24” He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed” (I Peter 2:24).
The penal-substitutionary atonement by Jesus Christ while on the cross is the one of the most important doctrines contained in the Scriptures. The doctrine is that Jesus Christ took the sinner’s place while on the cross and received upon Himself the just wrath of God. It is taught not only in I Peter 2:24, but throughout the Scriptures (Isaiah 53; 4-11; Hebrews 9:27-28; I Peter 3:18).
Within the immediate context of I Peter 2, the apostle indicates the purpose of Christ’s substitutionary work on the sinner’s behalf would not only be salvation from the penalty of sin, but also would include salvation from the power of sin. The phrase, “that we might die to sin and live to righteousness” supports this additional meaning.
Peter is referring to Christians in the latter half of vs. 24. He introduces a purpose clause by using the word “that.” To “die” (ἀπογίνομαι; apoginomai) means to no longer respond to, or to no longer have any part in something. In this context, the death to which Peter refers is our participation in the practice of sin.
The believer must recognize that Jesus’ death on the cross is not to be considered cheap. It was a heavy cost that was paid for our salvation. Therefore, the believer now consciously lives a life to no longer participate in sinful rebellion, but rather to live righteously (δικαιοσύνη; dikaiosyne) in gratitude to God.
In Christ, the sinner is declared just before God (2 Corinthians 5:21) because our just penalty has been paid by Jesus. Therefore, we are not only declared just, but we are now to live a just and righteous life empowered by the Holy Spirit (Romans 6).
Because of the wounds of Christ on our behalf on the cross, believers are spiritually healed from the deadly disease of sin. Our physical transformation will occur at the moment of glorification (Revelation 21:1-4). It is then that the believer in Christ will experience no more physical pain, illness or death.
Let us live today for the glory of God in light of the cross of Christ. Since He died for us, may we live for Him.
Soli deo Gloria!