Born to Die.

18 For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit,” (I Peter 3:18).

In Jesus Christ, we see the person responsible for substitutionary atonement. We also see in this verse the purpose of substitutionary atonement: “that He (Jesus Christ) might bring us to God.”

The subject throughout this one verse remains Jesus Christ. Not only is He the only One who provides substitutionary atonement on the sinner’s behalf, He does so with a particular purpose in mind which is to reconcile sinners to God the Father.

Peter introduces a purpose clause in the latter part of this verse with the phrase “that he might bring.” To bring (προσάγω; prosago) means that Jesus was totally committed to the goal of saving sinners and bringing them into the presence of God. As our leader, Jesus leads us to the Father.

Jesus is able to do so not only because He died on the cross for sins, but also because He credits His righteousness on our behalf. We receive this righteousness, or justification, by faith. Romans 3:21-26 says, But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it— 22 the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. 26 It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.”

Jesus’ substitutionary atonement for sinners has open the way of salvation. Charles Wesley explained it this way in the following, beloved Christmas carol.

Hark the herald angels sing
Glory to the newborn King
Peace on earth and mercy mild
God and sinners reconciled
Joyful all ye nations rise
Join the triumph of the skies
With th’angelic hosts proclaim
Christ is born in Bethlehem
Hark the herald angels sing
Glory to the newborn King

Verse 2

Christ by highest heav’n adored
Christ the everlasting Lord
Late in time behold Him come
Offspring of the Virgin’s womb
Veiled in flesh the Godhead see
Hail th’incarnate Deity
Pleased as man with men to dwell
Jesus our Emmanuel
Hark the herald angels sing
Glory to the newborn King

Verse 3

Hail the heav’n-born Prince of Peace
Hail the Sun of Righteousness
Light and life to all He brings
Ris’n with healing in His wings
Mild He lays His glory by
Born that man no more may die
Born to raise the sons of earth
Born to give them second birth
Hark the herald angels sing
Glory to the newborn King

Verse 4

Come Desire of nations come
Fix in us Thy humble home
Rise the woman’s conqu’ring seed
Bruise in us the serpent’s head
Adam’s likeness now efface
Stamp Thine image in its place
Second Adam from above
Reinstate us in Thy love
Hark the herald angels sing
Glory to the newborn King.

Merry Christmas!

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