The Book of I PETER
James J. Barker
THE SUBSTITUTIONARY DEATH OF CHRIST
- I am going to
preach tonight on one of the greatest doctrines in the Bible -- the
substitutionary death of Christ (cf. I Peter 2:24).
- The great
preacher CH Spurgeon said, "Morality will keep you out of jail, but it takes the
blood of Christ to keep you out of hell."
- Tonight I would
like for us to consider the price for our redemption and the
purpose for it. The
price was the precious blood of the Lord Jesus Christ (1:18,
- The purpose
behind our Lord's sufferings is found in I Peter 2:24 -- "that we, being dead to
sins, should live unto righteousness."
- D. Edmund
Hiebert, in his commentary on I Peter, points out that the word "sins" is in the
dative case, and "indicates the relationship that has been
- Romans 6:2 says
we "are dead to sin."
- Romans 6:7
says, "For he that is dead is freed from sin."
- Romans 6:11
says, "Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto
sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our
- "But alive
unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord" (Rom. 6:11). First Peter 2:24 says, "that we, being
dead to sins, should live unto
- "Wisdom, righteousness and
power, Holiness this very hour My redemption full and free, He is all I
- This righteousness Peter refers to in verse 24 is only
possible because of our Lord's substitutionary death. The believer was identified with Christ
in His crucifixion, burial, and resurrection.
- Having been risen with Christ, we have been enabled by
the indwelling Holy Spirit to walk in newness of life.
CHRIST IS OUR EXAMPLE
- When I say,
"Christ is our example," I do not mean we can be saved by following His
some people teach that, and some people believe that.
- One liberal
church has in their church bulletin: "We are a compassionate community of
spiritual seekers, inclusive of all. Through Christ’s example, we are
joyfully and intentionally living out God’s love while seeking inspired ways to
offer healing and wholeness to our world."
- I could preach
all night on that. First of all
"inclusive of all" usually means you do not have to be saved to be a
member. Furthermore, it often means
they accept impenitent homosexuals.
- Secondly, they
are not really following Christ's example.
This reminds me of the time an old-fashioned Baptist preacher preached a
message on hell. A lady came up to
him after the service and said she did not like that kind of preaching. She said the preacher ought to just
stick with the Sermon on the Mount.
- Well, there is
a lot more to the Bible than the Sermon on the Mount. But this preacher opened up his Bible to
the Sermon on the Mount and read Matthew 5:29, 30: "And if thy right eye offend
thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that
one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast
into hell. And if thy right hand
offend thee, cut it off, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee
that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be
cast into hell."
- First Peter
2:21 says, "For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for
us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his
- Peter is
speaking here to people that are already saved -- those that have been
called out of darkness into God's marvellous light (2:9).
- The word
"example" here in I Peter 2:21 is an interesting word. It literally means a
copy-book that a student uses to practice his penmanship. Strong's Concordance says this copy-book
includes all the letters of the alphabet, and is "given to beginners as an aid
in learning to draw them."
- The student seeks to reproduce the original as closely
as possible. When the student
traces the model or copies it carefully, his writing is neat and legible. But the further he moves away from the
model, the more his handwriting worsens.
- The lesson for us: we need to stay close to the Lord
Jesus Christ. He is our
- Tonight we will baptize some new converts. They will be following the Lord's
example, and will be obeying Him by being baptized.
- Our Lord gave us His example when He was baptized by
John the Baptist (cf. Mark 1:9, 10; John 3:23).
- There is a famous painting by an Italian artist named
Francesco Trevisani (1656-1746), showing John standing on a big rock, and our
Lord standing in shallow water that barely covers his feet.
- John the Baptist is portrayed pouring water out of a
little cup onto our Lord's head.
That is not following the Bible!
- In the context of I Peter 2:20-23 (and in the context of
the entire epistle), Christ is our example regarding enduring
- Our Lord left the splendor of heaven to come down to
this cruel, sin-loving world in order to suffer and die for you and for
- He suffered betrayal, ridicule and scorn. He was misunderstood and He was reviled,
but the Bible says, "when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered,
he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously"
- Our sinless Saviour "was wondrously free from the lust
of self-vindication" (William MacDonald).
