Sermon #1087                               Miscellaneous Sermons


     Title:           Our Suffering Substitute

     Text:           1 Peter 3:18

     Reading:    Psalm 69:1-21, 30-32

     Subject:      The Substitutionary Sacrifice of Christ

     Date:          Sunday Morning ― April 25, 1993

     Tape #  



Here is a question that men have been asking since the beginning of time. At one time or another every man and woman asks this question. You may use different words, but the question is essentially the same. “How can God be just and yet the Justifier of the ungodly?” – “How can the just and holy Lord God be just and yet forgive me, the sinner?” – “How can a sinful man be made righteous by God?”


The Book of Job is the oldest book of the Bible. Job lived about the same time as Abraham, maybe a little earlier. You know the story of Job and his three friends. But most people, when reading, studying, or discussing the Book of Job miss the most important issue raised in the Book. That issue is the justice of God. How can God be just and yet justify sinners.

·       Eliphaz asked this question – (Job 15:14).


(Job 15:4)  "Yea, thou castest off fear, and restrainest prayer before God."


·       Bildad asked this question – (Job 25:4).


(Job 25:4)  "How then can man be justified with God? or how can he be clean that is born of a woman?"


·       Your own conscience demands an answer to this question “How can I be just with God?” Does it not?


1.      You know that God in heaven is and that he is holy. – His law has been written on your conscience (Rom. 1:20; 2:15).

2.      You know that you are a sinner, that you have broken God’s holy law – (Rom. 3:23).

3.      You know that a holy God must and will punish sin (Ezek. 18:20; Rom. 6:23).

4.      Your conscience, the voice of God in your soul cries out for an answer to this question – “How can I, a guilty sinner, be just with a holy God?” – “How can I be made righteous in his sight?”


The poor, deluded heathen thinks that he has found the answer to this troubling question. He imagines that he can give “his first born for his transgression, the fruit of his body for the sin of his soul.”


The blind papist imagines that he has found the answer to this question, too. He thinks that his observance of the mass, “the ceremony of the crucifixion,” is a propitiatory sacrifice for sin.


The Philosophical socialist thinks that he can make amends for his sins and atonement for his transgressions by doing good deeds of philanthropy and charity for those who are less fortunate than himself.


The religious legalist goes a step further. He thinks that God has done his part, that God has provided a way of salvation in Christ, and that he can and must, by his religious works, and ceremonies, and deeds of righteousness, make amends to the Lord God for his sins.


Yet, when all is said and done, if you could follow those people into the secret chambers of their hearts, if you could follow them into the valley of the shadow of death, you would find that they still have an accusing conscience. Their consciences cry out, “That is not enough!” No works of man, no sacrifice of man, no empty religious ceremony can make a sinner righteous before God! ― “How then can a man be just with God?”


I know whereof I speak. I have been there! I tried moral reformation. I tried religious ceremonies. I tried religious service. I tried doing good. But my conscience kept probing my heart with that accusing finger of guilt and said, “That is not enough!” Then, one day,


“I saw One hanging on a tree

In agonies and blood,

Who fixed His languid eyes on me,

As near His cross I stood.

He looked on me in grace and said,

I freely all forgive!

This blood has for thy ransom paid,

I die that thou mayest live!”


When I saw him, the Lord Jesus Christ, our suffering Substitute, dying in the place of guilty sinners under the wrath of God, my conscience said, “That’s enough! Now I see how that God can be just and the Justifier of the ungodly. Now I see how that a guilty sinner can be made righteous by a holy God!”


Proposition: The only way God can be just and the Justifier of guilty sinners is through the substitutionary sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ – “Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past through the forbearance of God; To declare I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the Justifier of him which believeth in Jesus” (Rom. 3:25-26).


I want to talk to you now about Our Suffering Substitute. My text is 1 Peter 3:18. I want you to see that it is a righteous and just thing for God, in his great holiness, to forgive and justify every sinner who believes on the Lord Jesus Christ – “For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit.”


Divisions: I want to show you five things with regard to our Lord Jesus Christ, Our Suffering Substitute.


1.    Our Substitute – “Christ.”

2.    His Suffering – “Hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust.”

3.    His Success – “That he might bring us to God.”

4.    His Satisfaction – “being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit.”

5.    His Salvation


I.  First, I want to talk to you about our Substitute himself. ― “Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the Just for the unjust.” Our Substitute is the Lord Jesus Christ, the incarnate Son of God. (1 Tim. 3:16).


(1 Timothy 3:16)  "And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory."


