The same Greek word is used in Acts 5:30; Acts 10:39; Acts 13:29; Galatians 3:13, as applicable to the cross, in all of which places it is rendered “tree.”
That we, being dead to sins - In virtue of his having thus been suspended on a cross; that is, his being put to death as an atoning sacrifice was the means by which we become dead to sin, and live to God. The phrase “being dead to sins” is, in the original, ταῖς ἁμαρτίαις ἀπογενόμενοι tais hamartiais apogenomenoi- literally, “to be absent from sins.” The Greek word was probably used (by an euphemism) to denote to die, that is, to be absent from the world. This is a milder and less repulsive word than to say to die. It is not elsewhere used in the New Testament. The meaning is, that we being effectually separated from sin - that is, being so that it no longer influences us - should live unto God. We are to be, in regard to sin, as if we were dead; and it is to have no more influence over us than if we were in our graves. See the notes at Romans 6:2-7. The means by which this is brought about is the death of Christ (See the notes at Romans 6:8) for as he died literally on the cross on account of our sins, the effect has been to lead us to see the evil of transgression, and to lead new, and holy lives.
Should live unto righteousness - Though dead in respect to sin, yet we have real life in another respect. We are made alive unto God to righteousness, to true holiness. See the Romans 6:11 note; Galatians 2:20 note.
By whose stripes - This is taken from Isaiah 53:5. See it explained in the notes on that verse. The word rendered “stripes” ( μώλωπι mōlōpi) means, properly, the livid and swollen mark of a blow; the mark designated by us when we use the expression “black and blue.” It is not properly a bloody wound, but that made by pinching, beating, scourging. The idea seems to be that the Saviour was scourged or whipped; and that the effect on us is the same in producing spiritual healing, or in recovering us from our faults, as if we had been scourged ourselves. By faith we see the bruises inflicted on him, the black and blue spots made by beating; we remember that they were on account of our sins, and not for his; and the effect in reclaiming us is the same as if they had been inflicted on us.
Ye were healed - Sin is often spoken of as a disease, and redemption from it as a restoration from a deadly malady. See this explained in the notes at Isaiah 53:5.
It is God that circumcises the heart. The whole work is the Lord's from the beginning to the end. The perishing sinner may say: “I am a lost sinner; but Christ came to seek and to save that which was lost. He says, ‘I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance’ (Mark 2:17). I am a sinner, and He died upon Calvary's cross to save me. I need not remain a moment longer unsaved. He died and rose again for my justification, and He will save me now. I accept the forgiveness He has promised.” 1SM 392.1
Christ is a risen Saviour; for, though He was dead, He has risen again, and ever liveth to make intercession for us. We are to believe with the heart unto righteousness, and with the mouth make confession unto salvation. Those who are justified by faith will make confession of Christ. “He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life” (John 5:24). The great work that is wrought for the sinner who is spotted and stained by evil is the work of justification. By Him who speaketh truth he is declared righteous. The Lord imputes unto the believer the righteousness of Christ and pronounces him righteous before the universe. He transfers his sins to Jesus, the sinner's representative, substitute, and surety. Upon Christ He lays the iniquity of every soul that believeth. “He hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him” (2 Corinthians 5:21). 1SM 392.2Read in context »
We should cherish gratitude of heart all the days of our life because the Lord has put on record these words: “For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones.” The reconciliation of God to man, and man to God, is sure when certain conditions are met. The Lord says, “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, Thou wilt not despise.” Again He says, “The Lord is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit.” “Though the Lord be high, yet hath He respect unto the lowly: but the proud He knoweth afar off.” “Thus saith the Lord, The heaven is My throne, and the earth is My footstool: where is the house that ye build unto Me? and where is the place of My rest? For all those things hath Mine hand made, and all those things have been, saith the Lord: but to this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at My word.” “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me; because the Lord hath anointed Me to preach good tidings unto the meek; He hath sent Me to bind up the broken-hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn; to appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that He might be glorified.” The psalmist writes, “He healeth the broken in heart, and bindeth up their wounds.” Though He is the restorer of fallen humanity, yet “He telleth the number of the stars; He calleth them all by their names. Great is our Lord, and of great power: His understanding is infinite. The Lord lifteth up the meek: He casteth the wicked down to the ground. Sing unto the Lord with thanksgiving; sing praise upon the harp unto our God.... The Lord taketh pleasure in them that fear Him, in those that hope in His mercy. Praise the Lord, O Jerusalem; praise thy God, O Zion.” FE 370.1
