1 Peter 2:18-25
Servants, be subject to your masters with all fear; not only to the good and gentle, but also to the fraudulent.…
I. OUR LORD'S DEATH FOR SIN. And here, ere we approach to behold the great sight, let us put off our shoes from off our feet, and bow down in lowliest reverence of repenting grief, for, remember, if Jesus had not died for sins, we must have died, and died eternally too. Oh, the bitterness of our souls had we been in such a state!
1. There was a substitution for our sins, and by that substitution believers are saved. It was not merely a transfer of punishment from one to another, but there was a transfer of sin in some deep sense, or else the Scripture speaketh not what it meaneth: "He bare our sins in His own body on the tree."
2. Now I want you to pause, having noted the fact of substitution, to consider the substitute. "He His own self bare our sins." And who was "He"? I want you to feel a personal love to our dear Lord and Master. I want your souls at this moment to realise the actual character of His existence and His true personality. Though thus God over all, He became a man like unto ourselves. And He, in that double nature but united person, was Jesus, Son of God and Son of the Virgin; He it was who "bare our sins in His own body on the tree."
3. Here we call to your remembrance the fact stated in the text so positively, that the substitution of Christ was carried out by Him personally, not by proxy. The priest of old brought a substitution, but it was a lamb. He struck the knife and the warm blood flowed adown it, but our Lord Jesus Christ had no substitute for Himself, He "His own self bare our sins in His own body."
4. Notice, also, that the substitution of Christ is described in our text in a way which suggests consciousness, willinghood, and great pain. "He His own self bare our sins." They were upon Him, they pressed Him. The Greek word for "bare" suggests the idea of a great weight, "He bare our sins" — stooped under them, as it were; they were a load to Him.
5. And He bore those sins manifestly. I think that is the mind of the Spirit; when He says "in His own body," He means to give vividness to the thought. We are so constituted that we do not think so forcibly of mental and spiritual things as we do of bodily things; but our Lord bare our sins "in His own body." "His visage was more marred than that of any man, and His form more than the sons of men." Remember another text — "Yet we did esteem Him stricken, smitten of God." Mark the "tree" or Cross for a moment with much attention.
(1) It was the place of pain. No death could be more full of agony than that of crucifixion. Blessed be Thy love, O Jesus, that Thou couldest bear pain and death for us.
(2) But the Cross was not the place of pain merely; it was the place of scorn. To be fastened to the Cross! Why, they would not put the meanest Roman thereon, though he committed murder; it was a death for slaves and menials. To be laughed at when you suffer is to suffer sevenfold.
(3) But more, it was the place of the curse, for "cursed is every one that hangeth on the tree," and the Word has told us that "He was made a curse for us."(4) Last of all, it was the place of death.
II. OUR DEATH TO SIN. "That we, being dead to sin, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed." Now, observe right well that we are dead to the condemning power of sin. Henceforth I have nothing to do but to live as a righteous man, accepted in the Beloved, to live by His righteousness and rejoice in it, blessing and magnifying His holy name. As many of you as have looked to Jesus Christ bearing your sins in His own body on the tree, are dead to sin as to its reigning power.
1. Dead, first, because we have seen its detestable nature. It had its charms, but now we have perceived its hypocrisies. The false prophet Mokanna, who wore the silver veil upon his brow, deceived many, for he said that should that veil be lifted, the light which would gleam from under it would strike men blind, the glory was so great; but when one had once perceived that the man was leprous, and that on his brow instead of brightness there were the white scales of a leper, nobody would become his disciple; and so, O sin, at the Cross I see thy silver veil removed, and I mark the desperate leprosy that is on thee. I cannot harbour thee in my heart.
2. We are dead to sin, again, because another passion has absorbed all the forces of our life.
3. And yet again, sin appears to us now to be too mean and trivial a thing for us to care about. We have lost now, by God's grace, the faculty which once was gratified with these things. They tell us we deny ourselves many pleasures. Oh, there is a sense in which a Christian lives a self-denying life, but there is another sense in which he practises no self-denial at all, for he only denies himself what he does not want, what he would not have if he could. If you could force it upon him it would be misery to him, his views and tastes are now so changed. Let these eyes be forever sightless as the eyes of night, and let these ears be forever deaf as silence, rather than sin should have a charm for me, or anything should take up my spirit save the Lord of love, who bled Himself to death that He might redeem me unto Himself. This is the royal road to sanctification.
(C. H. Spurgeon.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Servants, be subject to your masters with all fear; not only to the good and gentle, but also to the froward.