When we are under incredible pressure what should we do? Listen to this lesson to learn that we are to follow Jesus’ example when He submitted Himself to unjust authority, even to a horrible death on the cross. Find out about three kinds of followers and how they apply to our lives. Learn that much of Peter’s teaching here comes from Isaiah in the Old Testament referring to Christ. As believers realize that we have a choice whether to become disciples and say no to self-indulgence and self-centeredness.
Humility, Grace Orientation, and Submission
1 Peter 2:21–25
1 Peter Lesson #072
November 17, 2016
“Father, Your grace is just so bountiful to us. You provide for us in so many different ways, and You have given us so much in relation to our own spiritual life and own spiritual growth. We cannot even enumerate all of the assets that You have given us, spiritually, and all of the privileges that You have given us.
One of those is Your Word. We have Your Word revealed to us and translated in a way in which we can understand it. We can memorize it, study it, and read it.
Father, we are so thankful that we have all these things to teach us about You and about our Lord Jesus Christ and what He means to us—not only for our justification, but also for our sanctification.
Father, as we study Your Word this evening, we pray that You would strengthen us and encourage us as we go through these passages. In Christ’s name. Amen.”
As we have seen, going into 1 Peter 2, starting in verse 13, he talks about submission to government. Then he talks to slaves about submission to masters. Then, in 1 Peter 3, he’ll talk to wives about submission to husbands. He will also talk to husbands about how they should relate to their wives.
Then he goes on from there, and talks in a more general sense about suffering—suffering when you’re doing right, suffering when you’re doing wrong. And what undergirds all of this is his understanding of what happens with Christ in His person and His work at the Cross. So in some sense, he seems repetitive.
He keeps going back to this to make sure that we understand this. I think that’s a wonderful thing to do, because it constantly reminds us that, methodologically, one of the things we should do as we think through anything is to go back to the Trinity, go back to the essence box, go back to the hypostatic union, go back to the person and work of Jesus Christ. When we do that and we think that through in terms of our own problems and adversity, then it really helps us to understand things.
What I am doing as we go through this is looking at these various doctrines. They are all tied together as we go through this: humility, grace orientation, and submission. The passage that we are going to be looking at tonight is 1 Peter 2:21–25, but then I want to look at Philippians 2:5–10 because that’s just such a foundational passage from Paul to understand what’s going on here.
Now, just to remind you, we saw in 1 Peter 2:18 the command to slaves to “be submissive to your masters with all fear” [with all respect or reverence] is the idea in “fear” there. The word there is HUPOTASSO, which is the word for “submit”, and all through here and in other passages it is the idea that we are to volitionally bring ourselves under control. It’s an imperatival type of participle, and that’s the key. We are to submit. Why?
Verse 19 explains: “For this is grace”. The New King James translated that “commendable,” but it’s the Greek word CHARIS, which just should be translated, “This is grace.” It’s grace to submit to those who are in authority over you. Therefore, a person’s submission in whatever area, whether it’s in the family, or at work, or business, or military, or school, that is a barometer of your grace orientation.
“This is grace, if because of conscience towards God [following the norms and standards in your soul where you are doing that which is right toward God] one endures grief.” If we are doing the right thing and we suffer negative consequences for it, then that is grace; it is part of grace orientation.
So that’s what Peter says here, “This is grace,” and he goes on to say that again in verse 20. “For what credit is it if, when you were beaten for your faults, you take it patiently?” You know you did wrong; therefore, you’re taking it like you should. “But when you do good and suffer, if you take it patiently, this is grace before God.” You are demonstrating that you understand God’s grace and you are exhibiting that towards others. It’s the same word that you have in verse 19.
Then, in verse 21, we read, “For to this you were called.” This is an interesting word here. “Called,” KALEO, has the idea of being called in terms of salvation, but it also has the idea of an invitation. What would that remind you of? It ought to remind you, especially with the context here, of the invitation that Jesus gave to follow Him in terms of being a disciple.
Being a disciple, as we will see, is different from simply being saved. Being saved is the result of trusting in Christ as your Savior, and being a disciple is something else. So we will look at this a little bit more when we get down to the word “follow.”
“For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps: ‘Who committed no sin, nor was deceit found in His mouth.’ ” So it’s like Peter just sort of jumps from talking about submission to the whole dynamic of the Cross. He talks about Christ suffering for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps.
