1 Peter 3:18-20
For Christ also has once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh…
The scope of the apostle in this place is to fortify Christians for a day of suffering. In order to their cheerful sustaining whereof, he prescribeth two excellent rules.
1. To get a good conscience within them (vers. 16, 17).
2. To set the example of Christ's sufferings before them (ver. 18). The sufferings of Christ for us is the great motive engaging Christians to suffer cheerfully for Him.
I. THE SUFFICIENCY AND FULNESS OF CHRIST'S SUFFERINGS intimated in that particle [once]; Christ needs to suffer no more, having completed that whole work at once.
II. THE MERITORIOUS CAUSE OF THE SUFFERINGS OF CHRIST, and that is sin, "Christ once suffered for sins"; not His own sins, but ours.
III. THE ADMIRABLE GRACE AND UNEXAMPLED LOVE OF CHRIST TO US SINNERS. "The just for the unjust"; in which words the substitution of Christ in the place of sinners is plainly expressed. Christ died not only for our good, but also in our stead.
IV. THE FINAL CAUSE OR DESIGN OF THE SUFFERINGS OF CHRIST. "To bring us to God."
1. What Christ's bringing us to God imports.
(1) That the chief happiness of man consisteth in the enjoyment of God: that the creature hath as necessary dependence upon God for happiness, as the stream hath upon the fountain.
(2) Man's revolt and apostasy from God (Ephesians 2:12).
(3) Our inability to return to God of ourselves; we must be brought back by Christ, or perish forever in a state of separation from God (Luke 15:5).
(4) That God's unsatisfied justice was once the great bar betwixt Him and man.
(5) The peculiar happiness of believers above all people in the world: these only shall be brought to God by Jesus Christ in a reconciled state; others, indeed, shall be brought to God as a Judge, to be condemned by Him. All believers shall be solemnly presented to God in the great day (Colossians 1:22; Jude 1:24). They shall be all presented faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy.
2. What influence the death of Christ hath upon this design.
(1) It effectually removes all obstacles to it.
(2) It purchaseth (as price) their title to it.
Parallel VersesKJV: For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit: