For What Did Christ Atone in Isaiah 53:4-5?

Richard Mayhue | August 25, 2009

Isaiah 53:4-5 raises the question, “For what did Christ atone?” or more specifically, “Is physical healing in the atonement?” Outside Isaiah 53, Scriptures touching on Christ’s atonement in Leviticus and Hebrews deal only with sin, not sickness. The context and language of Isa 53:3-12 address sin alone. A broad range of Scriptures teach that Christ died to deal with humankind’s sin dilemma. Matthew 8:16-17 uses an illustration of physical healing to demonstrate a spiritual truth about the Christian’s resurrection hope of being sinless and thus in perfect health. First Pet 2:24, studied in both broad context (2:18-25) and narrow (2:24-25), reasons that Christ atoned for sin, not sickness. Therefore, the conclusion is that physical healing is not in the atonement, but rather comes through the atonement after resurrection, because only then does the atonement eliminate the moral cause of physical infirmities, which is sin in one’s personal experience.

Vol. 6, no. 2 (Fall 1995)

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Mayhue, Richard. "For What Did Christ Atone in Isaiah 53:4-5?." The Master's Seminary Journal 6, no. 2 (Fall 1995): 121-42.