We cannot stress the Person of our Savior too much. You must know who Jesus Christ is. It is the Person of Christ that gives merit and efficacy to his sufferings. So listen carefully as I tell you once more who Jesus Christ is.


A.     Jesus Christ is a real man (Heb. 4:15).

B.     But more He is the Just Man.


We know that “There is not a just man upon earth, that doeth good and sinneth not” (Eccles. 7:20). But our Savior is no ordinary man. He is the Just Man, the only just and perfect man who ever lived upon the earth, who always did good and never sinned. He is the man who “knew no sin.” He is the only man of whom it could be and is written, he “did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth.” This man is the only man who ever lived who is not a son of Adam.


1.    He had no imputed sin.

2.    He had no original sin.

3.    He had no deed of sin.

4.    He had no thought of sin.


This man, the Just Man, the Lord Jesus Christ was “holy, harmless, undefiled, and separate from sinners.”


NOTE: Only a sinless sacrifice could make atonement for sin. Yet there is more—


C.     This Just Man is himself God (Isa. 8:6; Heb. 4:14; Col. 2:9; John 1:1-3, 14 – “Surely this man was The Son of God!”).


(Isaiah 8:6)  "Forasmuch as this people refuseth the waters of Shiloah that go softly, and rejoice in Rezin and Remaliah's son;"


(Colossians 2:9)  "For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily."


(Hebrews 4:14)  "Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession."


(John 1:1-3)  "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. (2) The same was in the beginning with God. (3) All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made."


(John 1:14)  "And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth."


We could never trust our souls upon a savior who was nothing but a man. His death could never have atoned for sin, were he not the infinite God.


1.    Humanity made it possible for the Son of God to suffer.

2.    Divinity made it possible for the Son of Man to satisfy.

3.    The righteous obedience of the God-man is a righteousness of infinite value.

4.    The Substitutionary sufferings of the God-man are sufferings of infinite value.


D.    This God-man, the Lord Jesus Christ is a representative, substitutionary man (Rom. 5:19; 2 Cor. 5:21; 1 Pet. 2:24). He died “The Just for the unjust!”


(Romans 5:19)  "For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous."


(2 Corinthians 5:21)  "For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him."


(1 Peter 2:24)  "Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed."


Jesus Christ lived and died, all that he did and all that he suffered, in life and in death was, as a Substitute for us.


·       Who Are God’s Elect!

·       Who Are Saved by His Blood!

·       Who Believe on Him!


II.  Second, our text speaks of his sufferings as our Substitute. – “Christ also hath once suffered for sin.”


He suffered for sin, because of sin, so that he might put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. He did not suffer for any sin of his own. He knew no sin! But he suffered for the sins of his people which were imputed to him. No tongue can describe what the Son of God suffered for us (Lam. 1:12). All His Sufferings were vicarious sufferings for us, as our Substitute!


A.     The Incarnation (2 Cor. 8:9).

B.     His Life of Sorrow, Poverty, and Rejection.

C.     In Gethsemane, as He Anticipated His Death.

D.    The Betrayal of Judas.

E.     The Denial of Peter.

F.      The Shame and Beating of the Soldiers.

G.    The Agony and Ignominy of the Crucifixion.

H.    The Imputation of Sin to Him.


The Son of God was made to be sin for us (2 Cor. 5:21). Our sins were transferred to him and made to be his sins (Ps. 40:12; 69:1-5).


(2 Corinthians 5:21)  "For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him."


(Psalms 40:12)  "For innumerable evils have compassed me about: mine iniquities have taken hold upon me, so that I am not able to look up; they are more than the hairs of mine head: therefore my heart faileth me."


(Psalms 69:1-5)  "To the chief Musician upon Shoshannim, A Psalm of David. Save me, O God; for the waters are come in unto my soul. (2) I sink in deep mire, where there is no standing: I am come into deep waters, where the floods overflow me. (3) I am weary of my crying: my throat is dried: mine eyes fail while I wait for my God. (4) They that hate me without a cause are more than the hairs of mine head: they that would destroy me, being mine enemies wrongfully, are mighty: then I restored that which I took not away. (5) O God, thou knowest my foolishness; and my sins are not hid from thee."


Then he was…

I.         Forsaken by his Father!

J.        Died the cursed death of a cursed man (Gal. 3:13). ― The Lord of Glory was “put to death in the flesh” for us!


          “Amazing love! How can it be?

          That Thou my God shouldst die for me?”