What we see in this section all the way through here we look at verse 21, then we have a quote in verse 22 from Isaiah 53:9 and then verse 23… who, when He was reviled, did not revile in return. It is almost a commentary on Isaiah 53. “And as a sheep before its shearers is silent,
so He opened not His mouth.” This is an expansion on that. “When He was reviled, did not revile in return.” He didn’t open His mouth. “When He suffered, He did not threaten.” He didn’t open His mouth. Instead, He “committed Himself to Him who judges righteously.” He turned it over to the Lord.
So verse 22 takes us back to Isaiah 53:9, and it reiterates the impeccability of the Lord Jesus Christ, that He had no sin.
In verses 24 and 25, “Who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree.” That language comes right out of Isaiah 53. “That we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness—by whose stripes you were healed.” That phrase comes right out of Isaiah 53. Verse 25, “For you were like sheep going astray.” “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned, every one, to his own way,” right out of Isaiah 53.
So he’s taking Isaiah 53, which is about the Suffering Servant, and he’s applying it directly to slaves and saying, “You need to emulate the Slave of all slaves, the Servant of all servants, who is the Lord Jesus Christ.” This doesn’t make you less of a person, and I talked about that last time.
Probably, in our culture, where we see this conflict the most is in the realm of women’s rights, feminism, and things of that nature. The Bible has been completely twisted. I went through this last time to give us a bit of an understanding of what we should be talking about here.
We have a foundation of all thought, and in this illustration the iceberg in the background represents any issue in life. Usually, we talk about what’s above the surface, which is that part of the iceberg which is visible. There’s all this debate about specifics in terms of the election and politics, and it could be just anything. It could be creation versus evolution, it could be on the interpretation of the Constitution, you could be talking about specific foreign policies or relationship of war, the relationship of the federal government to the States, how you interpret the Constitution, any number of things, but we tend to argue details that are above the surface.
But what’s below the surface of every issue are these aspects. First of all, metaphysics. Metaphysics is just a fancy philosophical term; it means, “beyond the physical.”
META is a Greek preposition that means “beyond.” PHUSIKE is a word for the physical. So what is there that exists beyond the physical? The physical is what we can see, what we can measure; it’s the universe, it’s the stars, the solar system, the galaxies, the earth, all the things that we can see.
What is there beyond the physical? What is the ultimate reality? Is it God, something personal? Or is it something impersonal, such as matter or energy? I’m not sure what she is—a celebrity of some sort. Maybe you’ve heard the name Lena Dunham. She’s very, very liberal and very disappointed that her candidate did not win. In order to assuage her grief, she went out into the beautiful red rock canyons around Sedona, Arizona which is a big New Age site where you can get in touch with the universe. How you can get in touch with something impersonal, I don’t know, but that’s what she’s done. She’s been talking to the rocks, trying to find an answer.
Now, we sort of joke about that and shake our heads, but there are a lot of people who believe that. We, as Christians, need to figure out ways to communicate to them. Not in this context when they’re grieving.
I’ve heard some great terms, in various places. Emotional incontinence. Emotional arson is another term. I kind of like “emotional incontinence” and “constipation of the brain”; they work together. And we are seeing a lot of that.
But you have to wait till things calm down before you get a chance to talk to people, because everything is on edge and they don’t really know how to talk or communicate. But this is where we have to drive the conversation. The best way to do that, I find, is asking questions.
When God shows up to talk to Adam and Eve after they sinned, He doesn’t walk into the garden, say, “Yeah, you ate the fruit. Now you’re dead.” He doesn’t do it like that, He says, “Where are you?” Now He knows perfectly well where they are—and why they are where they are, but He needs to get them to think it through for themselves and to come to that realization on their own, without being told.
See, a problem a lot of us have is that we want to tell people what the answer is without walking them through a process of self-discovery. We need to learn to be patient, because that process of self-discovery can take about 10 years sometimes; and the process of telling them can take about 10 seconds, and we are impatient.
We need to learn to ask the right kinds of questions just to get them to think about it. Don’t hit them with five questions, because they can barely think their way through the first one. If you hit them with five questions all at one time, you have just overwhelmed them and they just shut down. It’s that cerebral constipation thing.
So we need to learn to be patient and to just say, “Well, I wonder if … I wonder why … Can you help me understand?” Ask questions like that to get them to think below the surface. It depends on the person; it depends on circumstances, and a lot of other things. But to get them to go through here.
We realize things build in the way thought is constructed from ultimate reality and how that works out in terms of how do you know truth. “Oh, I believe we can communicate with the universe.” Really? How do you do that? How do you know what the universe says?
