The Sin Bearer
November 11th, 1973 @ 8:15 AM
1 Peter 2:21-23
THE SIN BEARER
Dr. W. A. Criswell
1 Peter 2: 21-23
11-11-73 8:15 a.m.
We welcome you on the radio to share this service with us in the First Baptist Church in Dallas. And this is the pastor bringing the message entitled The Sin Bearer. It is an exposition of a text in 1 Peter chapter 2, beginning at verse 19, "For this is thankworthy." The Greek word is charis, "grace," this is a grace:
If a man for conscience toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully, adikos, 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: by whose stripes ye were healed.
[1 Peter 2:19, 21-24]
Our Lord through the apostle speaks of the sufferings of God’s children. This is a charis; this is a grace, "If a man for conscience toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully, suffering unjustly" [1 Peter 2:19].
The apostle began the epistle with a like encouragement to these saints of the Diaspora [1 Peter 1:1]. He was God’s minister to the Jewish people, scattered throughout all of those provinces in the Middle East. And he says to them that "Though now in great heaviness through the trials that you suffer, yet the suffering and the trial that comes because of your faith is more precious than gold" [1 Peter 1:6-7]. And now in this passage, he speaks of that same grief and trial and suffering again. It is a grace, "if a man for conscience toward God endure grief, suffering unjustly" [1 Peter 2:19].
Isn’t that the most astonishing thing that you could think of? That the Lord and the Shepherd of our souls seemingly and apparently said to the world, "This is My flock, these are My sheep. Now take them and cruelly entreat them – torture them, burn them, destroy them, decimate them – they are in your hands. They are My sheep."
And the world did and does just that. The world has always done just that. There has never been an era or a generation in the history of the Christian faith but that somewhere in the world the flock of Christ was being torn and tortured. There are vast areas of the world today where the sheep of our Savior know no other thing than to pay for their faith with their very lives. The world seems to delight, to glut itself upon the blood of the Christians.
There in the beginning, in the great Coliseum, where the bloodthirsty and cruel-hearted people sat tier upon tier upon tier, just thousands and thousands of them. And you can hear their bloodthirsty cry: "Bring in the saints, the Christians, to the lions!" And the cages are opened and those fierce and starved beasts ravage and devour and tear the sheep of our Lord.
One of the great books of all time, like Pilgrim’s Progress, like John Milton’s Paradise Lost; one of the great books of all time is Foxe’s Book of Martyrs. And there, page after page after page, he describes the faith of the children of the Lord. What do they do when they are fed to the beasts? When they are tormented and tortured? When they are wasted and destroyed? Do they recant? Do they deny their Christ? Listen to the testimonies of the pages and the pages of Foxe’s Book of Martyrs.
Blandina is a humble servant of Jesus, like a Mary [John 19:25], like a Dorcas [Acts 9:36-42]; Blandina. And she is tossed on the horns of a ferocious and enraged bull. And as the throngs look upon it, this humble sweet dear servant of Jesus, as the horns of the bull tear her body apart, in her sweet, sensitive modesty before the eyes of the thousands and thousands of spectators, she tries to cover her nakedness from the eyes of the bloodthirsty throng.
Or Marcus of Arethusa, whom they smeared with honey and then set upon him, bees – hives of bees that had been molested and enraged. Or God’s saints smeared with pitch and set afire. What do they do? They clap their burning hands, crying "Jesus only. None but Christ."
God calls that a grace. This is a grace, a charis, "if one for conscience toward God endure grief, suffering unjustly" [1 Peter 2:19]. And as the apostle writes of the sufferings of the sheep of our Lord, the saints of our Savior, he sets before them a beautiful and a holy example:
For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow His steps:
Our Lord 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.
[1 Peter 2:21-23]
You know, I can just see that in the heart of Simon Peter, pointing to the example of our Lord who also suffered unjustly. Simon Peter saw the Lord arrested [Matthew 26:57]; saw the kiss treacherous, deceitful, planted on Him by Judas [Matthew 26:47-]. He saw Him tried before the Sanhedrin and before Pontius Pilate [Luke 22:66-23:12]. He saw Him denied and mocked [Matthew 27:29], and guess who was chief in denying Him? [Matthew 26:69-75]. Finally saw Him crucified and finally die [Matthew 27:28-50].