- Psalm 69:4 says, "They that hate me without a cause are
more than the hairs of mine head: they that would destroy me, being mine enemies
wrongfully, are mighty."
- This Messianic prophecy is quoted in John
- Our Lord was hated without a cause. He was buffeted, spit upon, whipped and
scourged, and nailed to a cruel cross.
- Yet He bore it all patiently, and He cried out from the
cross, "Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do" (Luke
- Stephen followed our Lord's example. When he was being stoned to death, he
cried out with a loud voice, "Lord, lay not this sin to their charge" (Acts
- Christ left us His example (2:21). Is He your example?
- Or are you like that fellow with the bumper sticker that
says: "I don't get mad. I get
- Our Lord was perfectly sinless because He is God
- First John 3:5 says, "And ye know that he was manifested
to take away our sins; and in him is no sin."
- Second Corinthians 5:21 says, "For he hath made him to
be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God
- Only the Lord Jesus Christ could be our perfect
Substitute because He is sinless.
- Many people make the mistake of attempting to follow
Christ as their example, without first trusting Him as their
CHRIST IS OUR SUBSTITUTE
- This is the
heart of the Gospel (I Cor. 15:1-4).
- Earlier I
referred to believer's baptism.
A person can be mistaken about baptism and still go to
- A person can be
mixed up about Bible prophecy and still make it to
- A person can
use different Bible translations and still be saved.
- But if a person
is wrong about the Gospel, he cannot be saved.
- That is why
cult members are lost.
- That is why
Masons are lost. When a Mason dies,
they have a special Masonic funeral service and at this service they claim their
Masonic "brother" is in heaven because he died a good
- The apostle
Paul said, "As we said before, so say I now again, if any man preach any other
gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed" (Gal.
- By the way,
that young man who brutally killed his mother in Brooklyn the other day killed
her with a sword he brought home from his Masonic
- Masonry is demonic just like Islam and
- The heart of the Gospel is the substitutionary death of
- Galatians 1:4 says, Christ "gave himself for our sins,
that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of
God and our Father."
- Again, notice the price and the purpose -- "that he
might deliver us from this present evil world."
- Our Lord's death was substitutionary (I Peter 2:24;
- Our Lord's death was sacrificial. He suffered for us
- Our Lord's death was redemptive (I Peter 1:18,
- Our Lord's death was pre-determined. Peter said in Acts 2:23, "Him, being
delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have
taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain."
- Our Lord's death was voluntary. Our Lord said in John 10:11, "I am the
good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the
- He said in John 10:17 and 18, "Therefore doth my Father
love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again. No man taketh it from me, but I lay it
down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it
- Our Lord's death was expiatory. Because of His shed
blood, our guilt is removed and we are reconciled with God (cf. II Cor.
- Peter says in I Peter 2:24 that our Lord was crucified
"on the tree." This is another way
of saying on the cross. The word
translated "tree" literally means "wood."
- Peter uses this word "tree" twice in the book of
- Peter said in Acts 5:30, "The God of our fathers raised
up Jesus, whom ye slew and hanged on a tree."
- And Peter said in Acts 10:39, "And we are witnesses of
all things which he did both in the land of the Jews, and in Jerusalem; whom
they slew and hanged on a tree."
- The apostle Paul said in Acts 13:28-30, "And though they
found no cause of death in him, yet desired they Pilate that he should be slain.
And when they had fulfilled all that was written of him, they took him down
from the tree, and laid him in a sepulchre. But God raised him from the
- Referring to our Lord's substitutionary death, Paul
wrote in Galatians 3:13, "Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law,
being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that
hangeth on a tree."
- Paul is quoting Deuteronomy 21:23, "His body shall not
remain all night upon the tree, but thou shalt in any wise bury him that day;
(for he that is hanged is accursed of God;)."
- Strong's Concordance says the Greek word translated
"tree" means: "wood; that which is made of wood; as a beam from which any one is
suspended, a gibbet, a cross."