I used to like to do this in conversations with charismatics. They would say, “I have the gift of tongues.” “Really? And when do you use that?” “Well, when I pray.” “Really? Does that help your prayer life?” “Oh, yeah! God answers my prayers more when I pray in tongues.” “Do you understand what you’re saying?” “No.” “Then how do you know He is answering your prayers?” Just ask questions, and try not to be patronizing.
That takes us to ethics—what is right and wrong. “It is just so wrong that so-and-so got elected.” “Really? Why? What is your evidence?” Ask questions, but drive it down. “How do you know it’s true?” “It’s wrong?” “How do you know it’s true?” “What is your evidence?” “What do you mean by ‘just’?” “Where do you get your values for justice and injustice?” And then go on down. “Does that come from the universe?” “That’s impersonal; how can the universe know what right and wrong is?” That is imputing personhood. If it has personhood, then maybe it’s not impersonal, but it’s personal. Think about that a little bit. Okay?
The logical progression is from the bottom up. As I pointed out last time, the pressures of life push us down to think more and more about these foundational issues. These are the real issues over here that are usually ignored, but that’s where the conversation needs to take place.
So we talk about submission and authority. People say, “Well, if I submit that means I’m not as good as the other person.” You’ll hear that either overtly stated or implied. “I have to obey them? But they are not very good.”
In my first church, an issue that came up was the role of women in ministry. There were three adult Sunday school classes that were taught by women, and there were adult men in the class. They had done this for a long time. When I had candidated at that church, I was asked the “landmine” question, “Well, what do you think about women teaching men the Bible?” I said, “My opinion doesn’t matter, but the apostle Paul says that women are not supposed to do it.” Women are not to teach men the Scripture; that’s in 1 Timothy 2:8–11, and it’s very, very clear.
Well, some women in the congregation just never could get over that. But I was wise beyond my years, and I knew that those three women had been teaching those Sunday school classes for 20 or 30 or 40 years, and that if I went in there and tried to change anything, then everything would just blow up. My answer was something that stuck in the craw of several women in the church, and it eventually blew up; but that’s another story.
The reality is that we have to go back to look at what the Scripture says. They would say, “There is not a man in the church who can teach the Bible as good as I can. Not one. I know the Bible a whole lot better. These men are all spiritual losers and they don’t know anything, but I can teach the Bible, so why shouldn’t I?” “Because God said so; you shouldn’t.” That’s right. And that’s where you have to end. But you have to start with, “Is that valid reasoning?” And your presupposition is that submission makes you somehow less equal.
I pointed out last time, Genesis 1:26–28 says that we are all created in the image of God. “Male and female He created them,” so that we are equal. But we have different roles that are assigned, and these roles are in the Trinity, in the Godhead.
We have God Himself represented—the unity of God—in this slide, but He also exists as three distinct Persons with one essence. He is the Father, He is the Son, and He’s the Holy Spirit; and this is known as the doctrine of the Trinity. The Son is God; the Holy Spirit is God; and the Father is God. But the Son is not the Father, and the Son is not the Holy Spirit, and the Father is not the Holy Spirit. They are three distinct Beings.
The Father is equal to the Son, the Son is equal to the Holy Spirit, and the Holy Spirit is equal to the Father. That is called metaphysical or ontological equality. Basically, They are equal in essence, but They are functionally distinct. Some theologians call it an economic distinction, but we will just use the word “functional.” I think it communicates better.
The Son obeys the Father. The Son sent the Holy Spirit, and the Father sent the Holy Spirit. So they have distinct roles. It doesn’t mean because the Son submitted Himself to the Father, that He is less equal to the Father. So we have to under understand that that’s the metaphysics; that’s what tells you what submission and obedience and humility are—right there. If you don’t understand the Trinity, you can’t understand submission, humility, and obedience.
On the other hand, if you make mistakes in the way you understand submission, humility, and obedience, then you’ll end up with a heretical view of God. This is what happened many times and in church history.
I concluded this by saying,
- All human beings (slaves, wives, children) are equal in their being and essence, being in the image of God. Neither is superior in their essence to another. They are all equal. They are all in the image of God.
- This is called an ontological or metaphysical equality.
That’s what the Declaration of Independence is talking about when it says, “All men are created equal.” We are all equal in our being; whether you’re born poor or rich, whether you’re born short or fat, or tall, or male or female, or British or American, or Mexican or Bolivian, or whatever—all are created equal. That means they are equal before the law.
It doesn’t mean they have the same talents. It doesn’t mean they are interchangeable. Men and women are not interchangeable because they are equal. That’s part of the gender-role distinction problem; it also goes back to this issue.
