“For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive in the Spirit.” [1 Peter 3:18]
Spurgeon told a story that illustrates the power of sin over human beings. He said “A cruel king called one of his subjects into his presence and asked him his occupation. The man responded I’m a blacksmith.’ The ruler then ordered him to go and make a chain of a certain length. “The man obeyed, returning after several months to show it to the monarch.
Instead of receiving praise for what he had done, however, he was instructed to make the chain twice as long. “When that assignment was completed, the blacksmith presented his work to the king, but again was commanded, ‘Go back and double its length!’ This procedure was repeated several times. At last the wicked tyrant directed the man to be bound in the chains of his own making and cast into a fiery furnace.”
Spurgeon added “That is what the devil does with men. He makes them forge their own chain, and then binds them hand and foot with it, and casts them into outer darkness.”
Like that cruel king, sin exacts from its servants a dreadful price. “The wages of sin is death” (Rom. 6:23) says the Bible. However, the good news is the last part of that verse: “The gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.” And in order to grant eternal life to us, Jesus Christ had to die. 1 Peter 3:18 gives us 4 amazing truths concerning his death that reveal why his death is the greatest of all deaths.
1. It was Unique. “For Christ also suffered once for sins.” Christ who never committed any sin [1 Jn 3:5], out of sheer love and obedience to God’s commands died for sins. That’s what makes his death unique—one who never committed any sin died for sinners such as you and me.
2. It was Perfect. “once for sins.” The phrase, “once for sins” means “one time and not to be repeated.” No more animal sacrifices are needed for sins. Jesus on the cross said, “it is finished” [John 19:30]. This term meant that payment for sins was paid in full—not 50%, not 99%—but 100% paid. It is finished means—the work of salvation—was completed on the cross. His death is perfect in that he once-for-all died for our sins.
3. It was Substitutionary. “the righteous for the unrighteous.” Herein is one of the greatest statements to have ever been recorded in the Bible. This process is called as Imputation or Substitutionary Atonement, i.e., one person is impacted by the actions of another [2 Cor 5:21]. Jesus, as our Substitute took our punishment and died in our place so that we could be saved from the punishment we deserve for our sins when we turn from our sins and accept his death as payment for our sins and embrace him as our Lord and Savior [Rom 1:17, Acts 3:19, 1 Cor 15:1-3, Rom 10:9, Acts 4:12].
4. It was Purposeful. “to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive in the Spirit.” Jesus is the One who brings sinners back “to God.” And this happens only because Jesus “was put to death in the body.” However, death was not the end. Because God accepted his perfect sacrifice, he physically raised Jesus from the dead through the Holy Spirit as indicated by the phrase, “made alive in the Spirit.” Jesus’s resurrection showed that his death was purposeful—it brings us to God and thus enable us to possess eternal life.
So, there we have—4 amazing truths about Jesus’s death: It was unique, perfect, substitutionary and purposeful. How can we not, but love and adore this amazing Jesus who gave himself for us?
Cyrus, the founder of the Persian Empire, once had captured a prince and his family. When they came before him, the monarch asked the prisoner, “What will you give me if I release you?” “The half of my wealth,” was his reply. “And if I release your children?” “Everything I possess.” “And if I release your wife?” “Your Majesty, I will give myself.”
Cyrus was so moved by his devotion that he freed them all. As they returned home, the prince said to his wife, “Wasn’t Cyrus, a handsome man!” With a look of deep love for her husband, she said to him, “I didn’t notice. I could only keep my eyes on you—the one who was willing to give himself for me.“
Let’s continue to keep our eyes on Jesus—the One who loved us and gave himself for us [Gal 2:20]—while we were still his enemies!
And if you’ve never turned to this Jesus, the Christ who died for sins, I urge you to turn from your sins and by faith accept Jesus paid the price for your sins and embrace him as the Lord and Savior of your life.