Our Sin Bearer
November 11th, 1973 @ 10:50 AM
1 Peter 2:19-25
THE SIN BEARER
Dr. W. A. Criswell
1 Peter 2:19-25
11-11-73 10:50 a.m.
On the radio we invite you gladly, gratefully to share with us these services in the First Baptist Church in Dallas. This is the pastor bringing the message entitled Our Sin Bearer. In our preaching through the letter of the apostle Peter, we are in the first epistle, chapter 2, beginning at verse 19:
For this is thankworthy—charis, a grace—if a man for conscience toward God endure grief, suffering adikōs, unjustly… .
For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that we should follow His steps… .
Our Lord, who did no sin, neither was guile found in His mouth:
Who, when He was reviled, reviled not again; when He suffered, He threatened not; but committed Himself to Him that judgeth righteously:
Who His own self bare our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness.
[1 Peter 2:19-24]
Our text is a picking up of a theme that the apostle had written in the first chapter of his letter. He is writing to the diaspora, the Christian Jews. In the provinces, the Roman provinces of Asia Minor and upon the persecution that arose after Nero blamed the Christians for the burning of Rome, the provinces took it up even more viciously and violently. And these Jewish Christians scattered throughout the provinces of the Middle East were undergoing great trial.
So, the apostle writes in the first chapter, that even though now you are in heaviness through those trials [1 Peter 1:6], just remember that the trial of your faith is more precious than gold [1 Peter 1:7]. Then he repeats the same thing in the beginning of our text in verse 19: “For this is charis”—this is a grace—“if a man for conscience toward God endure grief, suffering,” adikōs, translated here “wrongfully suffering, unjustly” [1 Peter 2:19]. It is an astonishing thing: our Lord’s attitude toward His flock. Verily, it is as if the Savior had said to the world: “These are My sheep. This is My flock. Take them, torture them, torment them, destroy them, decimate them, waste them, burn them.” And the world did just that! From the beginning, the little flock of our Lord was afflicted and tormented. They were broken on the rack. They were burned at the stake. They were drowned in water. And until Constantine and his government outlawed crucifixion, they were nailed to the tree. They were fed to the wild beasts.
What kind of people were those people? In the great Coliseum, tier upon tier upon tier of those blood-thirsty spectators, looking down into the arena, shouting, “Bring in the saints, the Christians to the lions”—and the iron cages were opened and the starved and ferocious carnivorous beasts were turned loose on God’s little flock.
How did they do? Did they deny His name? Did they recant the faith? You have an incomparable delineation of God’s little flock in one of the most famous books that was ever written. When you think of the tremendous volumes in the English language, you think of Pilgrim’s Progress, John Milton’s Paradise Lost, and you think of Foxe’s Book of Martyrs, one of the greatest volumes ever penned. And the purpose of that book, Foxe’s Book of Martyrs, is to show us how God’s little flock did under terrible persecution.
One was named Blandina. She was taken into the arena and there tossed on the horns of a wild and ferocious bull. And this sweet, humble Christian, being torn, bleeding, dying, kept trying to cover her body with her torn dress to hide her body from the gazing eyes of those who looked upon her, and died, seeking to cover over her body, so torn and bleeding. Marcus of Arethusa, smeared with honey, and angered hives of bees stinging him to death. And a little band of Christians, covered with pitch and set fire, and with their flaming, burning hands, clapping in the presence of the Lord, saying, “None but Jesus, only Jesus”: it seems that it pleased God to feed His little flock to the blood thirsty world.
There’s never been an age nor generation since but has known that tragic suffering on the part of the Christians. The Lord only knows what has happened to God’s children in North Korea and in Communist China and in mad, indescribably insane Uganda, all of this going on at the present time.
The little flock has always suffered grief adikōs, unjustly. And the inspired apostle says, “This is our calling.
Even as Christ suffered for us, leaving us an example…
Even our Lord, in whom was found no sin, neither guile in His mouth:
When He was reviled, reviled not again; when He suffered, He threatened not; but committed Himself to God.
[1 Peter 2:21-23]
Following in the example of the patient suffering of our Lord, all of that Simon Peter writes out of a personal experience. He was present when the Lord was betrayed, when He was arrested [Matthew 26:14-16, 47-50]. He was there at the trial before the members of the Sanhedrin [Matthew 26:57-69], and finally before Pontius Pilate [Matthew 27:1-2, 11-26]. He was there, watching Jesus crucified—saw Him bow His head in agony and die.