K.    His Body was buried as a cursed, polluted, unclean thing.

Illustration: The Indian Chief and the Chicken Thief


The Son of God suffered all that we deserved of the unmitigated wrath of God freely, voluntarily. He was not forced by anything or anyone to suffer for us, but did so willingly because he loved us!


III. Now, third, I want you to see his success.


Our Savior had a purpose in suffering and dying for us. He endured all the hell of God’s wrath in our stead ― “That he might bring us to God!” And what he purposed to do shall be done. He brings all of God’s elect to God by virtue of his sufferings and death. He brings his people to God in five ways.


A.     By Atonement – “At-One-Ment.” (Rom. 5:11).

B.     By Regeneration and Effectual Calling (Ps. 65:4).

C.     By Reconciliation and Faith (2 Cor. 5:10; Col. 1:21-22)


(2 Corinthians 5:10)  "For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad."


(Colossians 1:21-22)  "And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled (22) In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight."


D.     By Death (2 Cor. 5:1-8).


(2 Corinthians 5:1-8)  "For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. (2) For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven: (3) If so be that being clothed we shall not be found naked. (4) For we that are in this tabernacle do groan, being burdened: not for that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up of life. (5) Now he that hath wrought us for the selfsame thing is God, who also hath given unto us the earnest of the Spirit. (6) Therefore we are always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord: (7) (For we walk by faith, not by sight:) (8) We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord."


E.      By Resurrection (1 Thess. 4:13-18).


(1 Thessalonians 4:13-18)  "But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. (14) For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. (15) For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. (16) For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: (17) Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. (18) Wherefore comfort one another with these words."


IV.  Fourth, I want you to see in our text the evidence of his satisfaction. – The Lord Jesus was “put to death in the flesh.” That was his payment for sin. But three days later he was “quickened by the Spirit.” That was the proof of his satisfaction.


McCheyne was exactly right when he said, The body of our Savior lay in an unjustified state in the tomb for three days. Then, by his resurrection from the dead, he was “justified in the Spirit!”


The resurrection of Christ is God’s public declaration that justice has been satisfied on behalf of his people. ― Can you get hold of this?


     “Payment God cannot twice demand,

     First at my bleeding Surety’s hand,

     And then again at mine!”


The Lord Jesus Christ took the cup of wrath; and, with one tremendous draft of love, he drank damnation dry! The sword of justice was buried in his holy soul!


“Glory in this, ye living people of the living Christ! He hath offered for you a complete sacrifice, acceptable unto his Father. Glory in this, ye chosen people of the living God, that ‘Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the Just for the unjust, the he might bring us to God!”

(C. H. Spurgeon).


A.     Christ satisfied all the designs of his Father when he died for us.

B.     He satisfied all the declarations of the Old Testament Scriptures by fulfilling the law and the prophets in the accomplishment of redemption.

C.     He satisfied all the demands of God’s law and justice when he died on the cross.

D.    He shall satisfy all the desires of his soul when he has brought every ransomed sinner home to God (Isa. 53:11).

E.     He satisfies all the needs of the sinner!


V.  Once more, let me show you now his salvation – (Isa. 45:22; John 12:32; John 3:14-16).


(Isaiah 45:22)  "Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else."


(John 3:14-16)  "And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: (15) That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. (16) For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."


(John 12:32)  "And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me."


A.        The only way a sinner can be made righteous is in the same way that Christ was made sin – By Divine Imputation!

B.        Christ has made the atonement, we add nothing to it; but we receive the atonement by faith (Rom. 5:11).


(Romans 5:5-11)  "And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us. (6) For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. (7) For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. (8) But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. (9) Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. (10) For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life. (11) And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement."


C.        If you come to Christ, if you trust him, he did all this for you! Believing on the Son of God you are…



·       forgiven of all sin!

·       made just with God!

·       perfectly righteous!

·       You have eternal life!

·       And you are an heir of God and joint-heir with Christ!


Application: The blood of Jesus Christ alone can purge your conscience (Heb. 9:12-14).


(Hebrews 9:12-14)  "Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us. (13) For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh: (14) How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?"


Jesus Christ stands as my Substitute forever…

·       Before The World Began.

·       At Calvary.

·       Today (I John 2:12)

·       In The Judgment (Jer. 50:20).


(Jeremiah 50:20)  "In those days, and in that time, saith the LORD, the iniquity of Israel shall be sought for, and there shall be none; and the sins of Judah, and they shall not be found: for I will pardon them whom I reserve."


I hang all the hopes of my soul on him, our suffering Substitute!