1) (3.) Our Lord Jesus was appointed and did undertake to make satisfaction for our sins and so to save us from the penal consequences of them. [1.] He was appointed to do it, by the will of his Father; for the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all. God chose him to be the Saviour of poor sinners and would have him to save them in this way, by bearing their sins and the punishment of them; not the idemthe same that we should have suffered, but the tantundemthat which was more than equivalent for the maintaining of the honour of the holiness and justice of God in the government of the world. Observe here, First, In what way we are saved from the ruin to which by sin we had become liable—by laying our sins on Christ, as the sins of the offerer were laid upon the sacrifice and those of all Israel upon the head of the scape-goat. Our sins were made to meet upon him (so the margin reads it); the sins of all that he was to save, from every place and every age, met upon him, and he was met with for them. They were made to fall upon him (so some read it) as those rushed upon him that came with swords and staves to take him. The laying of our sins upon Christ implies the taking of them off from us; we shall not fall under the curse of the law if we submit to the grace of the gospel. They were laid upon Christ when he was made sin (that is, a sin-offering) for us, and redeemed us from the curse of the law by being made a curse for us; thus he put himself into a capacity to make those easy that come to him heavily laden under the burden of sin. See Ps. xl. 6-12. Secondly, By whom this was appointed. It was the Lord that laid our iniquities on Christ; he contrived this way of reconciliation and salvation, and he accepted of the vicarious satisfaction Christ was to make. Christ was delivered to death by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God. None but God had power to lay our sins upon Christ, both because the sin was committed against him and to him the satisfaction was to be made, and because Christ, on whom the iniquity was to be laid, was his own Son, the Son of his love, and his holy child Jesus, who himself knew no sin. Thirdly, For whom this atonement was to be made. It was the iniquity of us all that was laid on Christ; for in Christ there is a sufficiency of merit for the salvation of all, and a serious offer made of that salvation to all, which excludes none that do not exclude themselves. It intimates that this is the one only way of salvation. All that are justified are justified by having their sins laid on Jesus Christ, and, though they were ever so many, he is able to bear the weight of them all. [2.] He undertook to do it. God laid upon him our iniquity; but did he consent to it? Yes, he did; for some think that the true reading of the next words (v. 7) is, It was exacted, and he answered; divine justice demanded satisfaction for our sins, and he engaged to make the satisfaction. He became our surety, not as originally bound with us, but as bail to the action: “Upon me be the curse, my Father.” And therefore, when he was seized, he stipulated with those into whose hands he surrendered himself that that should be his disciples’ discharge: If you seek me, let these go their way, John xviii. 8. By his own voluntary undertaking he made himself responsible for our debt, and it is well for us that he was responsible. Thus he restored that which he took not away. Matthew Henry, Commentary, Isaiah 53:4-9. [Italics original and underlining mine.]

2) [I] Our Lord Jesus voluntarily undertook to be a surety for us; pitying our. deplorable case, and concerned for his; Father’s injured honour, that divine justice might be satisfied, and yet sinners saved, he offered to make his own soul a sacrifice for sin, and himself a propitiation, answering the demands of the law, as the propitiatory, or mercy-seat, exactly answered the dimensions of the ark. The Father entrusted him with this great piece of service, and he voluntarily and cheerfully consented to it; he said, “Lo, I am come, and not only did this will of God, but delighted to do it,” Ps. xl. 7; drawn but those of his own love, and the agreeableness of his undertaking to his Father’s commandment.

Christ had no debt of his own to pay, for he always did those things that pleased his Father. Such was the dignity of his person, and such the value of the price he paid, that he had wherewithal to make full satisfaction, and to pay this debt, even to the last mite. He said, “Upon me be the curse” my Father Thus he became bound for us, as Paul for Onesimus to Philemon his master: If “he have wronged thee, or owes thee ought, I Paul have written it with my own hand,” the blessed Jesus has written it with his own blood, “I will repay it,” Phil. 18, 19. And this undertaking of Christ’s shall redound more to the glory of God, even to the glory of his justice, than the damnation of these sinners would have done; for if they had perished, the righteousness of God would have been, to eternity, but in the satisfying; but now, by the merit of Christ’s death, it is once for all satisfied, and reconciliation made for iniquity. Thus he “restored that which he took not away,” Ps. lxix. 4.