Simon Peter saw all that, and he also saw the quiet bearing of our Lord, in the face of the taunts, and mockery, and scourging, and suffering, and finally crucifixion of the Son of God [Matthew 27:26-50]. I can well believe that Simon Peter, time and again, brushed the tears from his eyes, as he remembered those tragic hours of the passion and death of our Lord. “He is our example,” Simon Peter says, “and thereunto are we also called” [1 Peter 2:21].
But lest one think that the death of our Lord was but exemplary—lest one think, it was just an example for us, the apostle continues: “Who His own self bare our sins in His own body on the tree” [1 Peter 2:24]: His death was far more than a paradigm, an example. His death was also expiatory [Hebrews 10:5-14]. It was atoning [Romans 5:11]. It was a propitiation [1 John 2:2]. It was for the purpose of bearing our sins away [1 Corinthians 15:3; 1 Peter 2:24]. Had the death of our Lord been just example, it would have been nothing more than that of a great hero. But the death of Christ was in behalf of us who are sinners [1 Corinthians 15:3]: that we might someday see God’s face and live [Revelation 22:3-5].
So we’re going to turn to this naos, this sanctuary, and we’re going to look upon our Lord as He dies for our sins. And as we approach that awesome sight, I feel as though we should take off our shoes. The ground on which we stand is holy [Joshua 5:15]. And I feel that we ought to kneel and bow our heads in repenting confession as we approach this great moment of all time and of all history, when Jesus died for our sins: “Who in His own self bare our sins in His own body on the tree” [1 Peter 2:24].
He took our punishment [Romans 4:25, 5:10]. The judgment that should fall upon us, fell upon Him [2 Corinthians 5:21]. You see, God made this universe like that. Every sin carries with it a concomitant, a corollary, an addendum, a punishment. No man can break that iron chain. God made, created the universe like that. Sin and judgment: “The soul that sins shall surely die” [Ezekiel 18:20]. “The wages of sin is death” [Romans 6:23].
But the punishment that should come upon us, the penalty that should be judged to us, is laid upon Him. He bears it. He took it [2 Corinthians 5:21]. The cup that we couldn’t drink, He drank to the last bitter dregs [Matthew 26:39; John 18:11]. And the suffering that we couldn’t bear, He bore in our stead [Isaiah 53:5]. But, not only that, there is something more: “who His own self bare our sins” [1 Peter 2:24]. Not only the judgment and the penalty that should fall upon us for our sins did He bear [Hebrews 10:5-14], but He took upon Himself our sins in His own self, in His own body, on the tree [1 Peter 2:24]. It is impossible for me to enter into that. I don’t understand. I just know God’s Word says that He did it: the sin itself that we have committed, God transferred it to Him, all of it [2 Corinthians 5:21].
How could God do that? I don’t know. It is an unseen and an inexplicable mystery. It is something God has not chosen to reveal to us: but our sins, God actually took and placed them upon the Lord Jesus [Isaiah 53:6]. Somehow He is the second Adam [1 Corinthians 15:45]. He is the representative man, and as such, all of the sins of the world were placed on Him [1 John 2:2]. As in the first man, Adam, all of us were cursed and died, so, in the second Adam, all of us are blessed and made alive [1 Corinthians 15:21-22]. He is the Shepherd of our souls: all we as sheep have gone astray, but we are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of our souls [1 Peter 2:25]. He is the great representative keeper, and somehow God has made Him chargeable for each member of the flock, each one of us. And He is held accountable for all of us, and all of our sins and transgressions and derelictions and iniquities, wrongdoings, all of it is placed at His account [2 Corinthians 5:21].
The Great Shepherd, under God, is made responsible for His sheep [Isaiah 53:4-5]. I don’t understand that, I just say it. I just am an echo of what God’s Book reveals to us. You have a dramatic presentation of that in how the Father in heaven, God, acted when Jesus died upon the cross. Had He died an example, a hero, had He suffered for us, giving His life for some great altruistic cause, why, the Father in heaven could have looked down upon Him and said, “This is My Son. I am so proud of Him. I commend Him. I congratulate Him. Look, He is giving His life for the people.” That could have happened: the Lord commend Jesus for His marvelous, heroic martyrdom. Is that what happened? What actually happened was, when the Lord went up to the cross, bearing the sins of the world, the Scripture that you just read said—do you remember it? “For God made Him to be sin for us, Him who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him” [2 Corinthians 5:21]. “God made Him to be sin for us.” And instead of God looking down in commendation and congratulation, the Gospels say that the Lord turned His face away. God hid His face and the Son, dying, cried saying, Eli, “My God,” lama, “Why?” sabachthani, “hast Thou forsaken Me?” [Matthew 27:46]
In a mystery that lies in the heart of God, He became our sin [2 Corinthians 5:21]. And all of the transgression of the world was placed upon Him. And the apostle uses an unusual word here: “Who His own self anapherō, translated here “bare” [1 Peter 2:24]. Anapherō, anapherō is a word that you would use in describing a man who is bearing a sacrifice up before God. He is taking an offering up before God, there to slay it [Leviticus 4:26-29]: anapherō bearing an offering.