- Each has distinct roles that God created. Just as in the Trinity—the Father is the planner, the Son carries out the plan, and the Spirit reveals the plan. These are economic or functional distinctions.
- Biblical submission differs from pagan submission in that paganism operates on power.
It’s tyranny; it always seems to assert an ontological inequality. For example, in Islam men are superior, innately, to women. Women are just marginally better than animals, in some cases, by nature. Okay? That’s embedded within their theology.
That’s your review. 1 Peter 2:21 Peter’s reasoning is this, “For to this …” To what? “To this …” That is, submission—even submission in a harsh situation when the master may be harsh, as in verse 18. “Be submissive to your masters with all fear, not only to the good and gentle, but also to the harsh.”
“For to this [submission] you were called” [you were invited]. I am going to use that term, because this last word here, follow His steps, directly brings in the idea of discipleship that we find in Matthew.
“To this you were invited.” When we look at the Scripture, we see that there are three kinds of followers. The word that we have here for following in His footsteps is EPAKOLOUTHEO. It means to follow, but the basic route is AKOLOUTHEO, and it has EPI, which is a preposition prefix, to it to intensify its meaning.
But we see this idea of following in the steps of Jesus. When you go back and look at the Gospels, there are three kinds of followers.
- The first kind is those who are the curious—the multitudes. Some people come to church, and they’re just curious. They’re just interested. “What’s going on here? Does this have any answers for me?”
So you have the curious multitudes in Matthew 12:15 and also mentioned in Matthew 14:13. As Jesus began to teach more and more about what it meant to follow Him, John 5 says that they began to leave.
- There are those who are believers, but they’re not committed.
They are justified; they believed in Jesus as the Messiah, so they’re going to spend eternity in Heaven, but they’re not real learners. They are not going to submit to Jesus’ authority. There were probably some of those among the disciples that left. See, the word “disciple” is a term that a lot of people think is a synonym for a believer, but “disciple” doesn’t mean a believer, it means a learner, a student.
The term “disciple” is even used of people in the New Testament who were not believers—like Judas Iscariot. There were others that were not believers; they were just temporary students. “Jesus is an interesting Rabbi. He’s different from everybody else. So let me just learn from Him.” So they’re not real learners.
- Then there are those that Jesus talked to and gave a special command to, and these were disciples in the technical sense of the term, not just the 12 but those who were committed to following Him, to growing to spiritual maturity, and to submitting to His authority.
There is another phrase that is used here in 1 Peter 2:21 that we ought to pay attention to, and it’s translated, “For us.” “For to this you were called [invited to be a disciple], because Christ also suffered for us.” That’s the foundation, and in the Greek it is HUPER HUMON. The preposition is HUPER, which is a preposition of substitution and can be translated, “in place of, instead of.” Christ suffered in our place; Christ suffered instead of us; that’s the idea there.
It is found a number of different places; that’s the substitution preposition. We see it indicated in the methodology in 1 Peter 1:18–19; we studied this just back in the last chapter. Peter told us, “knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers.”
What does that phrase mean? We talked about this on Sunday morning where Jesus is condemning the Pharisees, and He says, “Don’t call anyone, ‘Rabbi.’ Don’t call anyone, ‘father’.”
“Father” wasn’t just a term, like it is used in the Roman Catholic Church today, to refer to somebody who’s a priest. It was a term that was used of a rabbi, mostly dead rabbis, who were considered to be as authoritative in their interpretation of Scripture as the Scripture was. They were spoken of as if they had direct revelation from God, and so their opinions were stacked up over the Word of God.
That tradition is what Peter is talking about here. He says, “You were not redeemed with corruptible things … from your empty tradition from your fathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.”
That phrase is related to what we just talked about in verse 21: that Christ is without sin. He is sinless. This expands that more clearly in the imagery of the lamb. The lamb was without spot or blemish. This was a lamb that would be brought to sacrifice, specifically the Passover lamb.
When first Passover occurred, the Israelites were in Egypt and they were slaves in Egypt. They went through the nine plagues, and still Pharaoh would not let them go. Pharaoh told Moses to have everyone isolate a lamb. If it was a small family, they were to get with another small family next door and they would all have their meal together.
They would find a lamb and they would identify this lamb on the 10th of Nisan, and then they would watch the lamb for 3-1/2 days to make sure it was without spot or blemish. It had to be impeccable, because that “without spot or blemish” would speak to the character of the antitype that it was representing, which is Jesus.
