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!

How Marvelous, How Wonderful.

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. Jesus the Messiah is the only one who is identified as one who suffered once for sins. Peter also identifies Jesus Christ as the only righteous one who died and rose again for the unrighteous.

The word righteous (δίκαιος; dikaios) means upright and just. Jesus was always in perfect harmony with God the Father’s will. He met the standard of what God requires. Jesus could do so because He is Emmanuel, God with us.

This righteous and just one died for the unrighteous (ἄδικος; adikos). To be unrighteous means to not be upright or just. It literally means to be crooked. Therefore, this is why we may call a criminal who has broken the law a “crook.”

This reminds us of 1 Peter 2:19 in that the sinlessness of Christ is the one perfect offering for sin. This is what gives Jesus Christ’s blood value. He had no sin himself. Lost sinners today still fail to understand this truth.

Hymn writer Charles Hutchinson Gabriel described Jesus’ atonement as follows. Let us also stand in amazement of God’s love for you and me.

I stand amazed in the presence
Of Jesus the Nazarene
And wonder how He could love me
A sinner condemned unclean

Chorus

How marvelous how wonderful
And my song shall ever be
How marvelous how wonderful
Is my Savior’s love for me

Verse 2

He took my sins and my sorrows
He made them His very own
(And) He bore the burden to Calvary
And suffered and died alone

Verse 3

And with the ransomed in glory
His face I at last shall see
It will be my joy through the ages
To sing of His love for me

Merry Christmas!

 

 

The Shepherd.

25 For you were straying like sheep, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls” (I Peter 2:25).

One of the most frequent images found in the Scriptures illustrating the relationship of God and His children is of the shepherd and his sheep (Psalm 23; John 10; Isaiah 40; Ezekiel 34; Hebrews 13:20; I Peter 5).

The phrase “for you were straying” literally means to be led astray. This describes the sinner’s lost condition as condemned before God. To be led astray means to be deceived, mistaken and to wander about. The fallen sinner is led astray by either his sinful nature, the devil or the fallen world system.

There is but one hope for the sinner. To come into a personal relationship with the Shepherd: Jesus Christ. Remember when God brought you into the sheepfold of grace and mercy? Thank Him that once you were lost, but you have been found.

To return (ἐπιστρέφω; epistrepho) literally means to be turned around. When once we were led astray, we are also led to come to believe, come to accept or to have our belief system changed. Notice that we cannot to this on our own. We need help.

That help comes from the graciousness of God who not only saves us, but give us the ability to believe in order to be saved (Ephesians 2:8-9; Philippians 1:29; Acts 13:48; 2 Peter 1:1-2). We were totally helpless in our sin. But God decided to save us from this lost and dead condition by His grace and grace alone.

God enables the fallen and dead sinner to come to the Shepherd (John 6). The dead sinner’s (Ephesians 2:1-3) will has been freed from bondage. He wanders in chains and darkness no more. He now walks in the light of God’s grace.

The word overseer (ἐπίσκοπος; episkopos) means guardian or one who is responsible for another. God has taken upon Himself the responsibility of saving us completely. “Shepherd” and “Overseer” emphasize Jesus Christ’s outstanding guidance and supervision of those who commit themselves to His care (Ezekiel 34:11–16).

John 10:14-18 says, 14 I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, 15 just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep. 16 And I have other sheep that are not of this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd. 17 For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life that I may take it up again. 18 No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This charge I have received from my Father.”

Like a shepherd, the Lord not only saves us from the danger of sin and damnation, but also leads us along through this life on earth. He truly is our good Shepherd. Take time today to praise Him for His leading and guidance.

Soli deo Gloria!

We Have been Healed.

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!

 

By His Wounds.

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 one of the most important doctrines contained in the Scriptures. The teaching 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).

The phrase “He Himself” refers in the context to Jesus Christ. The word “bore” (ἀναφέρω; anaphereo) means to carry up, to lead up or to carry a load. Jesus carried the sinner’s sins (ἁμαρτία; hamartia) in His body on the tree (ξύλον; xylon) which literally means the cross.

As pastor Dr. John MacArthur explains, “Christ suffered not simply as the Christian’s pattern (vv.21-23), but far more importantly as the Christian’s substitute. To bear sins was to be punished for them (Numbers 14:33; Ezekiel 18:20). Christ bore the punishment and the penalty for believers, thus satisfying a holy God (I Peter 3:18). This great doctrine of the substitutionary atonement is the heart of the gospel.

While Christ’s substitutionary atonement is sufficient in principle for all sinners, actual atonement is efficient or effectual for only those who believe, that is the elect (Leviticus 16:17; 23:27-30; John 3:16; 2 Corinthians 5:19; Ephesians 1:1-2:10; I Timothy 2:1-6; 4:10; Titus 2:11; Hebrews 2:9; I John 2:1-2; 4:9-10).

Take the opportunity today to pray for those who have yet to receive Christ as their Savior and Lord. Pray that God would grant them repentance leading to eternal life (2 Timothy 2:25). Take time also today to thank God that He has chosen to save you through the substitutionary atonement provided solely by Jesus Christ.

Soli deo Gloria!