How precious are the lessons of this psalm. We might well devote study to the last four psalms of David. The words also of the prophet are very precious: “Will a man leave the snow of Lebanon which cometh from the rock of the field? or shall the cold flowing waters that come from another place be forsaken? Because my people hath forgotten Me, they have burned incense to vanity, and they have caused them to stumble in their ways from the ancient paths, to walk in paths, in a way not cast up.” “Thus saith the Lord; Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the Lord. For he shall be like the heath in the desert, and shall not see when good cometh; but shall inhabit the parched places in the wilderness, in a salt land and not inhabited. Blessed is the man that trusteth in the Lord, and whose hope the Lord is. For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, and that spreadeth out her roots by the river, and shall not see when heat cometh, but her leaf shall be green; and shall not be careful in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit.”—Special Testimonies On Education, April 22, 1895. FE 371.1Read in context »
In order to be candidates for heaven we must meet the requirement of the law: “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself” (Luke 10:27). We can do this only as we grasp by faith the righteousness of Christ. By beholding Jesus we receive a living, expanding principle in the heart, and the Holy Spirit carries on the work, and the believer advances from grace to grace, from strength to strength, from character to character. He conforms to the image of Christ, until in spiritual growth he attains unto the measure of the full stature in Christ Jesus. Thus Christ makes an end of the curse of sin, and sets the believing soul free from its action and effect. 1SM 395.1
Christ alone is able to do this, for “in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people. For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted” (Hebrews 2:17, 18). Reconciliation means that every barrier between the soul and God is removed, and that the sinner realizes what the pardoning love of God means. By reason of the sacrifice made by Christ for fallen men, God can justly pardon the transgressor who accepts the merits of Christ. Christ was the channel through which the mercy, love, and righteousness might flow from the heart of God to the heart of the sinner. “He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). 1SM 395.2
In the prophecy of Daniel it was recorded of Christ that He shall “make reconciliation for iniquity, and ... bring in everlasting righteousness” (Daniel 9:24). Every soul may say: “By His perfect obedience He has satisfied the claims of the law, and my only hope is found in looking to Him as my substitute and surety, who obeyed the law perfectly for me. By faith in His merits I am free from the condemnation of the law. He clothes me with His righteousness, which answers all the demands of the law. I am complete in Him who brings in everlasting righteousness. He presents me to God in the spotless garment of which no thread was woven by any human agent. All is of Christ, and all the glory, honor, and majesty are to be given to the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sins of the world.” 1SM 396.1Read in context »
Redemption is an inexhaustible theme, worthy of our closest contemplation. It passes the comprehension of the deepest thought, the stretch of the most vivid imagination. Who by searching can find out God? The treasures of wisdom and knowledge are opened to all men, and were thousands of the most gifted men to devote their whole time to setting forth Jesus always before us, studying how they might portray His matchless charms, they would never exhaust the subject. 1SM 403.1
Although great and talented authors have made known wonderful truths, and have presented increased light to the people, still in our day we shall find new ideas, and ample fields in which to work, for the theme of salvation is inexhaustible. The work has gone forward from century to century, setting forth the life and character of Christ, and the love of God as manifested in the atoning sacrifice. The theme of redemption will employ the minds of the redeemed through all eternity. There will be new and rich developments made manifest in the plan of salvation throughout eternal ages. 1SM 403.2Read in context »