- This Greek word,
xylon (ksoo-lon), is not the usual Greek word used for tree. It is only used to refer to the cross,
except for three verses in the Book of Revelation, where it refers to the "tree
of life" (Rev. 2:7; 22:2, 14).
- There can be no tree of life without
the cross. Jesus said in John
12:24, "Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat
fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth
- The Pentecostals teach there is physical healing in the
atonement. They have based their
argument upon Isaiah 53:5 and I Peter 2:24.
- "But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was
bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him;
and with his stripes we are healed" (Isaiah
- "Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the
tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose
stripes ye were healed" (I Peter 2:24).
- But the idea here is spiritual healing, i.e.,
having your sins forgiven. In Psalm
41:4, David says, “Heal my soul; for I have sinned against Thee.” David is speaking here of
spiritual healing. This is
healing of the soul, not the body.
- Such healing is moral and spiritual, not physical. It is
a cleansing from sin and the consciousness of
- In Hosea 7:1, God says, “When I would have healed
Israel…” The context indicates spiritual healing, not physical
- In Hosea 11:3, the Lord says, “but they knew not that I
healed them.” When people
are healed physically they know it.
But oftentimes people are healed spiritually and they forget all
- Consider Hosea 14:4. "I will heal their
backsliding." Backsliding is not a
disease of the body – it is a spiritual disease.
- Therefore, when the Bible says, “With His stripes we are
healed” (Isa. 53:5), the healing is not the healing of the body, but
the healing of the sin-sick soul.
CHRIST IS OUR GOOD SHEPHERD
reference to "sheep going astray" (2:25) is the last of six references to Isaiah
53 in this passage. This reminds us
of the importance of that chapter.
- The Lord Jesus
Christ is the "Shepherd and Bishop" of our souls
- Shepherd means
"pastor." Bishop means
- Pastors are
"under-shepherds." Christ is the
"chief Shepherd" (I Peter 5:4).
- Jesus said in
John 10:11, "I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the
- He said in John
10:27-29, "My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:
And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall
any man pluck them out of my hand.
My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to
pluck them out of my Father's hand."
- Is the Lord
Jesus Christ your "good shepherd"?
- Is He your
- He died on the
cross as your substitute.
- There is an old
story about a drawbridge engineer and his son, back in the days before modern
technology and computers made the job obsolete.
- The man
operated a drawbridge that spanned the Mississippi River. He used a control
panel of levers and switches to set into motion a huge set of gears that either
lifted the bridge so that boats could pass underneath, or lowered it back into
its original position so trains could cross the river. He had a set schedule
that he followed day in and day out.
- One day this
bridge operator took his young son to work with him. The little fellow greatly
admired all of the switches and gears, and he beamed with pride as his father
explained how he did his job.
- But after a
couple of hours of observing his father work, the boy grew bored, so his father
sent him out to play. A short while later, the bridge operator realized that it
was almost time for him to lower the bridge so the 5 p.m. commuter train could
cross. But, as he was about to pull the switch that would lower the bridge, he
glanced out the window to see that his son had apparently been climbing on the
gears; and his foot was stuck. The
little boy was wedged between the huge gears -- trapped and unable to free
- The engineer
was about to run down to help his son when he heard the train whistle in the
distance. Suddenly he realized that he did not have enough time to free his son,
return to the control box, and then lower the bridge in time for the passenger
train to cross safely.
- But if he
pulled the switch to lower the bridge, his little boy would be crushed in the
massive turning gears in which he was entangled. He was forced to make a
horrible choice: either his son would be killed, or the whole trainload of
passengers would plunge to their deaths in the river below.
- The engineer knew what he had to do; so he reached for
the lever and pulled it; and, in so doing, sacrificed the life of his son so
that the people on the train would live.
- As he agonized over His son's death, he looked up to see
the passenger train rumble by. With tears streaming down his face, he looked
through its windows to see hundreds of people sitting on the train. Some were
talking; some were reading the newspaper.
All were oblivious to the sacrifice he had made on their
- It is a sad story and a good illustration. However, I should point out that our
Lord's death was not a terrible accident (cf. I Peter 1:20;