Word for the day by Christian Education Forum
HEALING THROUGH FORGIVENESS OF SINS1 Peter 2:21-25
Verse: “He himself bore our sins” in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; “by his wounds, you have been healed.” 1 Peter 2:24
The context of this passage focuses on an aspect of our vocation as Christians, It’s a part of the apostle Peter’s larger call for us, as believers, to make sure that we live as we should in the sight of the unbelieving people of this world; so that we’ll properly present the truth of the gospel to them. Peter emphasizes two categories of truth in 1 Peter. One is the blessings of the Christian: identification with Christ and its resulting privileges. However, to keep us from assuming our blessings as Christians will result in our being loved and respected by the world, Peter also emphasizes that we will suffer.
When we consider the ongoing toll of a pandemic, we see deaths, alienation, depression anxiety, suicide, separation, lost friends, business, opportunities, and on and on. But directly for us, what is our greatest difficulty? It’s not a pandemic, a list of restrictions, it is not our spouse, our job, our government, or any suffering that we may have. There is a central problem that is behind all the outward manifestations. Our greatest problem is sin. It is the root of the problems in our marriage, being the employee God intends us to be, the citizen He intends us to be, and the reason we suffer in this world. It is not that we committed a specific sin that caused our particular suffering, but it is the existence and problem of sin in this world that causes suffering. It is our personal sin, that is our greatest problem. There is a natural human tendency to avoid dealing with the source of problems. We will naturally downplay sinfulness and the essential problem of sin. From self-help books to self-will salvation, the problem is claimed to be bad thinking, environment, society, parenting, or some external factor. This clouds our real need, for a Savior, a sacrifice. The atonement for sin is the reason Jesus came into the world.
1 Peter 2:21-25 outlines suffering for Christ’s sake and suffering in Christian style are parts of our calling as Christians. In this concluding passage of 1 Peter 2, Peter reveals two truths regarding who Jesus is that enable us to follow him in his suffering.
Jesus is our suffering example (v. 21-23)
Jesus is our saving shepherd (v. 24-25)
Jesus is our suffering example
We might think that as God’s chosen people we shouldn’t have to suffer, but Peter tells us that we were called to follow in Christ’s steps. Christ is the pattern that we are to imitate. For Him, the path to glory was the path of suffering (Luke 24:25–26), and the pattern is the same for His followers.
Jesus suffered innocently (v. 22; Isa. 53:9). We have all sinned, but He hadn’t, and yet He suffered. His innocence didn’t excuse Him from suffering nor did it excuse lashing out at His oppressors (v. 23; Isa. 53:7). But Jesus wasn’t a Stoic, simply putting up with suffering. He didn’t act as if nothing was happening. Instead, He cried out to God and committed Himself to God as the just Judge. He is believers’ perfect example of submission, in suffering for righteousness' sake and sets the standard for them to entrust themselves to God as their righteous Judge. That is the path we must follow.
Jesus is our saving shepherd
Christ does not merely give us an example to follow. He also sets us free so that we can follow Him. Left to ourselves, we would always be self-seeking, sinful in our reactions to suffering. But Christ gives us a new life.
He bore our sins in His body on the tree. We were going astray, but He became our representative, like a sacrificial lamb, bearing our sins (Isa. 53:4-7). And His goal was that “having died to sins, we might live for righteousness.” Because He died for us, we are no longer under the power of sin. We have died to sin and now we live for righteousness. In Him, we have the power to obey (Rom. 6:3–11).
The result of Christ being our example and dying for us should mean something to us and result in a particular action. Peter has always linked doctrine with the practice that that is how God wants us to take what we learn from him. Doctrine without practice is cold dead orthodoxy, practice without doctrine is a pietistic guess, works without biblical faith, a work without a message or purpose.
If we don’t first see our greatest problem as sin which eternally separates us from eternal life through God, then we will not see our greatest need, to repent and receive the greatest gift, to be forgiven of that sin by Christ.
As he concluded this passage, Peter once more alluded to Isaiah 53:6 “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned--every one--to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all”. If God had not determined that all believers’ sins should fall on Jesus, there would be no shepherd to bring God’s flock into the fold. Christ’s suffering has begun a healing process in our life (Isa. 53:5). Now we are no longer straying; we have returned to “the Shepherd and Overseer of our souls,” so that instead of wandering away, we follow Him, even if doing so involves suffering for His sake.
As Christ lived His life according to the will of God, He calls us to take up our cross and follow Him. We don’t live our own way doing our own thing. When we live for Him, like Him, pointing to Him, He is shown as glorious and worthy of everything.
Lord God whose blessed Son our Savior gave his back to the smiters and did not hide his face from shame: Give us the grace to endure the sufferings of this present time with sure confidence in the glory that shall be revealed; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen
Thought for the Day
“To be a Christian means to forgive the inexcusable because God has forgiven the inexcusable in you.” ― C.S. Lewis