So they would pick a lamb. If you’ve ever spent time with a lamb, you just realize how innocent they seem. They are soft, and they can be quite cuddly. You’re looking at those brown eyes, and you realize, “I’m going to have to kill this lamb because I sinned. He’s going to die because of me.” That is a thought that is really driven home in these sacrifices.
So Christ is compared to this lamb. He is going to suffer on our behalf. In this picture, you see what would take place in the ritual where the person who is bringing the lamb as a sacrifice places his hand on the head of the lamb and then recites his sins. What is happening ritually is that those sins are being transferred from him to the lamb, to this innocent, spotless, guiltless, innocent lamb.
Then he is going to take the lamb, he will slit the throat of the lamb, and the lamb will die. And that is because of your sin. That is an extremely strong image. Joel Kramer has a video on the lamb. It is called, The Sacrifice. You ought to watch this video. He goes through what happens at the Samaritan Passover, which is different from the Jewish Passover. They still have ethnic Samaritans who go to the Samaritan temple up on Mount Gerizim, and they sacrifice lambs. It’s quite, quite moving to think about that. But that’s the picture for every believer.
Second Corinthians 5:21 says, “For He made Him who knew no sin [that is Jesus, who is sinless] to be sin for us …” There is that same phrase again—HUPER HUMON, on our behalf, instead of us, in our place. He was made sin, or a sin offering, for us (in our place) for the purpose that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. So in Christ we have His righteousness; it’s imputed to us.
That’s why we are declared righteous, not because of any morality or good on our part, but because we are covered with the righteousness of Christ—with His righteous, white garments. Isaiah 64:6 says that all of our works of righteousness are as filthy rags. We come to God in these filthy garments. God doesn’t take those away. He puts a white robe on us—that’s the righteousness of Christ—and that’s what He sees when He looks at us. And He declares us righteous.
Hebrews 4:15 expresses the same point. “For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses.” In English that’s a double negative. It is saying we have a High Priest who can sympathize with our weaknesses, because He is made like us. He was fully human, but without sin.
He was, “In all points tested as we are, yet without sin.” So He understands what we’ve gone through. He is like us in the sense that He is true humanity and has been tested in every way.
Then in Hebrews 9:28 we read, “So Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many.” That is substitutionary atonement. He stands in the place of many. Guess where that language comes from? It comes right out of Isaiah 53. It talks about “the many” there, those for whom Christ died.
So, we look at 1 Peter 2:21–22. “For to this [that is, suffering unjustly] you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps.” Remember what Jesus said to His disciples in Matthew 16:24. Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone desires to come after Me [that’s following Him], let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.”
Think about that. Jesus says, first of all, “If you want to follow Me.” This is not talking about, “If you want to go to Heaven.” It is, “If you want to follow Me,” if you want to be a disciple, if you want to grow to spiritual maturity.
“If anyone desires to come after me, let him deny himself.” See, that’s not part of the gospel. The gospel is, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved.” That’s not self-denial; that is believing in Jesus; that is justification. Discipleship goes beyond that; that’s a believer in terms of their spiritual growth.
If you want to follow Jesus, if you want to do the Father’s will,
- Let him deny himself,
- Take up his cross,
- Follow Me.
What does He mean by that? This is based on an idiom that was understood at that time under the Roman Empire. First of all, it is to deny yourself. The essence of rebellion is to give into ourselves.
The essence of rebellion is to do what the sin nature wants us to do. I talk about the sin nature as being self-absorbed. When we are self-absorbed, what do we do? We indulge ourselves. We give into ourselves. That’s not denying ourselves. That’s the opposite of denying ourselves.
So, as a believer,
- We have to deny ourselves. We are going to say, “No,” to the sin nature; we are going to say, “No,” to its self-absorption, and we are going to say, “No,” to its self-indulgence and its self-justification.
- The second thing is the idiom to, “take up your cross.”
We see what happened with Jesus when He took up His Cross. What was Jesus condemned for? “Because He made himself out to be to be God and to be the king of the Jews,” which was an act that was viewed as rebellion by Rome.
Crucifixion was a horrible, horrible, violent death. The person who was crucified went through horrible beatings, they were whipped until their flesh came off, until their organs were exposed, and they were beaten beyond recognition. Then they would be nailed to the cross. In the process, they would be forced to carry the cross piece, the patibulum, on their shoulders to the place of execution. Now why would they do that? Because crucifixion was only reserved for certain kinds of crimes, and one of those was the crime of insurrection, or the crime of being a traitor to Rome. They were being made an example of, and by carrying their cross to the place of execution, it was an act of forcing them to demonstrate their submission to the authority of Rome.