You know, I think many, many times as Simon Peter lived through those days of the agony of our Lord; he brushed the tears from his eyes. How did the Lord respond in the agony of those days of trial and death? Peter never forgot, and it is written indelibly forever; Simon Peter never forgot the quiet bearing of our Lord, "who answered not again" [1 Peter 2:23; Luke 23:9].
And then lest one might suppose that the suffering of our Lord was but for an example of His flock, Simon Peter adds, "Who His own self bare our sins in His own body on the tree" [1 Peter 2:24]. His life was far more than one of example, and His death far more than exemplar; but He died expiationally, propitionally, vicariously. He died to take our sins away. And he speaks of that, "Who His own self bare our sins in His own body on the tree" [1 Peter 2:24].
We are now going to enter the sanctuary itself, the Holy of Holies, as we look upon that great sight of the atonement of Christ for our sins [1 Peter 2:24]. As we approach, it seems we ought to take our shoes off our feet. We are going to stand on holy ground [Joshua 5:15]. It seems we ought to bow in contrition and repenting confession.
We are going to look upon our Lord, "Who His own self bare our sins in His own body on the tree" [1 Peter 2:24]. The Lord bore our punishment. Sin always carries with it a judgment. God welded that link together, sin and death, "And the soul that sins shall die" [Ezekiel 18:4, 20], sin and judgment, always. That’s the way the universe, that’s the way life, that’s the way creation is put together. Sin always carries with it a penalty, a judgment, and no man can escape it.
Yet the Lord bore our judgment, our punishment in His own body on the tree. The cup that we couldn’t drink He drank to its last dregs. The sufferings we were not able to bear He bore in our stead. The punishment of our sins was placed upon Him. But far more, "who His own self bare our sins" [1 Peter 2:24], not just the punishment. The punishment due us, due me, God placed upon Him. But there is something more and something I cannot explain, "Who His own self bare our sins in His own body on the tree" [1 Peter 2:24]. In some heavenly, divine, spiritual way that I cannot enter into, God transferred our sins on Christ as though we had never sinned, never done wrong, never transgressed. All of it on Christ as though He were the one who had sinned, He was the one who fell into iniquity and transgression. I cannot enter into that but our sins were laid upon Him [Isaiah 53:6]. Somehow our Lord was the "second Adam," the great representative man [1 Corinthians 15:45]. "And as by man,came death,so by a man,came life" [Romans 5:17]. And the sins of the whole world were placed upon Him [Isaiah 53:6; 1 John 2:2].
In the passage of Scripture that we read – I cannot enter into it, "For God hath 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. You know, if the Lord had just suffered for us; in some tremendous, heavenly affection and devotion for us, He had given His life; God in heaven could have looked down upon Him and commended Him, "How noble. How fine. How splendid. How altruistic, My Son, suffering, dying for the people." God could have looked in commendation, in appreciation.
What actually happened? God turned His face away, and the Savior in His solitude cried Eli, "My God," lama "why" sabachthani, "hast Thou forsaken Me?" [Matthew 27:46]. In some way that I cannot enter into, He became sin itself [2 Corinthians 5:21]. All of the iniquities and transgressions of the whole world were placed upon Him [Isaiah 53:5-6].
Look at that word, "Who in His own self anapherō," translated here, "bare our sins" [1 Peter 2:24]. Oh, there is a weight in that word! Anapherō is the word for one who bears up a sacrifice to God, carries a sacrifice up to God. Anapherō is a word that means getting under a great load and lifting it upward. And the imagery that lies in the inspired text is of Christ bowing, stooping, under a great load and lifting it up to the cross; bearing it, carrying it, lifting it up to the cross; the weight of the sins of the whole world [1 John 2:2].