It has in it also the idea of stooping under a great weight, like an Atlas with the weight of the world on his shoulders—that anapherō. Our Lord stooped, and on Him was placed the burden of all of the sins of all humanity [Isaiah 53:6]. And He bore it up to the cross [Isaiah 53:5], and there made the expiation, atonement, sacrificial cleansing for all of our sins [Hebrews 10:5-14]. And the apostle, by inspiration, writes: “Who His own self—His own self,” pointing to the One who is doing it [1 Peter 2:24].
Isn’t that a wonderful thing? Are we saved by a dogma? No! Are we saved by a doctrine? No! Are we saved by a system of theology? No! We are saved by a Somebody. We are saved by a Person who His own self bare our sins in His own body on the tree [1 Peter 2:24]. Who is this that Simon Peter points to with emphasis? “His own self.” Who could forgive sins but God? When the Lord said to that paralytic son: “Thy sins be forgiven thee” [Mark 2:3-5], the Pharisees were correct, when they murmured, saying, “This Man blasphemes! Who can forgive sins but God?” [Mark 2:6-7] They were correct.
Where they were incorrect was, it was more than a man. It’s a God-Man, and the God-Man can forgive sins [Mark 2:10]. He had to be a man, for a man broke the law. A man must keep it. A man brought death into the world. A man must take it away [Romans 5:12-14]. And in all ways that God-Man was able to do for us what we could not do for ourselves: to bear in Himself our redemption and salvation [1 Peter 1:18-19].
He had to be divinely strong, yet humanly compassionate. Somehow, He had to be forever pre-existent, and the same time capable to die [Hebrews 10:5-14]. He had to be one who kept the law [Matthew 5:17], and yet who died as though He were transgressor of it [Luke 23:31-41]. For, you see, in the purity and the unblemished virtue of the Son of God, He died in our stead [1 Peter 1:18-19], and there is mercy and grace and merit over and abounding for us all: grace, grace, on top of grace [Romans 5:20]. “Where sin did abound, there did grace much more abound” [Romans 5:20]. “And we saw Him as the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth” [John 1:14]. “For the law came by Moses, but grace came by Jesus Christ” [John 1:17].
In the death of our Lord there is merit, all sufficient for all of us and more beside [1 John 2:2]. However the mountain of sin may rise—and does—in this world, the mountain of God’s loving grace in Christ is abounding, abundant, more and more. “His own self bare our sins in His own body” [1 Peter 2:24], in His own body. You know, I think when Simon Peter wrote that he had in his heart and in his mind all of these things that we read. Type and example in the Old Covenant, in the Old Testament: Jesus in His own body bare our sins and our iniquities [Isaiah 53:5-6]; there was no substitute for Him. He received the stroke in His own body on the tree [Matthew 27:32-50; 1 Peter 2:24]. You see, when Abraham was told to sacrifice Isaac his son [Genesis 22:1-2], the altar was reared on Mt. Moriah, and the wood was placed, and the boy was bound, and Abraham lifted up his hand to strike the knife into the heart of his promised son [Genesis 22:9-10], in whom God had said, “In Isaac thy seed shall be called” [Genesis 21:12]. And when he raised his arm to strike the fatal blow, there was a voice from heaven: “Abraham, Abraham, stay thy hand” [Genesis 22:11-12]. And, Abraham lifted up his eyes and looked and saw a ram caught in a thicket, and instead of his boy, he offered the ram [Genesis 22:13].
But when the Lord Jesus was sacrificed [John 19:16-30], there was no voice from heaven to stay the hand. And when the Roman soldiers drew back the hammers to drive the nails into His hands and feet, there was no voice to stay the ring of those hammers. And when one of those Romans took a spear and thrust the iron into His heart and drew it out, and blood and water followed thereafter [John 19:34], there wasn’t any voice to hold back the thrust of that Roman spear.
