Summary: Living on Mission in a Foreign Land Principles and Patterns of Submission: The Power of the Gospel to Create Submissive People
Living on Mission in a Foreign Land
Principles and Patterns of Submission:
The Power of the Gospel to Create Submissive People
We are in our second of three mini-series in 1 Peter, “Living on Mission in a Foreign Land,” from 1 Peter 2.11-4.11, where Peter connects the way we live to the mission of God, making disciples. He tells us that we are a people who have been called out of darkness and into his marvelous light to proclaim His excellencies. Our actions and our words are to point those around us to the work of the gospel in our lives. We have been looking at “Principles and Patterns of Submission.” Today we will look at the power of the gospel to create submissive people.
Big Idea – Christ bore our sins to create people who reflect the transforming power of the gospel.
Passage Overview: Last week we saw that we are to look to the example of Christ as the reason for us to endure unjust suffering. But His example or his pattern is much more than this as it also provides the power to follow this example or pattern. So he connects the example to the meaning of Christ's suffering. Following his example alone does not have the ability to transform sinners into saints or make dead people alive. Peter does not want us to lose sight of the fact that no power for transformation comes outside the work of Christ.
Christ Bore our Sins As Our Substitute
Peter paints a picture of the death of Jesus Christ as the payment for our sin which releases us from the punishment of God's wrath and eternal punishment and reconcile us to God by faith. This is what theologians call atonement, meaning at one with, where we are reconciled to God. The imagery comes from the Old Testament Day of Atonement priest sacrificing animals, spilling their blood, killing them for the sins of the people. The peoples sins were seen as transferred to the animal. This imagery prepared the way for Christ as the perfect substitute and sacrificial lamb to pay for our sins. The result is that we are reconciled to God by faith.
But why is sin such a big deal? Why is it necessary for God to pour out his wrath for sin? To feel the weight of this we need to look at the human predicament. God created humanity in his image to reflect him by our lives; we were created for his glory to glorify him. Both mean essentially the same thing, to live in a way that reflects the character of God. Humanity in the garden failed miserably when they rejected God and chose to sin. Sin is serious because it is a rejection of God's supremacy in our lives. Israel also failed miserably to reflect his glory. Scripture describes them as having exchanged God's glory for the glory of lifeless idols. Human history is the history of humanity rejecting God and his glory for the glory of lifeless idols because we have a sinful nature whose default button is to reject God. Humanity outside of Christ cannot do any spiritual good or be good in terms of a relationship with God. Even in our attempts to do good are corrupted because of our sinful nature. This leaves us unresponsive to God. We fall short of God's glory, meaning we have exchanged it for something else; we do not value it. The wage or payment for our sin is spiritual death, exclusion from God, and the eternal judgment of his wrath upon us for all eternity. Not one of us sees or understands the seriousness of sin. We cannot fathom how belittling sin is to God. Sin is so ginormous of an issue that it required a sacrifice of infinite perfection and value. But the good news is where we failed Jesus succeeded. He bore our sin on the cross. Scripture tells us, “he who knew no sin became sin for us so that we might become the righteousness of God.” Our sin is imputed to Him, God treats my sin as if it were Christ's. So he was punished for our sins; God's wrath was laid upon him. And Christ's righteousness is imputed to us; God treats his righteousness as if it were mine. That is the meaning of justification. So we are freed from both the penalty of sin and the power of sin so that we become like him. Let's look at that for a moment.
Christ Bore our Sin so that we Would Become Like Him
Christ bore our sins in his body so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. His bearing our sin is the means that makes us like Christ. Christs bearing our sin does not just offer the hope of being like Christ but results in us becoming like Christ so it secures us being like Christ. As Peter has said, the miracle of new birth is the means of being like Christ. To die to something means to be non responsive, lifeless, like a rock. It means sin no longer has the decisive or definitive sway in our desires and appetites. Corresponding to this is living to righteousness. Scripture says we are no longer enslaved to sin but slaves of righteousness. Becoming like Christ will only come if we daily choose to die to sin and live to righteousness. And you will never overcome sin until you are ruthless with it. Being dead to sin and alive to righteousness is both a position we hold and a posture we take. That is in Christ, we are dead to sin and alive to Christ but it is also a process that is marked by progress. One who is truly born again will live a life that is characterized by progressively dying to sin and living to righteousness. This is the image Peter gives. 'By his wounds you have been healed' and you were straying like sheep but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your soul. It is in following him that you become like him.