Somehow our planet itself, this solid earth, cannot bear the weight of the sin by which it is cursed. Great areas of the earth are blasted. I have flown over the Sahara, almost an illimitable expanse of waste. I have flown over Saudi Arabia and the great desert that reaches down beyond the Persian Gulf, thousands and thousands of miles, and as I look at it I think of the torment and torture of the planet itself because of the curse of sin.
Paul wrote in the eighth chapter of the Book of Romans, "For the whole creation travaileth in agony until now, waiting for the redemption of the children of God" [Romans 8:22-23]. The agony, and the torment, and the judgment, and the iniquity, and sin, and transgression of the whole world were placed upon Him, and He anapherō, He stooped to bear it up as a sacrifice, as a sacrificial victim, an atonement, a propitiation, a making right for us before God [1 John 2:2].
Look how the apostle writes, our Lord "who in His own self bare our sins" [1 Peter 2:24], "in His own self"; pointing out who He is. Were that a man, it would have crushed him. Were it a man – unable; how could a man bear the sins of the whole world? "Who His own self bare our sins" [1 Peter 2:24].
Who can forgive sins but God? The Pharisees were correct when they said, "This Man blasphemes; who can forgive sins but God?" [Mark 2:7] They were correct, no one can forgive sins but God. But this Man is more than a man. He is the God-Man, and in His own self, able, mighty, a man. By man came death; by Man came the destruction of death, but a God-Man, His own self divinely strong, yet humanly compassionate, eternally existent, yet able to die. The Holy of Holies of Christ, into which our minds cannot enter; perfectly obedient to the law [Matthew 5:17], yet condemned as a sinner [2 Corinthians 5:21]. There is merit there because of who He is in His own self. There is merit there for the whole world; grace for grace on top of grace [John 1:16]. "Where sin did abound, grace did much more abound" [Romans 5:20]; merit for the whole world; who His own self bare our sins in His own body."
You know, I can believe that Simon Peter, when by the Holy Spirit he wrote that text, "in His own body" [1 Peter 2:24], I can just believe that Simon Peter, in his heart and mind as he wrote those words, reviewed the whole story of man’s approach to God by sacrifice, by offering. Abraham, binding his son Isaac, lay him upon an altar, underneath the wood and the fire, ready to sacrifice his only son, the son of promise; raised the knife to plunge into the heart of the boy; and when he raises the knife, God calls from heaven, "Abraham! Abraham, stay your hand" [Genesis 22:10-12]. And Abraham looks and sees a ram caught in a thicket, and he substitutes the ram for the boy [Genesis 22:13].
When Simon Peter writes, "Who His own self bare our sins in His own body" [1 Peter 2:24], there was no substitute for Christ. When those Roman soldiers raised those hammers to drive nails in the hands and feet [Matthew 27:32-35], there was no arm from heaven to stay the stroke. And when the Roman soldier drew back his spear to thrust it into the heart of the Son of God [John 19:34], there was no hand to stay the thrust of the iron spear. There was no substitute for Christ – He was the substitute.
And I think Simon Peter, writing that text, "His own body, in His own body He bore our sins on the tree" [1 Peter 2:24], I think he thought through those Passover suppers that had characterized the children of God through the days, and still do. The Passover lamb [Exodus 12:3-7, 13], the death angel will pass over [Exodus 12:23], and this lamb is a substitute for the eldest son in the home. But there was no substitute for Christ, He is the Lamb [John 1:29; 1 Corinthians 5:7]. I can think of the Day of Atonement when the sacrificial animal was slain and his blood carried into the Holy Place as expiation for the sins of the nation [Leviticus 16:15]. But there is no substitute for Christ, He is that sacrificial lamb. "His own body bore our sins on the tree.
"That we being dead to sin should live unto righteousness" [1 Peter 2:24]. That’s beautifully said as Simon Peter wrote it, "To sins being dead, to righteousness being alive." That’s the effect it has upon a man who looks upon Christ and receives the merit, the atoning grace, the all-sufficient, covering, forgiveness in what Christ has done dying in our stead [2 Corinthians 5:21]. The effect it has on the man is, he dies to sin and he is quickened, he is resurrected to righteousness [Romans 6:10-11].
