Skip to content ↓

Sin Didn’t Kill Jesus—God Did

This sponsored post is adapted from The Gospel According to God: Rediscovering the Most Remarkable Chapter in the Old Testament by John MacArthur—a book explaining the prophetic words of Isaiah 53 verse by verse, highlighting important connections to the history of Israel, the New Testament, and our lives today.

A Shocking Truth

The reality of Christ’s vicarious, substitutionary death on our behalf is the heart of the gospel according to God—the central theme of Isaiah 53.

We must remember, however, that sin did not kill Jesus; God did. The suffering servant’s death was nothing less than a punishment administered by God for sins others had committed. That is what we mean when we speak of penal substitutionary atonement. Again, if the idea seems shocking and disturbing, it is meant to be. Unless you recoil from the thought, you probably haven’t grasped it yet. “Our God is a consuming fire” (Heb. 12:29). This is one of the major reasons the gospel is a stumbling block to Jews, and it’s sheer foolishness as far as Gentiles are concerned (1 Cor. 1:23). “But to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, [the message of Christ crucified embodies both] the power of God and the wisdom of God” (v. 24).

There’s no way to sidestep the fact that the doctrine of penal substitution is unequivocally affirmed in the plain message of Isaiah 53. It is also confirmed and reiterated by many other passages throughout Scripture (cf. 2 Cor. 5:21; Gal. 3:13; Heb. 9:28; 1 Pet. 2:24). The servant of Yahweh, though perfectly innocent, bore the guilt of others and suffered unspeakable anguish to atone for their sins.

The Necessity of Christ’s Death

Despite the unsettling overtones in that message, it is good news. In fact, there is no more glorious good news. It explains why God “does not deal with us according to our sins, nor repay us according to our iniquities” (Ps. 103:10). He has not compromised his own righteousness. He does not merely overlook our transgressions. Rather, he fully satisfied justice and put away our sin forever through the death of his Son. “As far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us” (Ps. 103:12). Now, grace can truly reign through righteousness (Rom. 5:21). And God can be both “just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus” (Rom. 3:26).

Israel’s national salvation is still in the future. But no one (neither Jew nor Gentile) needs to wait for some future event in order to turn from sin and trust Christ. You can be saved “today if you hear his voice” (Heb. 3:7). The righteousness of God is available even now “through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe” (Rom. 3:22). And “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved” (Rom. 10:13).

“Behold, now is the favorable time; behold, now is the day of salvation” (2 Cor. 6:2).

The Gospel According to God by John MacArthur will be available for purchase March 2018. Download a free sample today!


  • Managing Kingdom Causes with Sound Business Principles 

    This week the blog is sponsored by Redeemer University. The word “management” conjures up images of executives leading large corporations with the goal of generating wealth for shareholders. Think of “sustainability” and the lens widens to benefiting other stakeholders like customers, suppliers, community, and the environment. Now, broaden your view even wider. Pan out–way out!…

  • Comparative Suffering

    Comparative Suffering

    It is something you tend to hear a lot when you have endured a time of significant sorrow or suffering: “I know it’s nothing compared to yours, but…” We have a natural tendency to compare—to compare our experiences to another person’s and to rank or rate them accordingly. The person who has suffered the loss…

  • A La Carte Collection cover image

    A La Carte (May 27)

    A La Carte: Critical dynamics of criticism / Behind Jordan Peterson’s teaching is his own humanistic agenda / The Christian’s keystone habit / Getting out of the burnout pit / Is salvation by faith unfair to those who never hear of him? / That portrait of King Charles / Kindle deals / and more.

  • A Deadly Foe of Spiritual Growth

    A Deadly Foe of Spiritual Growth

    As we live out the Christian life and cooperate with the Holy Spirit through the precious means of grace, we face a number of foes, a number of enemies that mean to derail us from our pursuit of God. Of all those enemies, none may be more prevalent and none more deadly than complacency.

  • A La Carte Collection cover image

    Weekend A La Carte (May 25)

    A La Carte: Don’t regret your past—redeem it / Parents, are you raising angry partisans? / You’re gonna lose everything / My husband and I keep fighting over the same thing / What are the “all things” I can do in Christ? / How are we handling generational differences? / Kindle deals / and more.

  • Free Stuff Fridays (Moody Publishers)

    This giveaway is sponsored by Moody Publishers. Attention all Bible scholars, believers in the power of faith, and lovers of the Word! Learn about God’s divine mercy and compassion with our exclusive Bible Study Giveaway. Win the ultimate bible study library including Overflowing Mercies by author and Bible teacher Craig Allen Cooper. This giveaway also…