T. PIERCE BROWN
I am continually amazed and gratified at what we are able to find in scriptures that we have known and studied for 60 years or more. In reading 1 Peter 2:24, I noted three things that I have seen before in other scriptures, but never thought about many times as I read this one. It ways, “Who himself bare our sins in his body on the tree, that we, having died to sin, might live unto righteousness.”
Let us note three fantastic and wonderful truths suggested in this short verse. First, he bore our sins in his body on the tree. This is very similar to the idea in John 1:29, “Behold the Lamb of God that taketh away the sins of the world.” When he bore our sins in his body, he paid the price for our sin, and thus delivered us from the guilt and punishment for sin. Keep in mind that this was the only way God could be just and justify the ungodly. Sin has to be paid for in some fashion. The wages of sin is death (Rom.6:23), and since God loved us and did not want us to have to suffer that penalty forever, he sent his only begotten Son to pay the penalty for us.
Second, not only did he take sin away from us, he did this to take us away from sin. “He bare our sins–that we, having died to sin–.” Do you not see the difference and yet the intimate relationship between his taking sin away from us, and taking us away from sin? He not only died that we should be free from the guilt and punishment of sin. He died that we might be free from the love and practice of sin. There is a great deal of difference in those two concepts, yet the second should automatically result from the first. However, it is not necessarily so. That is, we can conceive of a person who has been forgiven of sin, but still wants to cling to it. We find that there are persons like the children ofIsraelwho were delivered from the bondage ofEgypt, but longed for the fleshpots of their former life. The melons, leeks and garlic were too precious for them to forget. In Numbers 11:5-6, note their attitude, “We remember the fish, which we did eat in Egypt for naught; the cucumbers, and the melons, and the leeks, and the onions, and the garlic: but now our soul is dried away; for there is nothing at all save this manna to look upon.” They ate fish for nothing, which apparently means, “We did not have to pay for it” and now we have nothing but this bread from heaven. It may amaze us beyond comprehension that they could so soon forget the cruelty of their bondage, and the grace of God which gave them the manna when they were starving, but we can see the same kind of forgetfulness and ingratitude in our own brethren, and perhaps in ourselves today. But my point now is that in this one verse, we see the idea that Christ died to save us from the guilt and punishment of sin, but also from the love and practice of it.
But even that is not all. He concludes the verse with another thought which we might assume would be the automatic consequence of the first two, but it is not. He says, “That we might live unto righteousness.” Is it possible to be saved from something without being aware of how important it is to be saved FOR something? Ephesians2:20says, “–created in Christ Jesus unto good works.” Titus 2:14 puts it, “Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.”
When we realize that these suggestive thoughts are but a few of the things suggested by one verse that has to do with what was accomplished for us by the death of Christ, and that there are at least sixty other things the Bible shows that are accomplished by his life and death for us, our minds are staggered, and we cry out as Paul in Romans 11:33, ” O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and the knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past tracing out.”
T. Pierce Brown
1068 Mitchell Ave.
Cookeville, TN. 38501
Phone: (615) 528-3600