The Doctrine of Satisfaction





“He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied.”


Isaiah 53:11


  1. The text is glorious indeed – introducing another inspired term by the Holy Ghost for our salvation.
  2. God chose many varied terms to more carefully describe our deliverance from sin, death, and hell.
    1. Remember, the word salvation is so general in nature, as it simply means to be delivered from.
    2. Various terms magnify and exalt His gracious work, as they are taken from different parts of life.
    3. They are designed to more carefully and clearly expand upon the word of deliverance, salvation.
    4. Legal terms include justification, representation, forgiveness, pardon, acceptation, imputation.
    5. He chose relational terms like reconciliation, atonement, propitiation, and mediation
    6. He chose priestly or religious terms like intercession, sanctification, and sacrifice.
    7. He chose economic or financial terms like redemption, ransom, bought, and purchased.
    8. He chose familial terms like adoption, which may be the crowning jewel of them all.
    9. For the facets of salvation.


  1. Satisfy. With reference to debt or obligation. To pay off or discharge fully; to liquidate (a debt); to fulfil completely (an obligation), comply with (a demand). To make compensation or reparation for (a wrong, injury); to atone for (an offence). To make satisfaction, full payment, reparation, or atonement.
    1. Think banker – You have satisfied the terms of the loan and the loan is paid in full.
    2. Think prison warden – You satisfied all claims of justice and are totally free to go.
    3. Think military – You satisfied your service obligation and are hereby discharged.
  2. The forensic and legal work of providing sufficient payment to an offended party or judge for appeasement or restitution for wrongs done and to bring to contentment.
    1. Satisfaction is making a payment to completely cover and expunge a debt in full.
    2. Satisfaction is suffering sufficient punishment to appease all claims and all wrath.
    3. Satisfaction is complying with all needed conditions to be restored to full standing.
    4. How do you think you will satisfy a just and holy God for all the sins against you?
  3. God rejected all satisfaction for murderers; they had to be killed (Numbers 35:30-34).
    1. If you think you are not guilty of murder, remember anger, bitterness, slander, etc.
    2. Jesus applied the sixth commandment far past self-righteousness (Matt 5:21-26).
  4. Stealing for hunger and adultery differ greatly; one cannot be satisfied (Prov 6:30-34).
    1. Such thieves had to pay full restitution, no matter the justification, even though the restitution might have taken all the thief’s assets, but there was none for adultery.
    2. If you think you are not guilty of adultery, then remember lust, looks, thoughts.
    3. If you think you are not guilty of adultery, then remember worldliness (James 4:4).
  5. You have met other sinners like yourself that could not be satisfied for your offences.
    1. Their bitterness and vengeance are pride and selfishness, not holiness and justice.
    2. How much more shall the dreadful, terrible God of heaven require for satisfaction?


  1. The holy God of creation created your father (and you in him) good and very good.
    1. In wilful rebellion and profane wickedness, he and you chose Satan, sin, and death.
    2. He must punish you; He will punish you, and His righteous law approves it well.
  2. You have earned the wages of sin, death, every day of your conscious life (Rom 6:23).
    1. How will you stop the Paymaster from giving what you requested and deserve?
    2. He has guaranteed by His personal integrity sinning souls must die (Ezek 18:4,20).
    3. The Bible declares His attitude – He is angry with the wicked every day (Ps 7:11).
  3. You are on a fast people mover toward a destination of death and judgment (He 9:27).
    1. There is nothing you can do about it, as God started your life, and He will end it.
    2. Every day you ignore it, trying to make it go away, is one more sin on your part.
    3. He is the infinite Jehovah God; you are a finite man or woman; you cannot pay!
  4. Jesus warned disciples to fear God over man for His greater judgment (Luke 12:4-5).
    1. Men can only kill the body, which is nothing in comparison to God’s eternal wrath.
    2. This is one of the proofs of eternal torment, for it is after killing the body. Beware!
  5. You hide much from others, and it is easy … thoughts, words in private, home entertainment, etc., but He sees and knows every secret thing about you (Eccl 12:14).
  6. The holy God of creation is so far above and beyond you – satisfaction is impossible.
    1. His holiness cannot be compromised, for it is totally contrary to His perfect nature.
    2. Your sinfulness cannot be slowed; it is totally consistent with your corrupt nature.
    3. No matter who you are or your achievements, you are short of His glory (Ro 3:23).
    4. Job, Isaiah, Peter, John saw themselves as sinful, damned scum in His holy light.
    5. What will you bring for satisfaction? Your righteousnesses – filthy rags (Is 64:6)?
  7. God’s burning justice and wrath will be satisfied … by the infinite torment of sinners!
  8. There is no payment you can make to buy God off (I Pe 1:18-20; Eze 7:19; Ps 49:7-9).
    1. He arranged all for His glory, and Jesus Christ is perfect Himself (I Cor 1:30-31).
    2. Salvation and satisfaction must be by grace, which excludes you fully (Rom 11:6).
    3. It is entirely according to His own will, not yours (Rom 9:15-16,22-24; John 1:13).
  9. Why does hell last forever? The lake of fire for all eternity? God cannot be satisfied!
    1. God is never satisfied for the wicked, so His wrath burns in judgment against them.
    2. Though punished for 10,000 years, the fire is not quenched, the worm does not die!


