“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:”
This grand gospel text brings before us some of the greatest truths ever to fall on mortal ears!
First of all, it brings to the forefront the great person, CHRIST, the sent one of God. He is the heart of the gospel message and He separates the gospel message from every other message on earth! In his opening chapter of the book of Romans, Paul makes three powerful statements about the person of Christ. First, “…Christ our Lord. ..declared to be the Son of God with power” (v 3-4). Second, “…the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God unto salvation…” (v 16). Third, “…even His eternal power and Godhead…” (v 20). He is the Power of the gospel! Our text starts with Christ! We can go no higher, can reach no loftier name than the name of Christ!
The Cross-Work of Christ
Within three words, Peter moves to Christ’s great work, His suffering and death. This is linked back to chapter 2:24 by the word, “also.” There we learn the great truth of Christ the Sin-bearer. But our text tells us that the very One who bore our sins, also suffered for them. Again, Paul says in Romans 8:32, “He (God) spared not His own Son but delivered Him up for us all.” Little do we comprehend the depth of those words, “delivered Him up. It involved suffering, anguish, and agony, the like of which this world has never seen, before or since! Think of the eternal Son suffering the vengeance of the Almighty on the behalf of sinners’ sins! To contemplate the sufferings of Christ for our sins should bow our every heart in thanksgiving and melt the hardest heart of the sinner. But if that’s not enough, there is yet another great truth to be added to all this.
The Sufficiency of The Worker and The Substitutionary Nature of His Work
Peter writes, “The Just” or “The Just One.” There could be no salvation for others if the One carrying out the work wasn’t absolutely just! A quick look back to chapter 2:22 tells us, “Who did no sin, neither was guile found in His mouth.” Let us remember that it is the sufficiency of the “Just One” that makes possible His substitutionary work. Weymouth, in his translation, puts it nicely: “the Just One for the guilty many.” So not only did Christ suffer for sins, but He suffered in the place of the sinner! Who can really comprehend such truth!
The Mediatorial Work of Christ
Why such suffering? All that He might bring us to God! We, who were far from God, separated by our sins, are brought to God by the suffering and death of Christ! Anyone who may be reading this and is not saved, can I just say this to you, God isn’t looking for one thing from you. He just wants you to take Him at His word, listen to what He has done for you and take it for yourself.