The Book of I PETER
James J. Barker
CHRISTíS REDEMPTIVE SUFFERINGS
- Last week I
preached from I Peter 3:13-17, which deals with Christians suffering for their
- This leads us
to I Peter 3:18, which deals with the sufferings of
- The example of
Christ is proposed as an argument for patience under sufferings -- "For Christ
- Matthew Henry
said. "Now, if Christ was not exempted from sufferings, why should Christians
expect it? If he suffered, to expiate sins, why should not we be content when
our sufferings are only for trial and correction, but not for expiation? If he,
though perfectly just, why should not we, who are all criminals? If he once
suffered, and then entered into glory, shall not we be patient under trouble,
since it will be but a little time and we shall follow him to glory? If he
suffered, to bring us to God, shall not we submit to difficulties, since
they are of so much use to quicken us in our return to God, and in the
performance of our duty to him?"
- Matthew Henry
said this about Christ's sufferings:
1. Jesus Christ himself was
not exempted from sufferings in this life, though he had no guilt of his own and
could have declined all suffering if he had pleased.
2. The reason or
meritorious cause of Christís suffering was the sins of men: Christ suffered
for sins. The sufferings of Christ were a true and proper punishment; this
punishment was suffered to expiate and to make an atonement for sin; and it
extends to all sin.
3. In the case of our
Lordís suffering, it was the just that suffered for the unjust; he substituted
himself in our room and stead, and bore our iniquities. He that knew no sin
suffered instead of those that knew no righteousness.
4. The merit and perfection
of Christís sacrifice were such that for him to suffer once was enough. The
legal sacrifices were repeated from day to day, and from year to year; but the
sacrifice of Christ, once offered, purgeth away sin, Heb. 7:27; 9:26, 28; 10:10,
5. The blessed end or
design of our Lordís sufferings was to bring us to God, to reconcile us to God,
to give us access to the Father, to render us and our services acceptable, and
to bring us to eternal glory, Eph. 2:13, 18; 3:12; Heb. 10:21, 22.
6. The issue and event of
Christís suffering, as to himself, were these, he was put to death in his human
nature, but he was quickened and raised again by the Spirit.
- Note the word
"also" (I Peter 3:18; cf. 2:21). We
do suffer, but Christ also suffered. Isaiah 53:3 says He is "a man of
sorrows, and acquainted with grief."
- Hebrews 4:15
says the Lord Jesus Christ is our great high priest, and is "touched with the feeling of our
- Our Lord's
sufferings, referred to here in I Peter 3:18 (and in 2:24), were
redemptive. We refer to this as the
vicarious or substitutionary atonement of Christ.
I. THE CHARACTER OF CHRIST'S
II. PURPOSE OF CHRIST'S
III. THE CONSEQUENCES OF CHRIST'S
THE CHARACTER OF CHRIST'S
- He suffered for
our sins on the cross "once" (3:18).
This once-for-all offering of Christ stands in contrast to the annual
sacrifices of the high priest on the Day of Atonement.
- This is brought
out in the Book of Hebrews. "But
this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the
right hand of God" (Hebrews 10:12).
- When we speak
of the character of Christ's sufferings, we must emphasize it was "for sins" (I
- This is the
heart of the Gospel. First Corinthians 15:3 says, "For I delivered unto you
first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our
sins according to the scriptures."
- John the
Baptist said, "Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world"
- Seven hundred
years before the cross, the prophet Isaiah said, "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
- In fact, this
doctrine of substitution is taught all throughout the Bible. We see it in Genesis 22:8, where God
says, "God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt
- In the book of
Exodus, we see Christ is our Passover Lamb.
- And we see this
all through the book of Leviticus, with the various animal
- We see it in the Messianic Psalms and
- We see it in the Gospels, where Jesus said, "For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many" (Mark 10:45).
- We see it in the book of Acts. It was central in the preaching of
- We see it in all of the
- And we see it in the Book of Revelation, where over and
over again, the Lord Jesus Christ is referred to as "the
- The vicarious nature of Christ's death is brought out
here in I Peter 3:18 by the words, "the just for the unjust."
- "For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin;
that we might be made the righteousness of God in him" (II Cor. 5:21).
- These Scriptures also emphasize Christ's
sinlessness. He "knew no sin." He
is holy, righteous, and just; whereas we are unholy, and unjust
PURPOSE OF CHRIST'S
- "That he might
bring us to God" (I Peter 3:18).
This was the only way He could bring us to God.
- To "bring us to
God" -- this is man's greatest need.
- According to
Romans 5:10, before we were saved, we were the enemies of God, but now we were
reconciled to God by the death of his Son, the Lord Jesus
- Ephesians 2:3
says we "were by nature the children of wrath, even as
- Therefore, the
purpose of Christ's sufferings was "that he might bring us to God" (I Peter
- Colossians 1:20
says, "And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to
reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in
earth, or things in heaven."
THE CONSEQUENCES OF CHRIST'S
- Death and
resurrection -- "being put to death in the flesh, but quickened (made alive) by
the Spirit" (I Peter 3:18).
- "Put to death
in the flesh" reminds us of the violent death of our Lord.
- Over 500 years
before Calvary, Daniel the prophet said the Messiah shall "be cut off, but not
for himself" (Daniel 9:26).
- The early
Christians had to contend with false religious cults, just as we do
- There were
various Gnostics (e.g. docetics) who taught that Christ was not a man with a
physical body. They taught Christ
was merely a spirit.
- That is why the
apostle John says, "And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us"
- And, "That
which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our
eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word
of life" (I John 1:1).
- That is why the
apostle Paul said, "And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness:
God was manifest in the flesh..." (I Timothy
since these Gnostics denied that Christ was God manifest in the flesh, they did
not believe He was literally crucified on the cross.
- But Peter makes it plain that the Lord Jesus Christ was
"put to death in the flesh" (I Peter 3:18).
- "Being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by
the Spirit" (I Peter 3:18). Our
Lord's redemptive victory was not complete until His resurrection from the
- Christ died on the cross as our sinless Substitute --
"the just for the unjust" -- and He arose as our glorified Lord and
- Lifted up was
He to die;
ďIt is finished!Ē was His cry;
Now in Heavín exalted
Hallelujah! What a Savior! -- PP
- A Roman
Catholic priest was visiting one of his parishioners in the hospital, when this
parishioner mentioned to him that the lady in the bed next to hers was very sick
and likely to die soon.
- The priest then
went over to the dying woman and said, "I can offer you
- The woman was a
Baptist, and was not familiar with the term "absolution," since the word is not
in the Bible.
- So she said,
"Sir, I have no idea what you mean."
- The priest
said, "I have come to forgive your sins."
- The woman then
asked the priest, "May I look at your hands?"
- The priest
said, "Yes, you may."
- Looking at his
hands, the lady then said, "Sir, you are an imposter!"
imposter! What do you mean?" the
- "You are an
imposter, because the Man who has forgiven my sins has nail-prints in His