You see, there was no substitute for Christ. “In his own body He bare our sins” [1 Peter 2:24]. All of the sacrificial system of all of the ages pointed to Him. The Passover night there was a lamb to substitute for the families [Exodus 12:3-7, 12-13]; but there’s no substitute for Christ; He bore it Himself [Matthew 27:32-50; 1 Peter 2:24]. And when the high priest came on the Day of Atonement and then on the sacrifice of every day and slew a lamb and offered it before God, it was in behalf of the nation [Leviticus 16:3-19]. But when Christ was offered for the sins of all of the peoples of the world, there was no sacrifice for Him; He took it upon Himself [Hebrews 10:5-14]. If there is a heart broken for sin, it was His heart. And if there is a life given for our sins, it was His life. “In His own body, He bare our sins on the tree” [1 Pete 2:24]. The whole life of our Lord was vicarious. In the eighth chapter of Matthew, it says—after the Lord is described as healing the people from the early morning till the eventide, Matthew writes: “That it might be fulfilled which was said by Isaiah the prophet, ‘Himself bore our illnesses and carried our sicknesses”’ [Matthew 8:17].
You know, these divine healers that I hear often on the radio, they have a little turn about their theology that I think is correct. I think the Lord suffers for every one of us, and when you are grieved, I think He is grieved. And when you’re sick, I think He is hurt, and I think He is moved by our weaknesses. I think it touches the heart of God, it is a care to Him.
And in Luke, the evangelist says that when the people were healed, great multitudes of them, that there was virtue that went out of Jesus, out of Him [Luke 6:19]. And then a chapter or two later, Luke says that there was a woman with an issue of blood, who said, “If I can just touch Him, if I can just touch Him, just the hem of His garment, I will be healed.” And she came behind, lest she be seen, discovered, and touched the hem of His garment, and immediately she was healed [Luke 8:43-44; Matthew 9:20-21]. And the Lord said, “Who touched Me?” [Luke 8:45]. And Simon Peter—he [Luke] must have remembered all this, writing these verses [1 Peter 2:19-24]—Simon Peter said to Him: “Lord, they press Thee and throng Thee on every side, and yet You say, ‘Who touched Me?’” [Luke 8:45]. But the Lord said, “Someone touched Me: for I perceive that virtue is gone out of Me” [Luke 8:46]. And He turned, and there was that dear, poor, humble woman, who had been healed by His gracious mercy and loving strength [Luke 8:47-48].
All of his life He was that! And when He died on the cross, He was preeminently that: He was bearing our weaknesses and our sicknesses and our sins and our iniquities. “By whose stripes we are healed,” the apostle writes [1 Peter 2:24].
Now, we must conclude—“Who His own self bare our sins in His own body on the tree that we, being dead to sin, should live unto righteousness” [1 Peter 2:24]. There’s a beautiful way the apostle has written that: “To sins being dead, to righteousness being alive” [1 Peter 2:24], quickened, made alive [Ephesians 2:1, 5].
Isn’t that as miraculous as anything else that you could find under the hand of God, the effect that the preaching of the gospel has upon a human heart when that heart opens and invites the Lord in? What a remarkable thing: “dead to sin and alive to God,” a remarkable transformation [1 Peter 2:24]. When a man listens to the gospel of Christ and when he opens his heart to the message of Jesus, something happens. It’s a miracle. “Dead to sin” [1 Peter 2:24]: it loses its allurement, its attractiveness. It is unalluring. It is unattractive. It is uninviting. It just loses its appeal. You’re dead to it. And its hideous face in all of its real character is seen when you accept Christ into your heart [Romans 6:2]. That’s an astonishing thing! The false prophet came with a veil of silver over his face. And he said, “This veil cannot be lifted, for if my face is seen, the light of the glory that shines from my countenance would blind a man.” So the false prophet walked among the people in self-esteem and self-glory with a silver veil over his face until somebody happened to see that he was a leper, and he carried the silver veil over his brow to hide the white leprous scales on his forehead.
Isn’t it a strange thing what happens to the people of God as they face false prophets and sin and the allurement of transgression and wrong? Isn’t it an amazing thing? When we were in London, the maharaja had an international convocation of all of his followers there. And they marched through the streets of London by the thousands and the thousands. And I stood there and just watched them marching by, placards and all. And these last three days in Houston, in the Astrodome, the same Indian maharaja is here. And he sees his devotees bow down and kiss his feet and worship him as the great messiah.
