‘By His knowledge shall My righteous Servant justify many, for He shall bear their iniquities.’Isa 53:11
This text shows that whereas God the Father initiates redemption, yet the scheme or manner of redemption is the prerogative of God the Son.
In a past eternity, God the Father gave an innumerable number of sinners to God the Son Jn 17:6 and Jn 6:37 to save them from their sins.
How was He to do so? It required the resources of divine Wisdom to find a method ‘to justify the ungodly’ Rom 4:5. How could a sinner be just with God Job 9:2?
God the Son is called the Wisdom of God 1Cor 1:24, and it is in this capacity that the Son of God addressed Himself to the task of how to justify His people. By His knowledge the Wisdom of God determined that He would justify them by personally bearing their iniquities. ‘My righteous Servant shall justify many by bearing their iniquities’ Isa 53:11.
This was not suggested nor imposed upon Him by God the Father. God the Son personally determined and suggested it within the fellowship of the triune Godhead Zec 6:13. The Wisdom of God was anointed to this role from a past eternity Pro 8:23 and set apart by the Father to be the Saviour of His elect people Isa 42:1. In His capacity as the Wisdom of God, the Son determined that the method of salvation would be by His incarnation and substitutionary atonement Isa 53:11.
This makes it all the more atrocious that some people speak of Christ’s atoning sacrifice as ‘child abuse’, not only failing to understand the Gospel but failing to see that it was not God the Father but God the Son Who by His knowledge determined to sacrifice Himself as the only way to lay the foundation in justice for the forgiveness of sins.
God the Father extols the Wisdom of God the Son in redemption:
‘By His knowledge shall My righteous Servant justify many, for He shall bear their iniquities’ Isa 53:11.
John Bunyan has a beautiful passage that pictures the scene in The Holy War.
“when the King and his Son were retired into the privy-chamber, there they again consulted about what they had designed before … This Son of Shaddai, I say, having stricken hands with his Father, and promised that he would be his servant to recover his Mansoul again, stood by his resolution, nor would he repent of the same (Isa 49:5 and 1Tim 1:15). The purport of which agreement was this: to wit, That at a certain time prefixed by both, the King’s Son should take a journey into the country of Universe; and there, in a way of justice and equity, by making of amends for the follies of Mansoul, he should lay a foundation of her perfect deliverance from Diabolus, and from his tyranny.
“… when this matter, I mean this purpose of the King and his Son, did at first take air at court, who can tell how the high lords, chief captains, and noble princes, that were there, were taken with the business. First, they whispered it one to another, and after that it began to ring out throughout the King’s palace; all wondering at the glorious design that between the King and his Son was on foot for the miserable town of Mansoul.”
Thus God was manifest in the flesh 1Tim 3:16 and He was called Jesus ‘because He shall save His people from their sins’ Mat 1:21.
In the garden of Gethsemane, as Christ contemplated the cup of suffering that He was to drink, devised by Himself but given to Him by His Father Jn 18:11 as the upholder of all the claims of law and justice, the Wisdom of God appealed to His Father that if there was any other way to redeem His people, then let this cup pass away from Him Mat 26:39. But there was no other way. This is the only way to redeem sinners, to justify the ungodly.
It is so unique and so beyond the wisdom of men, that many do not believe it. All false religions on Earth employ one means or another of man-made religion, thinking that they can justify themselves by one means or another.
The apostle Paul tells them plainly that it cannot be done.
‘If there had been a law given which could have given life, verily righteousness should have been by the law’ Gal 3:21.
‘Be it known unto you therefore, men and brethren, that through this man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins: and by him all that believe are justified from all things, from which you could not be justified by the law of Moses’ Act 13:38-39. If the law of Moses could not justify them, then no other law-keeping could do so either.
Having accomplished redemption, it must be applied to His people. To this end, the Gospel of Jesus Christ is preached with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven, as a result of which:
‘Christ Jesus is made unto us wisdom, righteousness, sanctification and redemption’ 1Cor 1:30.
The wisdom of the Gospel is seen by His people and Christ becomes their wisdom. By faith in Christ, He becomes their righteousness, through which they are justified from all the claims of law and justice that may be held against them Col 2:14. The Holy Spirit sanctifies and prepares them for final redemption, both body and soul.
‘You are complete in Christ’ Col 2:10, ‘in Whom are all the hidden treasures of wisdom and knowledge’ Col 2:3.
Are you ‘in Christ’?
‘If any man is in Christ, he is a new creature: old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new’ 2Cor 5:17.
14 Feb 2011: The righteous Servant or suffering Servant?
3 Feb 2020: there are differences of opinion among biblical exegetes as to the meaning of Isa 53:11, too long to discuss here, but as some Gaelic speakers draw their exegesis from the Scottish Gaelic Bible, it is worth pointing out that it has wrongly translated the Hebrew. The Gaelic Bible reads le eòlas airsan as ‘the knowledge of someone else’ rather than His own knowledge, which would be le eòlas san. On this basis, some people interpret this verse to mean that one is justified by knowing Christ, as if by sinners coming to a knowledge of Christ they shall be justified.
There are several things wrong with this. 1. one is not justified by the knowledge of Christ but by faith in Christ. 2. the literal translation of the Hebrew is ‘by His knowledge My righteous Servant shall justify many’. It is not knowledge about God’s righteous Servant. In the Hebrew, ‘His’ refers to My righteous Servant – it is the righteous Servant’s own knowledge that secures their justification – ‘for He shall bear their iniquities’.