A lot of people will tell you a lot of different things about what it means to “take up your cross.” “Taking up your cross,” in a Roman context, was to be submitted, forcefully, to the authority of Rome. Rome was asserting its full power over this person and forcing them to submit. They are carrying their cross to the place where they are going to be executed because of their insurrection against Rome, because of their rebellion against Rome, and because they failed to respect the authority of Rome. Again, “taking up your cross” is an act of submission to authority. Interesting how these themes keep coming back.
So Jesus is forced to submit to the authority of Rome by taking His cross and going to Golgotha. He said the following to His disciples.
- First of all, you have to deny yourself, your sin nature.
- Second, you have to take up your cross; which is, you have to submit yourself to the authority of the Father and then you follow Him.
That’s the progression, “No” to the sin nature, “yes” to the authority of God, and then following Jesus—doing what Jesus says to do–learning the Word and applying the Word, letting your mind be transformed into the thinking of God.
When we look at our verse in 1 Peter 1:22, it says that He’s our example that we should follow. When it says, “that you should follow,” that is a purpose clause. The purpose for Him suffering for us is that we should follow Him. But it’s a subjunctive, so it’s not mandatory; it’s optional. It is left to our volition. But that’s its purpose. You can say, “No. I’m just going to go to Heaven. But I’m not going to follow You, because I really don’t want to have to submit to authority. I don’t want to go through injustice, where I’m going to have to demonstrate grace orientation. I would just rather be my nasty little vindictive self.”
Then we have the quote from Isaiah 53:9, showing that Jesus did not commit any sin, “Nor was deceit in His mouth.” He’s perfectly sinless. Then, 1 Peter 2:23 expands this, and says, “Who [that is, Jesus], when He was reviled, did not revile in return.” You have two different words there for “reviled,” and they are related each other. The first word is LOIDOREO, which means, “to revile, to abuse verbally, or to criticize abusively.” This would be verbal abuse today—a very popular term.
When He was reviled, when He is slandered, when He is yelled at, when He is insulted, He did not return that. And that’s just another form of that word, ANTILOIDOREO, ANTI meaning “against.” So it means “to revile back,” or “to talk back.” He’s silent like a lamb before its shearers is dumb.
Then it says, that “when He suffered”, and this is the word PASCHO. This refers to all manner of suffering and adversity. Anything where life isn’t going your way—that’s what suffering is. Some people say, “Well, I never really feel like I suffer.” Well, if things don’t go your way, then that is part of adversity—the adversity of life—whether you feel like it or not. It’s not a subjective concept; it’s an objective concept.
If you’re living somewhere where you are restricted from being able to do the things you would like to do, by government edict, then that is suffering for Jesus. If somebody gossips about you or slanders you, then that is suffering for Jesus. There are all kinds of different ways—some things we know, and some things we don’t know.
That’s all within this general word PASCHO, meaning “to suffer.” It’s used 11 times in 1 Peter. That’s an interesting statistic. What do you think 1 Peter is talking about? How to handle suffering—biblically.
Then it says, “When He suffered.” Usually, when people suffer they want to react in some way, usually with some kind of verbal sin. “He did not threaten.” That’s the word APEILEO. It’s used in the imperfect tense which means continuing action.
“When He suffered [or while He was suffering], He did not threaten.” He didn’t continue to threaten, because this lasted for a long time when He’s on the road to the cross. They ridiculed Him, they abused Him, they verbally did things—slandered Him and accused Him of all kinds of things—and He didn’t respond at all to what they were saying.
“But instead [the contrast there] He committed Himself,” and this word is sometimes used of handing someone over. This is what Judas Iscariot did. This verb is used. He betrayed Jesus; he handed him over to the authorities. It’s also used here; it has that idea of “handing over.” “He handed Himself over to Him who judges righteously.” He put it in God’s hands.
What’s the verse here at the end of 1 Peter? 1 Peter 5:7, “Casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.” It’s the principle that is exhibited here. He handed himself over; He put His case in God’s hands.
Now did that mean He didn’t suffer? Did that mean He didn’t go to the Cross? Did that mean that He didn’t have to go through hell on earth? Not at all. He knew that eventually God’s justice is going to bring justice to the situation of injustice.
