Forensic Friday — E. J. Young's Turn

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This verse (Is 53:6) is a veritable compend of life-giving theology. Here is the doctrine of total depravity – we had gone astray, we had turned each one to his own way. These words set forth the fact of our sinfulness. We had already sinned and were gone out of the way. This is to say that we were in no condition to save ourselves. If one has gone astray, he is lost and needs to be found.

Here too is the doctrine of God’s sovereignty – for He is the ultimate cause in the Servant’s suffering. Up until this point the LORD is not explicitly mentioned in Isaiah fifty-three. Now, however, it appears that it is He who causes our iniquity to strike upon the Servant. It is well to consider the thought carefully. The Servant was a righteous One, with no sin of His own. His death therefore must have been the work of evil men. It was an unjust death, for He did not deserve to die. Yet even this unjust death could not have occurred apart from the Lord’s so decreeing. The LORD does reign supreme in the heavens, and He foreordains all things that come to pass upon this earth.

In this verse there is also found the doctrine of salvation by grace, for the Lord, by causing our iniquity to light upon Him, has done that which was necessary to save His people. This verse, therefore is in perfect harmony with the remainder of the Bible, for everywhere throughout the pages of Scripture, salvation is set forth as the work of God and not of man. It is His free gift and all of grace. Here too is the doctrine of a vicarious punishment, for the terrible wrath of God which we deserved, struck Him in the stead of us. How clearly the Scripture sets before us the vicarious or substitutionary nature of the Servant’s death! If we do not believe, it is because the blindness of our hearts which is a result of our fall in Adam, still remains, and the veil has not been taken from our eyes.

Here too are the doctrines of satisfaction and expiation. It is the Servant who by His death offers a sacrifice to put away sin. It is He who sprinkles many nations. The iniquity which meets in his Soul is expiated by His death and that death satisfies every accusation that can be brought against the sinner, for it is because of His suffering that we are made right with God. And lastly, here is the comforting doctrine of Divine Providence. The Servant’s suffering was not accidental. It was brought about by God Himself who ordereth all things according to His own will. (E. J. Young, Isaiah 53: A Devotional and Expository Study, pp 57-58)

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Machen Day 2009

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The man who was born on this day in 1881 is worth remembering if only because he could write as clearly as  and as courageously as the following:

 

 

If what we have said so far be correct, there is now living a Saviour who is worthy of our trust, even Christ Jesus the Lord, and a deadly need of our souls for which we come to Him, namely, the curse of God’s law, the terrible guilt of sin. But these things are not all that is needed in order that we may have faith. It is also necessary that there should be contact between the Saviour and our need. Christ is a sufficient Saviour; but what has He done, and what will He do, not merely for the men who were with Him in the days of His flesh, but for us? How is it that Christ touches our lives?

The answer which the Word of God gives to that question is perfectly specific and perfectly plain. Christ touches our lives, according to the New Testament, through the Cross. We deserved eternal death, in accordance with the curse of God’s law; but the Lord Jesus, because He loved us, took upon Himself the guilt of our sins and died instead of us on Calvary. And faith consists simply in our acceptance of that wondrous gift. When we accept the gift, we are clothed, entirely without merit of our own, by the righteousness of Christ; when God looks upon us, He sees not our impurity but the spotless purity of Christ, and accepts us “as righteous in His sight, only for the righteousness of Christ imputed to us, and received by faith alone.” That view of the Cross, it cannot be denied, runs counter to the mind of the natural man. It is not, indeed, complicated or obscure; on the contrary it is so simple that a child can understand, and what is really obscure is the manifold modern effort to explain the Cross away in such fashion as to make it more agreeable to human pride. But certainly it is mysterious, and certainly it demands for its acceptance a tremendous sense of sin and guilt. That sense of sin and guilt, that moral awakening of a soul dead in sin, is the work of the Spirit of God; without the Spirit of God no human persuasion will ever bring men to faith. But that does not mean that we should be careless about the way in which we proclaim the gospel: because the proclamation of the message is insufficient to induce faith, it does not follow that it is unnecessary; on the contrary it is the means which the Spirit Himself graciously uses in bringing men to Christ. Every effort, therefore, should be made, with the help of God, to remove objections to this “word of the Cross” and to present it in all its gracious power.