Let us pause a little, and think with wonder and thankfulness of this glorious undertaking. How great was that kindness and love of God our Saviour towards man, which set this work going! How admirable the wisdom that contrived it! “The wisdom of God in a mystery,” 1 Cor. ii. 7. Let every crown be thrown at the Redeemer’s feet, and every song sung to his praise. Who is this that engages his heart to approach unto God, as a surety for us? Jer. xxx. 21. It is he who speaks in righteousness, and will never unsay what he has said, for he is mighty to save, Isa. liii. 1. he is almighty.

[2.] Having made himself a surety for us, he made full satisfaction to divine justice for our debt, by the blood of his cross. He poured out his soul unto death, Isa liii. 12. not only for our good, but in our stead; and paid, though not the idemthe same that we should have paid, yet the tantundemthe equivalent, that which was more than equivalent; so that in him God might be said to have received double for all our sins, Isa. xl. 2. so much was the Father glorified in him.

God charged the debt upon him, according to his undertaking. Those he undertook for being insolvent, the action was brought against him; and God laid upon him the iniquity of us all, Isa. liii. 6; made it all to meet upon him, (so the word is,) as the sins of all Israel were made to meet upon the head of the goat, that on the day of atonement was to be sent into a land of forgetfulness, Lev. xvi. 21. Solomon says, “He that is surety for a stranger shall smart for it” shall be broken by it; our Lord Jesus being surety for us who were strangers and foreigners, he smarted for it, Prov. xi. 15; for it pleased the Lord to bruise him, and put him to grief.

He voluntarily and freely paid the debt; his life was not forced from him, but he laid it down of himself, John x. 18. The satisfaction was to be made to God in his honour; for in that he had been injured, and to that he had an eye, when he said, “Father, glorify thy name” John xii. 28, take the satisfaction that is demanded. And it was to be made by his death, for without shedding of blood, that blood which is the life, there was no remission; and, therefore, he laid down his life with these words, “Father, into thy hands I commit my spirit,” Luke xxiii. 45; that life, that soul, which is to be given as a ransom for many, I here give to thee; I put it into thy hands, as the surety pays the debt into the hands v of the creditor, the proper person to receive it.

[3.] The satisfaction which Christ made for our sins was graciously accepted, and God was so well pleased in him, Matt. xvii. 5. as to be well pleased with us in him. This was a further act of divine grace: for in strict justice it might have been insisted on, that the law should have had its course against the sinners themselves. Christ intimated, that pursuant to the counsels of peace, Zech. vi. 13. which were between the Father and him, concerning man’s redemption, his arrest should be our discharge, when he said to those who seized him in the garden, “If ye seek me, let these go their way,” John xviii. 8. He delivered up himself to suffer and die, that we might be delivered from wrath and ruin, and divine justice agreed to it.

In token of the acceptance of his satisfaction, God raised him from the dead, sent an angel to roll away the stone from the door of the sepulchre, and so to release the prisoner; which he did, and then sat upon it, Matt, xxviii. 2. in triumph, signifying that then death had no more dominion over him, but was perfectly conquered and abolished. But are we certain that he had a fair discharge? Yes; for he was often seen alive, seen at liberty, and the Father having raised him from the dead, set him at his own right hand, which would have been no place for him, if he had not fully made good his undertaking. Christ’s death being the payment of our debt, for he was delivered for our offences, his resurrection was the taking out of our acquittance, for he rose again for our justification, Rom. iv. 25. Therefore the apostle lays the stress of our faith, hope, and comfort upon this, “Who is he that shall condemn?” Who can take out an execution against us? “It is Christ that died, yea, rather, that is risen again,” Rom. viii. 34: by which it appears that his dying for us was accepted, especially since he now is even at the right hand of God making intercession in the virtue of his satisfaction; and it is an effectual intercession, for the Father hears him always. Mathew Henry, “A Sermon on the Forgiveness of Sin As a Debt,” in The Complete Works of the Rev. Matthew Henry (His Unfinished Commentary Excepted) (Grand Rapids, MI.: Baker Book House, 1978), 328-329. [Italics original; some spelling modernized; some minor reformatting; and underlining mine.]

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