Then we come to 1 Peter 2:24. In English this reads, “Who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness—by whose stripes you were healed.” When we look at this verse in the English, there are several things that stand out. We ought to say, “What is this word, ‘bore’?” That’s not a common word today. We know that it’s the past tense of the word “to bear,” but how did He bear our sins? What does that mean? What does “sins” mean? What does it mean that “He bore our sins in His own body?” What does it mean, “That we, having died to sins.” How did we die to sin? “Might live for righteousness.” What are we talking about here? This is not talking about justification. “By whose stripes you were healed.” Where does that come in?
Let’s look at a couple things. The reason I underlined “our sins” here in this first slide is that’s the first phrase in the Greek text. So it says, literally, “Our sins, who He himself bore.” The emphasis is on our sins. The focal point at the beginning of the verse is our sins, because that’s the first phrase that we see in the verse. “Our sins, He himself bore.”
Now this is an interesting word that brings a lot—pardon the pun—to bear on the verse. No pun intended.
“He Himself bore our sins.” I’ve always wrestled with this. I had to memorize this verse years and years and years ago when I was going through the Navigators Topical Memory System. I think this was in the second or third set. It’s a little awkward. I wondered, “What does that mean that, ‘He bore our sins in His own body on the tree’?”
At the time I never quite had the study tools to be able to look that up and come to an understanding of that. But the Greek word here is the word ANAPHERO. The root word is PHERO, and it means, “to carry something, or to bring something back, or to raise something up.”
You see some of the various ways in which it’s used, but this idea of “offering a sacrifice” is inherent to this concept. Let me show you how that happens. This word ANAPHERO doesn’t just pop up in Peter’s vocabulary because he thinks, “Oh, this sounds like a good word. I think I’ll use this.” Guess what chapter it comes from? Anybody want to hazard a guess? Isaiah 53—there you go! We’ve heard that several times already.
“Surely He has borne our griefs [talking about the Suffering Servant] and carried our sorrows.” It’s parallelism there. Carrying and bearing—these words are used in synonymous parallelism. Griefs and sorrows are the effects of sin. The effects are put for the cause—it’s poetry.
“Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed Him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted.” Now, as I note, in the cut out here on the verb, the Hebrew word for “borne” is the Hebrew word nasa. It is translated in verse four in the Septuagint by the Greek word, PHERO.
In the second verse, Isaiah 53:12, where it says, “He was numbered with the transgressors,” what does that mean? That means that there is a thief on one side and a thief on the other. He is numbered, or identified, with the criminals. That’s a prophecy that’s fulfilled at Golgotha.
“He was numbered with the transgressors, and He bore the sin of many.” That, again, is the word ANAPHERO, the same word that we have in 1 Peter 2:24. So this language is sacrifice language. It’s to offer a sacrifice. So it’s the idea of originally lifting or carrying something to the altar where it was sacrificed. This is seen in how this word is used in passages in Leviticus.
Leviticus 14:20 says, “And the priest shall offer,” and this is the Hebrew word nasa. Here, in the Septuagint, it uses ANAPHERO to translate that. “And the priest shall offer [or shall bear] the burnt offering and the grain offering on the altar. So the priest shall make atonement for him, and he shall be clean.”
Leviticus 16:22 talks about the goat. This is in the situation where you have the scapegoat. You have the two goats on the Day of Atonement. One is the goat that bears the sin of the nation; he is sacrificed and dies in a good cause. Then you have the other goat that is taken way, far away—so far away that he won’t be able to find his way home; he’s the one who removes the sin as far away as possible, so that they’re not remembered or brought back. “The goat shall bear on itself all their iniquities to an uninhabited land.” Same concept; it’s a different word, though.
This is seen also in 1 Peter 2:5. Notice how aspects that are brought out here go back to 1 Peter 1:17, 18, 19 also here, 1 Peter 2:5. “You also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.” It’s the word ANAPHERO. So, when it talks about He Himself ANAPHEROed our sins, it is talking about a sacrifice that is being made. He carried, as a sacrifice, our sins, in His own body. He physically died.
The physical death isn’t what paid the penalty for sin, but it was part of the package. He could not just die spiritually, because there is a consequence of spiritual death that is physical death.
How do we know that there is such concept as spiritual death? Ephesians 2:1, “You were dead in your trespasses and sins.” That’s the word there. It can’t be physical death, because he is talking to the Ephesians who are now saved and saying that, “Before you were saved, you were dead.” It was some kind of death, and so that’s not a physical death.
Then 1 Peter 2:24 goes on. He says, “Who Himself bore [carried] our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness.”
This is not only an unusual word; it’s the only time this word is used in the Greek New Testament. It’s APOGINOMAI, and it means, “to die.” It’s a participle, which means that it should probably be taken causally—that because we have died to sin.