  1. God made the soul – the human body and spirit of Jesus – an offering for your sins!
    1. He was wounded, bruised, chastised, and whipped for your transgressions (53:5).
    2. He was oppressed and afflicted for your sins and my sins as our Substitute (53:7).
    3. He bruised His Son by scourging, buffeting, thorn crown, crucifixion, etc. (53:10).
    4. He put Him to grief by friends deserting, unjust trial, a nation forsaking, Barabbas chosen instead, Pilate sacrificing, and most of all, divine forsaking, etc. (53:10).
    5. The great punishment is described as pouring out his soul unto death (Is 53:12).
  2. Travail. Bodily or mental labour or toil, especially of a painful or oppressive nature; exertion; trouble; hardship; suffering. Compare Psalm 48:6; Eccl 2:23; Jeremiah 6:24.
  3. God saw the travail of the soul of Jesus Christ our Lord, and it is worth consideration.
    1. God sees everything at a depth and breadth of understanding infinitely beyond you.
    2. God sees all tears to put in His bottle and each wandering in His book (Ps 56:17).
    3. David described God knowing each detail of his life no matter what (Ps 139:1-16).
    4. There was not an ounce of pain, shame, trouble in Jesus that God did not fully see.
  4. He did not spare His Son, but delivered Him up to the described suffering (Ro 8:32).
    1. He prepared Him a body, so that He could suffer and die for us (He 2:14; 10:5-14).
    2. From prophecy to reality, from Psalm 22 to the gospels, God forsook His only Son.
    3. He was pleased to bruise Him, for justice and wrath demanded pain for our sins.
    4. Psalm 22 works best here for describing from Jesus’ view the agony of His death.
  5. Jesus described the sufferings He would endure as a cup and a baptism (Matt 20:22).
    1. He had already been baptized by John, and He did not mean the communion cup.
    2. He spoke of His baptism and cup – death (Luke 12:50; Matt 26:39,42; John 18:11).
    3. To be baptized is to be fully buried, covered, immersed, and plunged under a thing.
    4. Jesus Christ was overwhelmed by all the billows and waves of God’s wrath for sin.
    5. Jonah knew such a feeling (Jon 2:1-5), and David told of it (Ps 42:7; 88:7,16-17).
    6. Consider how you felt if ever caught by undertow and thrashed by ocean waves.
    7. To drink a cup is to fully absorb and take in whatever substance is held in the cup.
    8. Jesus Christ had to drink the full wrath of Almighty God as His fierce winepress.
    9. The cup is His wrath and judgment (Re 14:9-11; Is 51:17; Je 25:15; Ps 75:8; 11:6).
    10. Jesus drank God’s full cup of wrath, including dregs, rejecting offered anesthesia!
    11. He drank every drop with the most sincere effort to take in all of God’s judgment.
    12. For the baptism and cup of Christ.
  6. What you could not pay, He paid! What you could not drink or bear, He did for you!


