One of the questions often raised as a reason for unbelief is suffering in the world. It is not just isolated cases of it, but it is the prevalence and the severity of them that leads men to raise the question. If we did not have divine revelation, we would indeed be without an answer. However, God has revealed to us that sufferings are a result of sin. Man is a rebel against God. The wonder is not that there is so much sufferings, given the sinfulness of man, but that there is not more.
But there is one man's suffering which cannot so easily be explained. Jesus Christ was free from hereditary as well as personal sin. No one, friend or foe, could convict him of sin. Pilate, though condemning Him, declared He was innocent. Herod also found no fault. Even at the cross there was nothing said of His sins. He was mocked for His claims, but no proof of any sin He had committed was brought forth. Yet He suffered as no man ever before Him. This suffering cries out for explanation. The problem is compounded when we realize that He was no mere man, but the incarnate Son of God. How then is this suffering of the Son of God to be explained? Many have said that He died to set us an example. But would not God be unjust to allow an innocent man suffer, just to give us an example? Others say He suffered to show us the sinfulness of sin, and to move us to forsake it. If this was the case, it has not achieved its purpose since there is so much of sin in the present world. No, my friend, the only explanation that does justice to the character of God is that these sufferings were substitutionary. Let us look at our text which sets this truth out.
MAN'S FALLEN STATE IS THE REASON FOR HIS SUFFERINGS
All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned each one to his own way. The Jewish converts are describing their natural condition, and not only theirs but of all mankind. Mankind is compared to sheep gone astray. That is the present condition of every man and woman and child who is outside of Christ. If you are an unbeliever, your state is one that is of error, of sin and of great danger, for you are outside of God's fold and liable to eternal death if you remain in that state.
From what have the sheep strayed? It is from the perfect law of God. This law was to be the way to life and blessedness. The Devil has poisoned the minds of men that they think true liberty and happiness lies outside these laws. Sin is a transgression of the law. When a man sets up his wisdom above that of God, he pretends to be wiser than God, which is a delusion. How many today are walking contrary to God's law and are reaping the results for it. Many detest the commandments of God, and can give no good reason for their enmity. What is wrong in serving the God who made you and sustains you from day to day? What is wrong with the law which says, "You shall not lie