When did we die to sin? When we trusted Christ as our Savior. We are identified in His death, burial, and resurrection.
Because “that we, having died to sin, might live for righteousness.” The purpose that God identified us with Christ in His death, burial, and resurrection, so that we would live differently—so that we would not live according to our sin nature, that we would be transformed by the renewing of our minds, and by walking by the Holy Spirit, we would be able to live for righteousness. So that is the purpose here.
“That we … might live.” That our purpose is to live for righteousness. Then there’s a reminder, “By whose stripes [that is, that He was whipped] you were healed.” In Isaiah 53, the word “healing” is often used in parallel to “dying for sin.” So when you look at that, you know the healing there isn’t the healing for illness, or some kind of miraculous healing, but is solving the sin problem. The word SOZO is sometimes translated, “healing, to deliver from illness.” In this case, it’s talking about sin.
Now, Roman 6:3 says, “Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized [or identified] into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death?” We are identified with Him when we are baptized by the Holy Spirit at the instant of salvation. Paul says, “Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death.” That never happened to any believer prior to the Church Age.
“Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.”
That’s the same thing that that Peter is saying in 1 Peter 2:24, “That we…might live for righteousness.”
Paul says that, “we should walk in newness of life.”
Then he goes on to say, “For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old man [that is everything that we were before we were saved] was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin.”
The term “body of sin” refers to the sin nature.
The term “old man” doesn’t refer to the sin nature, but because somewhere along the line in theology the sin nature was referred to as “the old sin nature,” people got confused, and they thought “old man” meant the sin nature. But right here it’s very clear that our old man was crucified with Him. If our old man was crucified with Him, then it’s dead. But it’s [our sin nature] not dead. It happened for the purpose that the body of sin might be done away with in the future—that’s the process of sanctification.
About three weeks ago I got an e-mail and the question was, “Robby, what do you think ‘the old man’ means?” I said, “It does not mean the sin nature.” I put in passages in Ephesians 4 and Romans 6, and I said, “It doesn’t mean that. It refers to everything that we were before we were saved.” We have a new identity in Christ. The “old man” is dead, but it takes a while for the sin nature to be processed into death. And it doesn’t happen completely until we are face-to-face with the Lord. Jim Myers replied to me and he said, “That’s exactly what I think. Scary.” So we have a lot of fun together.
Then verse 25, “For you were like sheep going astray, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.” These allusions to Isaiah 53 are one reason why I think he’s really writing to Jewish-background believers, because the Gentile background believers wouldn’t relate to any of this—Isaiah 53—they wouldn’t even know about it. So it reinforces what I said from the beginning—that he’s primarily writing to diaspora Jews in central Asia Minor, or north-central modern Turkey.
“For you were like sheep going astray, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls,” which are two titles for the Lord Jesus Christ. This comes right out of Isaiah 53.
“All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned, every one, to his own way.” That’s self-absorption. Everybody wants to do what’s right in his own eyes; that is from Judges.
“We have turned, every one, to his own way; and the Lord has laid on Him.” That’s why, “He carried our sins in His own body.” “And the Lord has laid on Him [substitutionary atonement] the iniquity of us all.”
So here is Isaiah 53:7, the next verse. “He was oppressed and He was afflicted, yet He opened not His mouth.” See, this is exactly what we saw here. He was reviled, but He reviled not. He suffered, but He did not condemn or threaten. He committed himself—instead He turned it over to the Supreme Court of Heaven.
“He was oppressed and He was afflicted, yet He opened not His mouth; He was led as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so He opened not His mouth.” And that was exactly fulfilled.
Next time we are going to get into the Servant’s humility in Philippians 2. We didn’t make it tonight; we will make it next time.
“Father, thank You for this opportunity to study these things and to be reminded of all that our Lord went through and His submission to Your authority to go through incredible suffering, even though He cried out in prayer to let that cup pass from Him. Nevertheless, He submitted and went to the Cross and bore as a sacrifice in His own body, on the Cross, our sin, our penalty, and He died in our place.
But He gave us an example, because this was an ultimate example of injustice. Yet He submitted to injustice and put the eternal consequences in Your hands, so that He could complete His mission on the earth. Sometimes that’s what we need to do. We need to submit to You and set aside our wishes, our desires, and what we think is right for us—and it may even be right for us. It may be the right thing that we are doing—but we are to set that aside in order to submit to Your authority and let You work out the judicial retribution in Your timing. We pray this in Christ’s name. Amen.”