Been thinking a lot about a question Chloe Dudley posted on Twitter about whether sin was a crime deserving to be punished or a sickness to be healed.
Isaiah 53 says:
He was crushed for our sins.
He was pierced for our iniquities.
The punishment that brought our peace was upon Him
And by His wounds we are healed.
When I received my amazing revelation of grace last year Jesus told me that sin was a sickness and He was the Great Physician – The Healer. In fact, one of God’s names in the Old Testament in Hebrew is ‘Rapha’ – The Lord who Heals.
However, in The Cross of Christ John Stott argues that the full force of God’s anger burned against our sin in Christ, which suggests punishment.
The LORD has given full vent to His wrath.
He has poured out His fierce anger.
Jesus has a prayer battle with his Father in the Garden of Gethsemane about drinking ‘the cup’:
Father, if it’s possible, please take this cup from me.
Isaiah 51:22 tells us what this ‘cup’ is:
From that cup, the goblet of my fury, you will never drink again.
See how Isaiah reassures The Christ? He will never have to drink it again. His sacrifice, as Hebrews says, will be once for all.
As we know Christ’s cruxifixion fulfilled the Passover. He was our passover lamb sacrificed for us. The Last Supper was a passover meal.
At the meal four ‘cups’ of wine are drunk, each pointing to Christ and His finished work on the cross.
You can read a detailed study on Mike Ratliff’s blog.
However, here’s a brief explanation of the 4 cups and how they point to Christ and The Cross:
The first cup to drink at a Passover feast is The Cup of Freedom (Christ sets us free at The Cross.)
The second cup drunk is The Cup of Judgement (God judged our sin at The Cross).
The third cup drunk (I’d be drunk by now) is The Cup of Redemption (Christ redeemed us at The Cross).
The fourth cup is The Cup of Restoration (Christ restores us (heals us) at The Cross).
The Jewish people have been celebrating Christ for years in their passover celebrations!
It doesn’t stop there. Get this:
It was at the the third cup – The Cup of Redemption – that Jesus stopped, lifted the cup, and said to His disciples:
Take, drink, all of you. This is my blood of the New Covenant, shed to give the forgiveness of sins.
How amazing is that?!
It was the Cup of Redemption! This is why Christ’s blood is called ‘redeeming.’
Two definitions of the verb ‘redeem’ are:
1. to compensate for the bad aspects of someone.
2. to clear by payment.
We could say that Jesus did both. He compensated for our bad aspect by giving us His righteousness.
He also paid for our sin. He was punished for our crime.
So, I think to answer Chloe’s question we can look to the 4 cups.
At The Cross we were set free, judged righteous, our debt was paid (He was punished for us) and we were restored (divinely healed).
Isaiah, it seems, agrees:
The punishment that brought our peace was on Him.
By His stripes we are healed.
Thanks for asking it, Chloe.
So…what do you think? Is sin a crime or a sickness? Or both?
Grace be with you.