If you are a Christian, you can’t help it—there’s something that has happened to you. You couldn’t bow down and kiss his feet and accept him as the true Messiah if your life depended upon it! There’s something inside of you that rebels. To you, it is offensive and repulsive. You see, you know the Lord, and something has happened inside of you. You’re a different kind of a creation: dead to sin, and to God, alive! [2 Corinthians 5:17]. Interested, quickened [Ephesians 2:1, 5]: that’s the most remarkable thing, what happens to a man when he is saved? His language is different. His interests are different. He is alive to what others are dead to. He is dead to what others are alive to.
I have to close, just this one pointing out. I can just easily imagine, when the apostle Paul came to Rome and they met him at Puteoli, and then accompanied him to the Appii Forum and then to the Three Taverns and finally to the Holy City, what did they talk about? [Acts 28:13-16]. They talked about the resurrection, and about heaven, and about Jesus, and about the faith, and about the glory of God that comes to us in Him [Acts 28:20-29]. That’s what they spoke about.
And I can well imagine the [three] soldiers that were chained to the apostle Paul every day—every eight hours they changed the soldiers [Acts 28:16, 20]. Can you imagine the Praetorian Guard, when three men every day were chained to the apostle Paul for eight hours? You know, I can imagine a soldier in the Praetorian Guard, talking to one who had just been chained to the apostle Paul and say, “We see all these visitors coming and the prisoner talking to them. What did they talk about? Did they talk about Otho, the great German gladiator, did they talk about him? Did they talk about the latest bets, the latest gambling odds on the fight in the amphitheater tonight? Did they talk about those that are going to be sold as slaves on the block tomorrow?” And the soldier replies, “You wouldn’t believe it, what they’re talking about is one named Christ, who died for our sins [1 Corinthians 15:3]. And they’re talking about the faith that brings light and hope to the human heart [2 Timothy 1:10]. And they’re talking about heaven. And they’re talking about the resurrection from the dead” [1 Thessalonians 4:16-17].
And I can imagine the ears of a soldier talking to a member of the Praetorian Guard. I just can’t imagine it. It’s just unbelievable. That’s what happens to the man who opens his heart to the faith in Christ: he has a new love, a new vision, a new hope, a new life, a new dream, a new way, a new goal, a new tomorrow! [2 Corinthians 5:17] He’s been saved [Acts 16:30-31]. He’s been born again [John 3:3, 7]. He’s been regenerated [Titus 3:5]. It’s a new day and a new world.
Ah, sweet friend, how could anybody pass God by? How could anyone pass the Lord by? How could anyone say no to the blessed Son of God? “Lord, here I am, put in me that new heart [Psalm 51:10; 2 Corinthians 5:17]. Put in my soul that new vision. Here’s my family, Lord. Bless us all. Hallow and sanctify the work of our hands, the dreams of our hearts. Be with us, Lord, in life, in death, in every tomorrow. Welcome, God! Welcome, Jesus. Welcome, Lord, welcome.”
If that’s your heart with ours, to give you life to our blessed Savior, would you come this morning? To put your life in the fellowship of this precious church, would you come this day? In the throng, in the balcony round, you, down one of these stairways, “Here I am, pastor, here I come.” In the press of people on this lower floor, into the aisle and down to the front, “I make it now, and here I come.” On the first note of that first stanza, take that first step. And may God’s angels attend you in the way as you come, while we stand and as we sing.
OUR SIN BEARER
Dr. W. A. Criswell
1 Peter 2:19-25
A. The suffering of God’s people (1 Peter 1:7, 2:19)
1. Foxe’s Book of Martyrs – Blandina, Marcus Arethusa
B. The example Peter cites (1 Peter 2:21-23)
C. Jesus our sin bearer (1 Peter 2:24)II. Our Lord’s death for sin
A. He bore the punishment for our sins(Ezekiel 18:20, Romans 6:23)
B. But more, He bore our sins(1 Peter 2:24)
1. The Second Adam
2. The Good Shepherd(1 Peter 2:25)
3. God hid His face from Him(2 Corinthians 5:21, Matthew 27:46)
4. Anaphero – suggests the idea of a great weight
C. “His own self” – who He is
1. We are saved by a Somebody
2. The God-Man(Romans 6:20, John 1:14, 17)
D. “In His own body” – personally, not by proxy(Matthew 8:17, Luke 8:43-48)III. The result in our lives – our death to sin
A. See the hideous face of sin
1. False prophet with silver veil to hide his leprosy
B. Another love, devotion, call, obedience