Isn’t that an amazing thing? When a man knows Christ and gives his heart and life to the Lord, sin becomes unattractive and unalluring and uninviting, uninteresting – isn’t that an amazing thing? Just not interested anymore, just not enticed anymore, just not involved anymore, "Something has happened to my soul and my heart and I’m just not responsive anymore." Isn’t that an amazing thing? The unattractiveness of sin to a man who has looked upon the death of Christ and has accepted Him into his heart: unattractive.
There was a false prophet, Mokana, and he went around with a silver veil on his brow. And he said the reason he wore the silver veil was, if a man should look upon his face, he would be struck blind with the glory of it. That is, until somebody happened to notice that he was a leper, and he wore the silver veil to hide the white scales of the dreaded disease: that’s sin. To some it is attractive, blinded by its glory and allurement; but to the child of God, it is leprous.
We’ve been reading of the Maharaji. When we were in London they had an international convocation there and here in Texas, in Houston these three days, a tremendous convocation there. And his followers bow down and kiss his feet and they worship him as the coming messiah and prince. Can you imagine a born-again child of God thus enticed? It’s unthinkable. We have seen a vision of our Lord, and all of these false prophets appear to us just as they really are.
Dead to sin and alive to righteousness [1 Peter 2:24]; why, the very conversation of the man, the very interest, is in another world. Can you imagine what they spoke about when Paul came to Rome there landing at Puteoli, then the Appian Forum, then the Three Tavern, then into the Imperial City? What did they talk about? They talked about the Lord, and about the resurrection, and about the glorious life, and about heaven, and about the things of God. Can you imagine those Roman soldiers, three a day that were chained to Paul for two years? [Acts 28:30]. In the Praetorian Guard, can you imagine somebody going up to one of those soldiers and say, "Chained to Paul, what do you talk about? The visitors, what do they talk about?" Well, you know exactly what they are talking about. They are talking about things glorious, things wonderful. They are talking about the Lord. They are talking about the faith, and they are talking about the light, and they are talking about the life, and they are talking about heaven, and they are talking about the glories of the Christian way.
Isn’t that an amazing thing? In Christ, dead to what other people are alive to; and in Christ, alive to what other people are dead to. It’s a new creation. It’s a new life, it’s a new glory, what the vision of the grace of God in Christ Jesus does for the man who looks upon it and receives its truth and its message in his heart.
Our time is spent. In a moment we stand to sing our hymn of appeal, and while we sing it, in the balcony round, you, on this lower floor, a couple, a family, you, or just one somebody you, while we sing the song and while we make the appeal, down one of these stairways into the aisle here to the front, "Pastor, I’ve decided to look and live [John 3:14-16; Numbers 21:8-9]. I’ve decided to believe and be saved [Acts 16:30-31]. I’ve decided to be washed and to be clean [Revelation 7:14; 2 Kings 5:10]. I am coming today."
Accepting the Lord as Savior, or putting your life in the circumference and circle of this dear church, while we pray, while we wait, while we sing this song, respond with your life. "Here I am, pastor, and here I come." Make it now. Do it now, while we stand and while we sing.
suffering of God’s people (1 Peter 1:7, 2:19)
Book of Martyrs – Blandina, Marcus Arethusa
example Peter cites (1 Peter 2:21-23)
Jesus our sin bearer (1 Peter 2:24)
II. Our Lord’s death for sin
bore the punishment for our sins(Ezekiel 18:20,
more, He bore our sins(1 Peter 2:24)
The Second Adam
The Good Shepherd(1 Peter 2:25)
God hid His face from Him(2 Corinthians 5:21,
4. Anaphero – suggests
the idea of a great weight
own self" – who He is
We are saved by a Somebody
The God-Man(Romans 6:20, John 1:14, 17)
"In His own body" – personally, not by proxy(Matthew
8:17, Luke 8:43-48)
III. The result in our lives – our death to
the hideous face of sin
False prophet with silver veil to hide his leprosy
love, devotion, call, obedience