  1. Look at the text! Look at Isaiah 53:11! God saw Jesus’ pain and was satisfied for us!
    1. The payment had been made to expunge our debt, so we are free in His holy sight.
    2. The punishment has been meted to appease His holy wrath for our many iniquities.
    3. Even with infinite knowledge, He could not see or find a further claim against us.
    4. He was completely content with our persons so as to be able to stand before Him.
  2. God was satisfied at Calvary, when Jesus cried with a loud voice, “It is finished!”
    1. We like to think, and justifiably so, that Jesus referred exclusively to redemption.
    2. But we may also understand that He had reached the end and bottom of the cup!
    3. There were no more billows and waves to overwhelm, drown, and pound His soul.
  3. We are now accepted in the Beloved as sons of God by predestinated grace (Eph 1:6).
  4. We have also now received atonement of being put at one again with God (Rom 5:11).
  5. God by Christ reconciled us to Himself by Jesus making satisfaction (II Cor 5:18-21).
  6. We are justified freely by God’s grace through redemption in Christ Jesus (Rom 3:24).
  7. We are forgiven with all the fullness of God forgetting our sins and iniquities forever.
  8. We are pardoned by God the Judge of all by the payment for satisfaction of Christ.
  9. Jesus Christ made peace by the blood of His cross, fully slaying the enmity with God.
  10. Now Jesus Christ is coming for us … without sin! … unto salvation (Hebrews 9:28)!
  11. God is satisfied for the elect, but He reserved the wicked to judgment (Jude 1:6,13).
  12. There is no double jeopardy in God’s plan of salvation and it is rejected by the gospel.
    1. God is not satisfied for sin by an act of His will or mere emotion, as men may be.
    2. He actually did sentence Jesus for us, and then God fully executed the sentence.
    3. By one sacrifice, once and for all, Jesus Christ put away our sins forever and ever.


  1. Our religion is not of terror – after the gospel gives us good consciences (Heb 9:14)!
  2. Baptism is not to get saved, but the answer of a conscience that is saved (I Pet 3:21)!
  3. With God satisfied, He will satisfy (the word in another sense) us with good things (Ps 22:26; 36:8; 63:5-6; 65:4; 90:14; 91:16; 103:5; 107:9; Proverbs 19:23; Isaiah 55:1-3; 58:11; 66:11; Jer 31:14; 50:19; Joel 2:19,26)!
  4. When you awake by resurrection of the dead, you will be further satisfied (Ps 17:15)!
  5. Using the other application of the word, nothing satisfies like Christ (Ps 73:25-26)!


  1. If you need a simple synonym for satisfaction, it may be forgiveness, preached just two weeks ago.
  2. If you need a simple synonym for satisfaction, it may be pardon, remembering a full payment made.
  3. God’s satisfaction, forgiveness, pardon are not merely His choice or will, but based on full payment by Jesus Christ, and our sins have been put away forever … there is no double jeopardy with God!

For Further Study:

  1. Detailed sermon outline for Isaiah 53.
  2. Sermon outline: The Facets of Salvation 
  3. Sermon outline: Unsearchable Riches of Christ 
  4. Sermon outline: Forgiven! 
  5. Sermon outline: Jesus Is Our Surety 
  6. Many documents about the doctrine of salvation.
  7. Many sermons about the doctrine of salvation.
  8. A worldly view of the doctrine from Wikipedia.
  9. Another view of the doctrine from Theopedia.
  10. Consider the song … In Christ Alone (listening for “satisfaction”).

NOTE: An interpretational choice must be made for the clause of this sermon and outline. Consider this issue carefully.

  1. The concept and proof for the doctrine of satisfaction may be proven from other places, but is it taught in Isaiah 53:11?
  2. Is the subject of the clause God the Father or Jesus? Does God the Father or Jesus see Jesus’ travail and get satisfied?
  3. Most commentators make it Jesus seeing the effects and fruit of his own travail and becoming satisfied with the results.
  4. The presence of the preposition “of” in this clause lends some support to this common interpretation by commentators.
  5. However, first, the overall lesson of the chapter and especially the last three verses is God needing satisfaction by Christ.
  6. And second, parallelism in verses before and after has God as subject in the first half and Christ as subject in the second.
  7. And third, it is clear to see that there is much movement of pronouns from God to Christ and back to allow either Person.
  8. And fourth, the popular interpretation seems redundant, for Jesus has already been identified as seeing His seed (53:10).
  9. And fifth, the satisfaction most important and necessary for salvation from sin is God’s satisfaction by Christ’s suffering.
  10. And sixth, there are sufficient justifications in the OED of usage for “of” to justify this interpretation of the clause above.